1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Excuses for Missing Work

Good (and Bad) Reason for Not Going to Work


USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Young woman sitting on bed with headache
Tetra Images

Do you need to skip work, but don't have a good excuse? If you are concerned about using the "I need a sick day" excuse too many times and want to be creative here are some work excuses shared by About.com readers that might work when you need a reason to take time off from your job:

Good Excuses for Missing Work

  • Appointments (financial planner, accountant, lawyer, etc.)
  • Babysitter problems
  • Car troubles
  • Child has to get a sports physical
  • Colonoscopy (nobody wants to question that)
  • Death in the family (be careful, see below)
  • Doctor or dentist appointment
  • Illness
  • Family illness (child, parent)
  • Leaky pipes
  • Medical tests
  • Migraine
  • Root canal
  • School closed
  • New baby in the family
  • Snake in the house

If You Get Caught

Do keep in mind that, even if you use what you think is a good excuse, being dishonest can cost you your job if you're caught. As one of our readers wrote "If you are the sort of person who lies and fakes sick days then it's no surprise if you DO get fired - it's gross misconduct." which was rebutted by another who said "If I could tell my boss the truth - I would."

In addition, lies can come back to haunt you. It's not always easy to remember what you said to whom and getting caught in a lie is not good for job security.

Don't think that your employer won't check up on you. They might not, but there is a chance they will. A CareerBuilder survey reports that 15% of employers have fired a worker for calling in without a legitimate reason. 28% of employers who responded to the survey have checked up on the employee, even driving by their house, to be sure they really are sick.

Bad Excuses for Missing Work

Also remember that some excuses just don't work. For example, some of the following are excuses, also shared by About.com readers, that you might not want to use when you call in to work:

  • Airline lost Grandma's body shipping it back for the funeral
  • Car insurance expired
  • Death in the family (for the seventh time in six months)
  • Dog shut off alarm
  • Got arrested
  • Headache
  • Lost phone
  • Need to see the latest Harry Potter movie
  • Office is too cold
  • Office is too hot
  • PMS
  • Someone stole water pipes
  • Sore feet
  • Stubbed his toe

More Excuses to Miss Work

Here are even more excuses for missing work:

Email Message and Letter Work Excuse Example
Need to provide a written excuse for missing work? These sample letters and email messages with excuses for missing work can be edited to fit your own personal circumstances

Good Work Excuses
What's the best way to take time off from work? Do you have a good excuse for not going to work? Share your excuse and read other good excuses for missing work.

Bad Work Excuses
What excuses shouldn't you use for not going to work? Have you heard some really good or really bad excuses for not going to work? Share your excuse and read excuses not to use when you need to miss work.

Taking Time Off to Interview
What's the best way to take time off from work for a job interview? I always suggest that job seekers try to schedule interviews early or late in the day, or at lunch time. Another alternative, if you can schedule a couple of interviews on one day, is taking a vacation day.

Related: Can You Get Fired for Calling in Sick?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.