How to Call Out of Work (7 Best Excuses with Examples)

“I need a good excuse to get out of work!”

Last-minute schedule changes, personal commitments, and lazy days often lead to missing work (or playing hooky).

Here are the best excuses for work (call in or leave work early.)

Excuses Not to Go to Work

Excuses for Work

Questions Answered

  • What are the best excuses to call into work? with examples

  • Calling in sick text message example

  • Calling in sick email example

  • Can you get fired for calling in sick?

  • Do you have to give a reason for calling off work?

  • How do you fake sick at work?

  • Are there excuses to avoid when calling into work?

  • What qualifies as a family emergency?

Last-minute schedule changes, personal commitments, and lazy days all have one thing in common: they often lead to time away from work. 

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Having a sick kid or a pipe bursting in your house are legit reasons many of us occasionally use to skip work.

But more times than not, calling into work is due to a hangover, oversleeping, or just wanting to play hooky.

So, what are you supposed to say when you call into work when "I overslept" or "I'm hungover" aren't going to impress your boss?

Many people question their choice, which is why we came up with a list of the best excuses for missing work (or leaving early).

7 Best Excuses to get out of Work (how to call out of work)

work Excuse #1 | No Babysitter (or Daycare)

If you have children, take advantage of being a good parent who's always looking out for them.

The babysitter/daycare might have "canceled" last minute, which provides an open invitation to work from home or call in for the day. 


  • "My daycare notified us they are going to close today."

  • "My babysitter backed out last minute." 

work Excuse #2 | You Have an Emergency at Home

Issues happen, and things that CAN go wrong WILL go wrong. If you own a house (or rent), you know that household issues are a fairly common occurrence and also a great excuse to leave work.

They don't typically warrant any deeper questioning from a manager, either.  


  • "My basement flooded."

  • "The boiler broke, and we are having someone over to fix it."

work Excuse #3 | Calling in Sick (Family Emergency)

We are dragging your kids into it again, I know! But seriously, children are always getting sick, so using this as an excuse works well.

This should go without saying, but DO NOT use any kid-related reasons if you don't have any children. 


  • "My child was sent home sick from school."

  • "My child has been under the weather the last few days, and I was hoping to stay home with them." 

work Excuse #4 | You Have a Delivery 

With the delivery of specific packages (alcohol, expensive products, etc.), you often need to sign or accept in person. 

This is one of the best excuses to leave work early if needed. Mention the delivery was scheduled for (insert time here), and you need to sign to accept. 

Note: Your boss might suggest shipping goods directly to the office next time to prevent you from missing work. 


  • "We have a shipment of____ coming in the mail today that I need to sign for." 

  • “I’ve been waiting for ___ to show up and FedEx says it should be arriving today. I’ll be out of the office right away but back in after the package arrives.”

Millennials aged 18 to 34 are three times as unlikely as their older counterparts to take sick time due to financial concerns.
— LinkedIn

work Excuse #5 | You’re Having Car Trouble

In my opinion, this is one of the best excuses for being late to work. It's by far the easiest and most utilized excuse most people use (unless you take other means of transportation, of course).

Let them know your car didn't start in the morning, and you are currently bringing it into the shop. Since you don't have a method to get into work, you can request to stay at home.


  • "My car broke down, and it's getting fixed. I'm going to work from the shop (or home) until they say it's ready."

  • “I’m having a bit of car trouble this morning and won’t be able to make it in today.”

work Excuse #6 | Calling in Sick (Personal) 

From the flu to uncomfortable cramps during a menstrual period, feeling under the weather is a pretty common excuse for calling in sick to work, especially on short notice. 

Managers won't typically ask any follow-up questions, but if they do, feel free to make them uncomfortable with the dirty details.


  • "I've been feeling pretty sick since last night and don't think I can make it in today."

  • “My ___ has been bothering me all night and it’s only getting worse. I won’t be making it in today but I’ll be sure to keep you informed on how I’m feeling.”

work Excuse #7 | You're Going to Donate Blood  

People typically have very little energy after donating blood. Therefore, it's one of the best excuses to leave work early.

Since donating blood is such an amazing thing to do (seriously do it if you can), your boss won't likely ask any follow-up questions. 


  • "I'm scheduled to donate blood at ____ time today. Would you mind if I work from home after?"

  • “There’s a blood drive this morning that I signed up for. I’ll probably finish my day at home after donating if that works for you?”

How to Call in Sick (Additional Examples)

Text Examples

  • “Hi (Manager Name). I woke up not feeling well and will be staying home from work today. I'll keep you in the loop, as I'm hoping to feel better by tomorrow.”

  • “Hi (Manager Name). I'm not feeling well this morning, and I need to use a sick day. I'll be back tomorrow if I'm feeling any better. Feel free to reach out if anything urgent comes up.”

Email Example

Hi (Manager Name),

Sorry for the late notice, but I woke up not feeling well this morning and will be taking a sick day to get better. I'm hoping to be back in by tomorrow but will keep you updated if I'm not feeling any better. 

Feel free to reach out if anything urgent comes up. 

Thank you, 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Get Fired for Calling in Sick?

The short answer is YES, you can be fired for calling in sick. 

In many states, employment is considered "at will," unless a signed contract sets out other conditions.

Employment at will means that you are legally free to quit without explanation at any time, and your employer can also fire you at any time without reason.

One practical result of at-will employment is that your boss is free to fire you for merely being sick unless you have an individual or union contract in place that says otherwise (at least in most cases).

Fortunately, there are some notable exceptions. - 

Do you have to give a reason for calling off work?

So, is it legal for an employer to ask why you are sick?

While there are no laws prohibiting employers from asking employees why they are calling into work, they are free to ask other questions such as when you expect to return.

The employer also has the right to ask you to require a doctors note following a work related illness or injury.

How do you Fake Sick at Work?

While we don’t recommend it, sometimes you need to fake sick in the workplace. Here are some ways to fake sick at work from WikiHow.

  • Fake a Fever

    • Make your face hot and sweaty

    • Cover yourself with many layers of clothes and blankets.

  • Fake Upset Stomach

    • Display a decline in appetite

    • Keep a bowl or bucket by you

    • Spend more time in the bathroom

    • Pretend to throw up

  • Fake a Cold or Flu

    • Breathe only through your mouth

    • Fake sneezing or coughing

Are there excuses to avoid when calling into work?

These are some techniques for calling into work that are considered unprofessional and could even get you fired from your job. Here are a few excuses you don't want to use when asking for a day off:

  • You are hungover.

  • You are tired.

  • You have a haircut appointment.

  • You forgot you had to work that day.

  • You are going camping.

  • You are having a bad hair day.

  • You simply forgot.

  • You don’t feel like it.

What qualifies as a family emergency?

Family emergencies are typically listed as an unexpected event or situation that affects the health and/or safety of direct family members (children, spouse, etc.). Two examples include serious illnesses or car accidents.

Wrapping Up | Excuses to get out of work

While lying to your employer is frowned upon, there will be days when you need a break from the daily grind of work.

Whether you're using your child to cover up a hangover or making up a mechanical problem to delay going to work, remember to use common sense along with these excuses. 

  1. No Babysitter 

  2. Home Emergency

  3. Sick Kid or Family Emergency

  4. Package Delivery

  5. Car Problems

  6. I'm Sick

  7. Donating Blood

If you can, be straightforward with your manager and let them know. But if you're overwhelmed or work is taking a toll on your everyday life, tell them the truth and address it before it gets out of control. 

When this is a daily occurrence, it might be time to prep your resume and search for something new! Get help from one of these top 11 staffing agencies or look into having your resume reviewed for free here.


Title: 7 Best Excuses to Get Out of Work

Category: theGuidance

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Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He's an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author.