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Making the right excuses to call off from work

Updated on July 21, 2015

Sometimes people can come up with all kinds of excuses as to why they cannot work. Such reasons could involve an illness or a family problem. Other excuses may be something that are very minor, but are heard frequently. Bosses may have heard this list of excuses quite so often:

"My car wouldn't start."

"The traffic was bad."

"I overslept."

"My alarm clock didn't go off."

There are many other workers who decide not to work because they are plain lazy. "It's too beautiful a day to be working," one might say before taking a trip to the golf course. Many people use those lame excuses just to relax and unwind, rather than working.

When you need to make a late-minute request to get the day of from work, you need to have an excuse that could be serious or life threatening. It's something that will make sense, and real sounding. And you should tell the truth, too. Here are some of the usual excuses workers use to get out of work:


One common reason for workers to call off sick is exactly just that: illness. Any illness may turn out to be a high fever, upset stomach, or a bad cold. Hardly anybody likes to work all day with a burning forehead. But if for any reason you need to get periodic bed rest rather than going to your job, call the manager or supervisor and simply say, "I'm sorry, but I can't make it to work today because I do not feel well." It is important for your boss to be notified, otherwise just leave your message on an answering machine. Failing to do so increases a chance of dismissal from your employer.


Workers who need surgeries also need to tell their managers ahead of time. They may need to stay in hospitals for periods of time to receive operations. Don't be afraid that going to a hospital for an operation lasting a week will cost your own job. Many employers permit workers to return to their jobs after their surgeries.

Death or family issues

Another good excuse deals with family issues. A death of a family member, for example, is another common reason the employer needs time off from work. Of course, that could be unpredictable. But if you know a close family member who is extremely ill, it is a good idea to contact your manager and arrange for some time off so you can be with that loved one.

If a snowstorm is too treacherous to drive in, don't hesitate to call off work.
If a snowstorm is too treacherous to drive in, don't hesitate to call off work.

Inclement weather

Weather sometimes hamper commutes. For example, it'll be very hard to drive in a foot of snow. Some winter storms bring crippling amounts of snow, enough to disrupt travel. If this was the case, local schools and some businesses would be forced to close.

On the other hand, some businesses will still remain open regardless of how much snow or ice has fallen in the area. If you feel like you can't handle drifting snow while driving, call your boss and say you can't make it. Perhaps you are in a snowbound and it will take a long time to clear the pathway and the driveway to get your car. Notify immediately. If an ice storm causes roads to be too slippery and treacherous for you, let the boss know you can't make it. You've used your common sense and your boss should understand that.

Court appearance

For court, you may be required to join jury duty at some point. If you find that you need to go to court to explain about a car accident or need to be a witness for someone, let the boss know ahead of time. For the sake of the judge as well as everybody else involved in a case, you need to attend the court session to provide evidence and explain what happened. A person involved in a trial could get prison time, so if you are a witness and need to be in court, do so.

You can always make up days that you are not scheduled to work to actually work. But a wise worker would be extremely loyal to his or her boss and tell the truth. Avoid calling in sick unless you truly are sick or it is absolutely necessary. If you want to attend a ball game, do it when you're not scheduled to work. Telling the truth to not only the head of the company, but also your entire employees can depict how trustworthy you are.


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    • Samuel Smart profile imageAUTHOR

      Samuel Smart 

      4 years ago from United States

      Thank you for your comment!

    • lyndapringle profile image

      Lynda Pringle 

      4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      All of these excuses you mentioned for missing work make good sense. If someone is being truthful about the reason for their absence and feel no need to lie about it then the truth alone will satisfy the employer. The only time it might not be the case is if the same issue is causing the employee to be continuously absent.

      For example, some employees suffer from debilitating migraines that prevent them from working. It's hard enough as it is for an employer to take migraines seriously as most just view them as an exaggerated headache easily resolved with Advil. However, migraines are a serious chronic illness that can occur at least monthly. Employers won't tolerate absences for the same kind of chronic issues for a long period so it is imperative for the sick employee to be pro-active and seek medication that will control the migraines before they occur and there are plenty of those that can be prescribed.

      Employers can also become frustrated when their employees refuse to drive to work in icy conditions despite the fact that they managed to make it into work themselves. Icy roads are dangerous, especially in states not used to cold weather. No job is worth one's life. If the employer chooses to take that risk, that's his business. If you don't feel comfortable with the idea of possibly losing control on an icy road, keep yourself safe at home. You can always compromise with your employer by offering to use that day as a personal vacation day or unpaid leave, depending on the company's benefits.

      However, I do think that if employees are consistently reliable and competent workers, most employers will work with them concerning health and other personal issues.


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