Career Development

Best Excuses for Missing Work With Real-Life Examples

Everyone will occasionally need to miss work for one reason or another. Whether you’re sick, have a family emergency or a planned absence, the best excuses for missing work are honest ones. In this article, you will learn the best excuses for missing work and how to communicate when you need to take time off.

Best accepted excuses for missing work

Here the most popular acceptable excuses for missing work with real-life examples:

Missing work due to illness

A high fever, cough, body chills or nausea are all symptoms that should make you reconsider going in to work. Staying home is sometimes the best thing to let your body recover and prevent your illness from spreading – especially to your coworkers. You should check your company’s sick day policy before requesting off. If you are worried about being contagious but still feel healthy enough to be able to work remotely, you could suggest a work from home day.  

Examples of missing work due to illness:

  • You have cold or flu-like symptoms. Going to work would risk infecting your coworkers.
  • You have a migraine. You are unable to drive to work and concentrate on tasks. 

Missing work due to a personal or family emergency

A personal or family emergency is usually something urgent and unexpected that affects you or the health and safety of your loved ones. In the case of a personal or family emergency, you can choose to disclose the reason for missing work or not. It’s best to be honest with your job in case you need to take a more extended absence.

Examples of personal or family emergencies:

  • The death of a loved one. If someone close to you has passed away, you may need to attend a wake or funeral or help arrange services. You may also need time off of work to emotionally recover and support loved ones.
  • Sick child or child care emergency. If your child is sick and unable to attend their regular day care, you may be able to request off of work to stay home and care for them. You may also need to stay home if your regular nanny is unavailable for the day and you don’t have trusted backup care available for your child.

Missing work due to injury

If you injure yourself and require a visit to the emergency room, you most likely won’t be able to go into work for the day or at least part of the day. 

Example of injuries:

  • Biking injury. If you bike to work and a parked car opens its door into the bike lane as you’re passing. The collision could leave you with a fractured ankle and requires a hospital stay. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may also need to give your body a day or two to further heal before returning to work.

Missing work due to religious observance

You may occasionally need to take a day off to observe a religious holiday. If you know that you will need certain days off, you should communicate your religious needs to your job in advance. Ideally, you should communicate your religious needs when starting a new position, and remind your supervisor of specific dates you will need to take off or work limited hours. Since these are planned absences, you could also plan to work extra hours or swap shifts with a coworker.

Example of religious observances:

  • Ramadan/Eid al-Fitr. This period changes year to year since Ramadan operates on a lunar calendar. Remind your employer and see if you can come up with a modified schedule to work around fasting times.

Missing work due to a home emergency

A burglary, fire or burst pipes in your home all provide excuses for you to take time off of work to handle the situation at home. An emergency at home often requires your full attention.

Example of a home emergency:

  • Burst pipes in the home.The unfortunate case of burst pipes can lead to flooding and extensive damage. You may need to stay home during working hours when many repair companies are open to make sure necessary repairs can be done as soon as possible. This will prevent you from missing additional workdays to repair additional damage.

Missing work due to transportation issues

If you commute by car, train or bus, you may not be able to make it to work if you encounter serious transportation issues.  

Examples of transportation issues:

  • Your car breaks down on your way to work. You will probably need to have your car towed to a mechanic for repairs.
  • An emergency with your train line leaves you stranded.Backup options like ride-sharing apps, biking and walking may not be viable options if you live far from work.

Missing work due to a planned medical procedure

You’ll usually need extra time to recover from a medical procedure. Unless you have a medical emergency, you can give your job advanced notice of when your procedure will take place and how much time it will take you to rest and recover. Request a doctor’s note for your job if you need one. It’s also important to take the time your body needs to recover. Consult with your doctor beforehand to give your work an accurate window of how much time you’ll need to take off.

Examples of medical procedures:

  • Wisdom teeth removal: This procedure is a major surgery. With no complications, it usually takes people 24 to 48 hours to recover before they can go back to their regular work routine. 
  • Appendix removal: This procedure takes considerably more time for you to recover, anywhere between one to four weeks.

How to use reasons for missing work to request time off

Follow these steps to use reasons for missing work to request time off:

  1. Be honest. 
  2. Have a clear, concise reason why you’re missing work.
  3. Communicate with your boss as soon as possible.
  4. Give updates if you need to take more time off.
  5. Communicate directly with coworkers and affected clients about who to contact while you are absent and when you plan to return
  6. Draft an out of office email with the contact information of the person who is assuming your responsibilities and when you plan to return.
  7. Prepare to make up for missed work when you return.  

Taking the time to notify the right people will show that you’re taking responsibility for your absence, even if the reason you’re missing work is out of your control.