Are you a remote or an on-site employee looking for a list of good excuses to miss work on short notice? This article will give you a list of 36 good excuses to miss work last minute for remote as well as on-site workers. Examples will also be provided.
Things to Consider…
→ Try to use a text message instead of a phone call if at all possible. It’s quick and easy.
→ If the excuse is health-related, make sure to use a believable excuse such as one in the list below.
→ As a courtesy, it is best to give your boss a heads-up if the excuse could extend multiple days.
Missing work can be a touchy subject, but sometimes there are legitimate reasons for wanting to take a day off. This article will focus on both remote employees as well as on-site workers excuses to call out of work last minute.
Since COVID struck, companies have become extremely lenient about allowing employees who don’t have to be on-site to work remotely. Some workers don’t have the luxury of working from home and have to be at the lunch counter, on the manufacturing floor, at a hotel receptionist desk, or waiting tables.
If your job can be done remotely and your company doesn’t allow any remote working, that might be a good reason for job change. The reality is that there are many companies out there that will allow you to work remotely and reap the numerous remote working benefits.
The problem as a remote employee is that you need to have a good enough excuse to not even log into your work computer and actually do work. So the excuse needs to last for the full day unless you are only looking for a valid reason to leave work early.
As an on-site worker if you call out of work, you simply don’t have the ability to do your job at home. So, once you get the OK from your supervisor you are in the clear and have the day off.
36 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice
So what are some good excuses to miss work if you’ve just woken up and dread the thought of working? An easier way to let your boss know is by using a call out of work text rather than actually having to talk to him directly.
Check out my list of bulletproof excuses to call off work last minute below.
1. You’re Not Feeling Well – One of the Last-Minute Good Excuses for Missing Work
You woke up not feeling well. This is one of the most common and best excuses to miss work on short notice. Some common examples can be seen below.
- You have the flu and can’t even get out of bed.
- You don’t have any energy and feel really run down and need to sleep. This is one of many good excuses to get out of work on short notice.
- You have really bad menstrual cramps.
2. You’ve Been Exposed to COVID
You just found out in the morning that your friend who you saw the previous night tested positive for COVID. So you have definitely been exposed and run the risk of testing positive in the near future. Make sure you keep your manager abreast of the situation.
COVID exposure is no joke and your company has a policy that if you have been exposed to COVID, you are required to avoid coming into work for three days. Each day you should take a COVID test and, if you have tested negative after three days, you can resume working.
3. Tested Positive for COVID – Another One of the Good Excuses to Call Out of Work
If you can work remotely, the COVID outbreak has led to the luxury of you being able to work from home, even today when most people are vaccinated and boosted. If you have had COVID you understand that for most people it feels like a bad cold and it hits you hard when it comes to your energy level.
As a result, you are constantly lying down or sleeping so you can’t even think of working from home (assuming you can) unless you have an asymptomatic case.
You can’t just call your boss and say “I have COVID.” Just remember, you will have to prove to your employer that you had COVID and will have to show them a positive test result so this would be a tough one to fake if you truly didn’t have COVID.
If you have proof , testing positive for COVID is one of the most believable reasons to call off work.
4. You Have a Case of Food Poisoning
If you’re looking for good excuses to call off work, this one is a solid one. What is great about it is that you don’t even really have to prove it. An example can be seen below.
You went out to a new restaurant the previous night and woke up during the night feeling terrible. You’ve spent most of the night running to the bathroom so you need to stay home for the day. You simply cannot risk trying to commute into work.
This might be a tough excuse for a remote worker as you should still be able to work as long as your office is close to the bathroom! But, if you play it right, you could tell your boss you need to stay in bed due to dehydration and exhaustion.
Essentially you’re calling out of work for a sick day. It is the perfect reason to do so. Food poisoning is comparable to a stomach bug. Hopefully you only need one day off. Calling in sick is one of the valid reasons to call off work last minute.
5. You Have a Bad Migraine
You historically have had bad migraines in the past. This is typically related to stress at work. Not only could you not even focus on working, a day away from the office should alleviate your stress and help eliminate your migraine. This is one of the believable excuses to ask for a day off work.
6. You Hurt Your Back Exercising
You were working out with weights and tweaked your back. You’ve done this before and you know it takes about a week to fully recover. This might just keep you out of work for multiple days.
If you cannot sit in your home office chair this excuse might be a valid one for a remote worker as well.
7. You Severely Turned an Ankle (Non-Remote Worker Excuse Only)
During a pickup basketball game the previous night, you turned your ankle so badly you thought it was broken. You went to the emergency room and had x-rays taken.
It turns out it’s not broken but you cannot drive for at least until the swelling is down. If you’re a remote worker you can still work since you can sit at your desk in your home office.
8. Computer Crashed (Remote Worker Excuse Only)
You just got the infamous blue screen of death on your computer and are unable to restart it. You’ll have to bring it to a local computer repair shop until it is resolved. As a result, you cannot log on and do your job remotely.
If you’re looking for one of the really good excuses for missing work, this one is certainly one of those. To be honest, it may not be the work excuse you wanted to use because, if it’s true, it’s a real pain in the butt.
9. Family Emergency – One of the Fail-Safe and Best Excuses to Call Out of Work
This excuse is pretty much always a failsafe one. Companies these days are always trying to make their employees happy and will be very lenient with an employee when it comes to any type of family emergency.
You want to ensure that the emergency spans the whole day or more than one day if you are a remote worker. If not, you may have to work part of the day online. For example, some family emergencies are seen below.
- Your mother needs to be brought to the hospital for a barrage of medical tests and various appointments.
- Your son got sick in school and needs to be brought home in the middle of the day.
- Your brother was in a car accident and you need to go to the hospital to await word on his condition. You’ll also be sticking around there until you can visit with him in his room.
10. Home Emergency – One of the Best Excuses to Get out of Work
Out of the blue, you have an emergency at your home. A home emergency is one of the best excuses to get out of work. Severe home issues need to be dealt with immediately. Some common examples are listed below.
- A tree fell on your house from a wind storm and you need to tend to it with your chain saw. It may take all day to clean it up. You will also have to call a carpenter to fix the damage to the house. This is another one of the valid good excuses to call out of work.
- You’ve lost power at your home due to a transformer blew near your home. The whole neighborhood is out of power.
- There is a leak in the water pipes in your basement and the floor is flooded. You need to call a plumber in order to get it resolved. It will take you most of the day to clean up the flooded basement. This is certainly one of the best excuses to call out of work for the day.
11. Death of an Extended Family Member
One of your extended family members passed away unexpectedly. You need to be with your family for at least a day to help set up arrangements for a wake and funeral. An extended family member may not fall under your company’s bereavement policy but there should be no questions asked about this day off.
The death of a loved one is always a trying time for any of us. Even though you have to use it, of all of the good excuses to call out of work, this one is a solid one.
12. Unexpected Circumstances – Many Good Excuses to Get Out of Work
Sometimes it happens and you have to deal with circumstances that are out of your control. Here are some examples of valid work excuses.
- While coming back from your vacation your flight was canceled and you need to stay over in another state until the next day.
- Your vehicle broke down over the weekend but it happened 200 miles from your home. You needed to have it towed to a service station in that area so you need the day off to get it serviced. You also did not bring your laptop with you so you cannot work remotely while waiting for your car.
- Your dog got in a fight with another dog over the weekend and you need to bring it to the veterinarian. It could be an all-day event since you don’t have a prior appointment scheduled.
- Out of the blue your brother is in town on business and you need to spend the day with him.
- Your wife broke a tooth and you need to take her to the dentist. This is a personal emergency with which you need to deal.
13. Childcare Unavailable or Day Care is Closed – One of the More Popular Work Excuses
There was a maintenance issue at your child’s daycare and there is no heat. Your child needs to be kept at home for the day. Your child requires constant care so you won’t be able to work at all remotely that day (if you are a remote worker) and you have no other childcare options.
This is one of the ultimate and great excuses to miss work last minute.
14. Funeral of Family Member
You need to attend a funeral for an immediate family member. Most companies allow a minimum of 3 days off due to the death of an immediate family member. This is certainly one of the unquestioned reasons or good excuses to call out of work.
15. You Need a Mental Health Day
You’re going through a lot these days and you need a personal or mental health day to relax and re-energize. Your boss is aware that you’ve been stressed of late so it’s really not a big surprise to him. If your company believes in work-life balance, an excuse of this type is certainly understood and accepted.
16. Jury Duty
You were notified late the previous day you need to attend jury duty the following morning. You’ll be out of work at least for that day and, if you are chosen to be on the jury, it could be for an extended period.
You will have to attend jury duty unless you are not qualified to attend, excused, or exempt. Depending on which state you are in you can request an excuse or a postponement. It may or may not be granted based on the circumstances.
This is certainly one of the exceptionally good excuses for missing work because you have the law on your side.
17. Taking a Personal Day – One of the Legitimate Reasons to Call Off Work
Taking a personal day could be considered similar to a mental health day but you are given a certain amount of personal days at your company. When you woke up you just thought it was one of the better reasons to call off work.
18. Observance of a Religious Holiday
Religious holidays are valid excuses but you must give your supervisor a heads-up. Short notice can be considered a day in advance but you may want to give your boss more time than that in preparation of your day off.
19. Locked Out of Your Car or House
This excuse is a valid one to give to your boss. Possibly you went outside for the paper and the wind shut the door while it was still locked. Your house and car keys are in the house. Instead of breaking a window you need to call a locksmith to get you back into your house.
Another possibility is that you inadvertently left your car keys in your car and locked the door shut. Since you drive a 15 year old car there aren’t any safety measures on the car to prevent that from happening. You need to call AAA or the police to help you get into your car.
20. Car Trouble (Non-Remote Workers Excuse Only)
Everyone has car trouble every now and then. This is a great last-minute excuse if you aren’t a remote worker. If you are a remote worker you certainly do not need your car to get to work. This excuse is only valid for on-site workers who cannot get to their job.
This excuse might not work for you if you live in an area where there is adequate public transportation though. But if you need to be around for AAA to pick up your car by then it might be too late to get into work.
If you’re a remote worker you might be able to get a few hours off if you need to wait at the service station or dealer for the car to get repaired. That might not even work because most car dealerships have WIFI so you could still work. Bummer…
21. You Cracked a Tooth and Need to Urgently see Your Dentist
You happened to crack one of your molars while inadvertently biting on a chicken bone (this actually happened to me) and it exposed the root of the tooth. You are in agony and need to set up an emergency appointment with your dentist. He has to see more patients so it could be a long wait.
22. You Have a Pet Emergency
Your dog isn’t eating and that is quite unusual. You have to bring her to the vet as soon as possible and won’t be able to make it into work today. Pets and their welfare are considered a high priority to any company who touts work-life balance.
23. You have a Sick Child on Your Hands
Your daughter woke up with a fever and needs an appointment with her pediatrician. You’ll probably spend most of the day at the doctor’s office waiting for a spot to open up to see your daughter and prescribe medications.
Having to care for a sick child is always a good excuse to miss work last-minute.
24. Snowstorm or Bad Weather is Predicted (Non-Remote Workers Only)
You don’t think it makes sense to try to drive into work only to have to leave early to avoid the traffic on the way home. You also need to be home should your child’s school is let out early.
Obviously a remote worker can still do the job so this excuse is for on-site workers only. Sometimes being able to work from home doesn’t pay off!
25. Bad Traffic Problem (Non-Remote Workers Only)
You checked the morning news and there is no way you will be able to commute into work today. There are major accidents on the highway and that has clogged up the back roads for commuting into work. It makes sense to not even attempt to drive into work today.
Once again this wouldn’t make sense for a remote worker as the daily commute is a thing of the past!
26. Work is Being Done on Your House
You need to be home while work is being done on the house. Here are some examples:
- The plumber is coming to fix a leaky faucet.
- The pipes in your basement are leaking and flooding is occurring on your basement floor.
- Your electrical box needs to be upgraded to the latest building standards as it is a fire hazard according to your electrician.
- Your internet is sporadic and you need to be home for the technician to scope out the problem.
- Your tub and shower is being replaced and you need to be home for the plumber and carpenter to complete the work.
27. Your Wife is Sick and Needs to see a Doctor
You need to do all of the tasks that your wife usually does such as dropping off and picking up your daughter from school. You also may have to bring your wife to the doctor’s office if she isn’t feeling any better as the day drags on.
28. You’ve Lost Power at Home
Since it’s in the middle of winter and you’ve lost power, you need to start up and monitor your gas generator. If you don’t there is a strong possibility your pipes will freeze in the house which could be a major catastrophe.
If this happens during the warmer months you still will need to run the gas generator so your refrigerator can keep your perishable items cold.
29. Need to Pick up Relatives at the Airport
Your parents are in town and you need to pick them up at the airport. You don’t feel right asking them to take a taxi or an Uber to your house. There is no way you can make it into work after taking the trek to and from the airport.
30. Expecting an Important Delivery
There is a monthly delivery of medication that are expected today. You don’t feel right just having them left on the doorstep.
You’ve also heard about packages being stolen randomly in your neighborhood and are concerned about theft. You’re going to take the day off to be there when they arrive.
31. You Slept Right Through the Alarm
This one might sound a little bit suspect to your boss but he knows how hard you’ve been working lately. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends trying to meet an important project deadline.
You really need your sleep today. So you’ve requested to spend the day resting up from all the extra time you’ve been putting in for the company.
32. You Have a Court Appearance
You’ve been a witness to an accident where you were behind the scene of the accident in your car going to work. You saw who caused the accident and have been asked by the insurance company of one of the parties to testify in court.
The court appearance is at 11AM so it doesn’t make any sense to drive into work for the morning only to have to leave to attend the court appearance.
33. Your Child has a Mid-Day School Event
Your daughter is in elementary school and there is a performance she is in that you need to attend. It takes place at noon and there is also a luncheon involved after the performance.
This is a valid excuse as this is a very important school function for your daughter. You vowed never to miss an event of this type. This is an acceptable excuse to call out of work as it falls under work-life balance which is a policy your company supports.
34. Need to Study for Certification
Your job requires you to be certified in a particular software that’s used at your firm. The exam is the day after tomorrow but you need today to be able to focus on the material without being bothered by coworkers. This is a valid last minute excuse to miss work but it is supported by your boss.
35. Community Service | Volunteering
You are known to be one who volunteers to help out at a local soup kitchen. They are short-handed today as some of the other volunteers called in sick. You got called at the last minute to help out for a holiday-related event.
This would definitely be considered a believable excuse to miss work on short notice.
36. Contractor is Coming to Give Estimate
This could be a number of various estimates you are looking to get from a contractor. Here are some examples:
- Estimate on a new roof which is currently leaking.
- Estimate on your house getting painted as you are moving in the near future and need to get this done.
- Quotes on having a new deck built off of your dining room.
- Quotes on having the siding replaced on your home.
- Estimate on replacing your septic tank and leach field.
Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice – A Recap
Being allowed to work remotely is an awesome perk for many reasons such as gas savings, no commute time, and eliminating any wear and tear on your car or truck. But with that perk also comes some drawbacks when it comes to coming up with good excuses to miss work.
Actually if you are a non-remote worker you have a little bit more leeway on excuses to miss work last minute. Since you don’t even have the technology to work from home, once you get approval for the day off, you’re scot free!
Frequently Asked Questions About Good Excuses for Missing Work on Short Notice
Are there any legal implications of using these good excuses to miss work on short notice?
While there are no specific laws that prohibit employees from using excuses for missing work last minute, it is important to note that employers may have their own policies and procedures in place regarding attendance and absences. You should consult your employee handbook or speak to a Human Resources representative for more details specific to your company.
Employers may require employees to provide documentation or proof of their absence, and repeated absences without proper justification could lead to disciplinary action or even termination.
It is also important to be completely honest and transparent with your employer about the reason for your absence from work, as providing false information could potentially lead to legal consequences.
How can I ensure that my work excuses are believable and won’t damage my reputation at work?
The key to ensuring that your excuse is believable is to be honest and upfront with your employer. If you have a legitimate reason for needing to miss work on short notice, such as a family emergency or illness, communicate this to your employer as soon as possible.
If there is one aspect of your work situation that you have complete control over it’s your reputation. If you have always been a conscientious worker who has no prior history of being delinquent on your job, your work excuses should be believable and not questioned.
Be specific about the reason for your absence and provide any necessary documentation or proof to support your claim. It is also important to show your commitment to your job by offering to make up any missed work or finding a suitable replacement to cover your responsibilities while you are away.
Going that extra mile to work on a weekend or after hours to make up work lost will go a long way in the eyes of your employer, specifically your boss.
What should I do if I need to take time off on short notice frequently?
If you find yourself needing to take time off on short notice frequently, it may be worth considering a more flexible work arrangement, such as remote work or a part-time schedule. You can also explore options for taking advantage of your employer’s leave policies, such as sick leave or personal time off.
Most companies today are very lenient when it comes to work-life balance and will work with you if there are special circumstances associated with your time off requests.
It is important to communicate your needs and concerns with your employer and work together to find a solution that works for both parties. Additionally, consider taking steps to improve your overall health and well-being, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and practicing stress-reducing activities like meditation or exercise, as this can help reduce the need for frequent absences.
What to Read Next:
- 25 Clear-Cut Signs Your Boss is Threatened By You
- How To Make the Workday Go By Faster – 35 Top Tips
- Working in a Cubicle – Everything You Need to Know
- 8 Ergonomic Exercises you MUST Practice at Work Every Day
- Cubicle vs Open Office – What is Better? (Full Comparison)
Bob has been blogging for over 20 years and has been an office and cubicle dweller for more than 35 years. He has been featured in numerous online publications such as US News and World Report, Bustle, and Work Awesome (you can read his articles here). He created the popular office website CubicleBliss in January 2011 and rebranded it as WorkspaceBliss in April 2020.
In the office he’s been an IT Manager, Applications Engineer, Systems Analyst, Software Project leader, and Programmer Analyst in his long career. He’s a Certified Microsoft Professional and possesses a Masters of Science degree and two Bachelor of Science degrees, one of those in Informational Technology.
During his career he has worked in the office full-time, as a hybrid remote worker, and has worked from home permanently.