Valid Excuses to Get out of Work
At some point in your career, something unexpected will come up. Eventually, you will likely need to take an unplanned day off. Employers generally prefer that their employees follow an attendance policy. This usually requires scheduled breaks and previously approved time off. However, most also recognize the occasional need to miss work without advance notice. There are many reasons you might miss work such as illness, family emergencies, car trouble or important appointments. While some excuses are legitimate reasons for taking time off, others can seem unprofessional or irresponsible—especially if you use the same excuses habitually. Clearly, you want to remain in good standing with your employer. Here are a few good excuses to get out of work – and tips to help you feel more comfortable when you ask for unplanned time off.
Excuses to get out of Work – Key Ingredients
The term excuse has earned a bit of a negative connotation. Even though it is called an excuse, it doesn’t mean it is inherently bad. There are good reasons for skipping work. It doesn’t always come down to you doing something irresponsible or dodgy. So, what is a good excuse? A good eccuse needs three key ingredients to be effective.
- A Legitimate Reason.
- An Element of Honesty. Now, you might not have flu that would keep you from working but you can still be sick. An excuse doesn’t have to be void of truth and as you’ll see below, there are plenty of valid reasons for staying home.
- Must Be Believable. Even when you are making an outright excuse for not showing up and lying a little more than you might want to, a good excuse is still believable. Your boss is more likely to buy your excuse and accept it at face value if it doesn’t sound like something from a Hollywood blockbuster.
Legitimate Excuses to get out of Work on Short Notice
Most employers have strict attendance policies for their staff. Those who do not abide by the rules can be subjected to written warnings or even termination. That said, legitimate excuses for missing work do exist and usually allow workers to miss work while retaining their jobs.
Calling Out of Work For An Illness or Injury
If you’re not feeling well, it’s best not to go to work. Not only can working while ill worsen your condition, but if you’re contagious, you could also infect your coworkers. If you use this excuse, it’s important to let your employer know as soon as you’re not feeling well. Also, you might want to check in near the end of the day to let them know if you’re feeling better or will need an additional day to recover.
Calling in sick is a widely used excuse whether employees are sick or not. Most employers prefer sick and contagious staff stay home so as not to infect the rest of the office, but after a certain amount of days off for illness or injury, a doctor’s note may be required. Some employers allocate a certain number of sick days per year. If you are taking more than the allotted amount of sick days, a doctor’s note is advisable.
Missing Work For A Family Emergency
A family emergency could refer to a variety circumstances such as a sick child or dependent, car accident or unexpected surgery. Parents of children often get called home from work to tend to sickness. If you face one of these situations, notify your employer immediately and keep them updated about any plans and arrangements and when you expect to return to work. Missed work for family emergencies may also be related to related to personal matters. Some companies give employees a set number of “personal days” which can be used in these situations.
Bereavement Days For A Family Death
Most employers offer an allowance of bereavement days. These allow employees to attend the funerals of immediate family members, parents, siblings and children. Employers consider these events to be an excused absence. When someone close to you passes away unexpectedly, you’ll likely need one or more days off work. Let your employer know the situation as well as any upcoming dates you may need to take off. Bereavement policies usually allow you to take a certain amount of paid or unpaid time off without it affecting your standing at work.
Car Trouble Or Transportation Issues
There are many unexpected transportation issues that can keep you from getting to work. Things like a broken transmission, or weather related commute delays. However, this excuse is also commonly used even when vehicles are not having trouble. As with other excuses for work, tell your employer as soon as you discover the problem. If you do break down on the way to work, let your employer know whether you’re able to complete some work from home or will return to work later in your shift. If you don’t need to take off for the entire day, employers will be appreciative your efforts to find your way into work – especially during busy periods.
Taking A Personal Day
Some employees will call off of work to get a break from the stress. Mental health days are often last-minute decisions for employees who want an unplanned day off. This is what “personal days” are for, if you haven’t already used them up for family emergencies, or whatever.
Doctor appointments and other types of appointments that must be taken care of during business hours are another reason people miss work or leave work early. Some personal matters that can not be conducted on the weekends must be tended to during the work week. This causes employees to call in sick if employers do not allow for time off to tend to appointments and other personal business. Speak to your employer. Ask if they prefer you come in late or leave early to attend to an important doctors appointment. Showing that you take your responsibilities seriously will be appreciated by your employer.
Taking Care Of A House Emergency
Employees often call off work to tend to house emergencies such as leaking pipes, power outage, or other random emergencies. These events can be serious enough to require a person to stay at home, either to deal with the issues, or wait for the arrival of a repair person.
Being Summoned To Jury Duty
Jury duty is typically an excused absence from work. Employers handle jury duty requirements differently, but will typically allow employees to perform their civic duty without a hassle. The court will provide you with proof of serving which can be given to your employer.
Some employees will schedule time off or take an unscheduled vacation day in order to attend events occurring during the workday or to recoup from events attended during the previous evening. Parents often leave work during the day to attend school events – including plays, graduations and volunteering on school trips. Planning these days in advance is always better than last minute absences. Your employers are counting on you. Your Boss will likely appreciate knowing in advance, rather than a last minute decision to take a day off.
Convenient List of Good Excuses to get out of Work
You might be concerned about using the “I need a sick day” excuse too many times and want to be creative. Here are some acceptable work excuses that should work when you need a valid reason to take time off on short notice.
- Appointments (financial planner, accountant, lawyer, etc.)
- Babysitter problems
- Car troubles
- Child has to get a physical (for school or sports)
- Colonoscopy (nobody wants to question that)
- Death in the family (be careful not to use frequently)
- Delivery (appliances or other major purchase)
- Doctor or dentist appointment
- Family emergency (you don’t need to share details)
- Family illness (child, elderly parent, other family member)
- Furnace needs emergency repairs (works best in winter)
- Leaky pipes or plumbing
- Medical procedures (without too many details)
- Medical tests
- Root canal
- School closed
- New baby in the family
Tips when Giving an Excuse to get out of Work
Without a doubt, honesty is the best policy when it comes to giving excuses for getting out of work. However, if the real reason you need a day off sounds dodgy – even to you, then maybe you should choose one of the reasons from the convenient list above. Don’t go into an elaborate explanation – the longer the excuse, the more likely your employer is to think you are lying. Also, you are less likely to remember details if you are questioned later.
Be sure to tell your boss about your absence as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate. It will only make it harder for everybody. The best way to do this is by calling the office as soon as possible, or emailing your boss – whichever is most appropriate. If your company has a particular policy for calling in, be sure to follow those guidelines. If you send an email, make sure you copy everyone who needs to be notified. Keeping everyone in the loop will help them have a smoother day, even if they’re one person down.
Specific Tips for calling out of work
Before you call out of work, be prepared with your talking points. Here are a few tips to ensure you don’t negatively impact your reputation when requesting unplanned time off.
Be honest. When it comes to giving excuses for missing work, it’s always best to be truthful. If you feel you need to make up an excuse so you can skip work, think about why you want to avoid your job. Are you feeling stressed or burnt out? It may be time to talk to your manager about scaling back your workload or scheduling some vacation time. If you’re unhappy with your job, it may be time to start a job search and look for other employment opportunities.
Don’t over-explain. You may feel some details are too personal to share with your employer, such as specific information about your health, legal concerns or family issues. In those situations, it’s best not to over-share. Remember, you only have to tell your employer what they need to know. For example, if you have to miss work because you’re sick, you don’t need to go into the details of your symptoms and complaints, you can simply say “I have the flu” or “I’m not feeling well.” However, if you’re missing work due to illness, keep in mind some employers require you bring in a doctor’s note to cover your absence.
Contact your employer as soon as possible. If you have to miss work for any reason, it’s important you contact your employer as soon as you can. Follow your organization’s protocol for requesting time off, if they have one. For example, some employers may require you to email your direct supervisor and copy the HR manager. Otherwise, contact your manager as soon as you know you won’t be available for your scheduled shift. If you choose to call or text your manager first, follow up with an email so you both have a written record of your request.
Have a plan for making up or covering missed work. When you have to take time off work unexpectedly, you may fall behind on a project or need other team members to fill in for you in your absence. Come up with a plan for how you intend to handle the situation and share your ideas with your manager. For example, if you’re missing a shift and need a coworker to cover your time, you may offer to work a shift for them in the near future. If you’re missing a critical meeting or presentation and a colleague has to fill in, be sure to send them all the pertinent details and materials. Creating a plan shows your employer that you’re responsible and dedicated to your work.
Share updates as needed. In some cases, you may be facing a situation in which you’re unsure about plans for the near future or when you can return to work. This can happen when there is a serious illness or death in the family. In this situation, it’s important to keep your employer updated as the situation progresses and you finish making plans or arrangements. If you or someone in your immediate family is severely or chronically ill, you may need to discuss taking a leave of absence.
Bad Excuses for Missing Work
Maybe the truth is not always the best alternative. If the real reason is because you were arrested, hungover or just don’t feel like going in to work, it might be better to be creative. Go ahead and use one of the legitimate reasons listed above to be safe. Here are some other excuses you might want to avoid:
- Hangover: Even if it’s real, don’t use this!
- In Jail: Even if it’s real, don’t use this!
- Cramps: Unless you have a medical condition
- Any kind of beauty appointment
- Your fish/cat/dog died (again)
- Your grandfather died (um, again)
- You broke up with your significant other
- Your friend broke up with her significant other
- Ingrown toenail
- Bad haircut: and bangs seemed like such a good idea…
- Had a fight with your mom
- Nothing to Wear
- Anything too elaborate and obviously fake: Big Foot did not break in and steal your alarm clock.
What Can Happen if You Get Caught in a Lie
Keep in mind that being dishonest can cost you your job. Even if you use a good excuse, lying can cost you your job if you’re caught. Don’t think that your employer won’t check up on you. There is always a chance that they will. Surveys indicate many employers have checked up on an employee to confirm their excuse for missing work. Some employers ask to see a doctor’s note. Others called the employee to check in on them. Some have even admitted to driving by the employees house. (thebalancecareers.com)
Be Careful About Social Media
If you don’t tell your boss the truth, be very careful about using social media. Almost half of employers surveyed have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking their social media. Double-check your privacy settings so you are aware of who can see what you post. Even if you’re careful about privacy though, don’t post a status, message, or photo that contradicts what you told your boss. Your boss might not see it, but if you’re friends with other people at work, it could easily get back to your manager if you’re not out of the office for the reason you gave.
What Is a Good Excuse to Miss Work?
A good excuse to miss work is a real one. You have to miss work because you’re really sick, you need a personal day, you have a family emergency or something else that’s genuine. Bear in mind that having a minor cough, stubbing your toe, feeling “tired”, oversleeping, or being hungover are not really good excuses to miss work.
What Do You Say When You Call off Work?
When you call off work, you should call your boss or email, depending on your company protocol. Let them know the reason. Add that you’re very sorry but that you won’t be able to make it into work that day. You really should have a plan in place for who is going to cover you. Also, you should know how you’re going to catch up on the work when you get back before you make the call.
What Qualifies as a Family Emergency?
A family emergency is typically an unexpected event that affects the health and/or safety of your family members (your parents, children, spouse, etc.). Family emergencies might include car accidents, death, serious illnesses, etc.
The Bottom Line – Best Excuses to Miss Work
Honesty is Best
If you don’t lie, you can’t get caught. Ask yourself if your real reason for being absent is sufficient.
Notify Your Supervisor Promptly
Call or email your boss ASAP and let them know that you’ll be out. Review company policy for requirements.
No Need for Too Much Information
You don’t need to provide a lot of detail when making your excuse, especially if your reason is personal.
Stay Away from Social Media
Especially if you do choose to stretch the truth, resist the urge to post during your absence. Even if your privacy settings are locked up, word may get out.
Get a job you won’t want to miss
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