There are many good reasons to get out of work. Whether you just need a day off and are looking for an excuse or you are wondering which reasons to get out of work your boss will accept as legitimate, read on.
Today, I will be showing you 30 good reasons to get out of work.
Before we proceed, however, make sure you know your employer’s policies about paid time off and unpaid time off.
While some reasons may be legitimate excuses, not all of them qualify you for paid time off. For example, your employer might give you a certain number of paid sick days per year, but taking time off because your cat is sick might not qualify.
I will also talk about good reasons to get off work when you are working remotely or from home. That’s a bit trickier, because not all of your usual excuses will work (after all, you don’t need to leave the house).
This is one of the most common reasons people miss work, and it’s a good one. Whether you’re in bed with a severe flu or are simply feeling under the weather, employees miss work due to personal illness all the time, and nobody thinks twice.
While employers not subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act are not required to offer sick days to employees, employers will generally provide workers with a set number of sick days per year.
As you probably know, many people use these sick days to get off of work even when they are not sick. However, you have to be smart about it – you can only really take advantage of your sick leave that way if you’re someone who never gets sick.
Otherwise, you may use up all your sick days and then get sick.
In addition, abusing your sick leave allowance may come with consequences from HR if management finds out.
Some employers are more strict than others, especially if they provide paid sick time off, and they may ask you a lot of questions about your illness and even require a doctor’s note attesting to your sickness.
Other employers don’t really care, and they know that employees use sick days for other reasons.
What type of sicknesses work for this? Generally, any type of sickness is good, especially if it is contagious in any way or hinders your ability to work.
It can include:
- Food poisoning
- The flu
You can use your sick days to get some time off if you have a doctor’s appointment. Any type of appointment works – a dentist appointment, an eye doctor appointment, or even a regular checkup.
This is also a perfectly legitimate reason to get off work. If your child or baby is sick, you will need to take care of them, provide them with food, and watch them.
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Many employers now consider mental health days as entirely valid reasons to take some time off. Mental health, like physical health, is important, and you need to take care of your emotional state of mind.
Besides, employers know that if you’re having a rough day emotionally, you probably won’t be able to concentrate on your job and be as productive as you normally would. Sometimes, you just need some time off.
You don’t need to suffer from any conditions like chronic depression or anxiety to be eligible for a mental health day. Anyone can suffer from burnout and extreme stress after working too hard, which can take a toll on their mental health and make it hard for them to continue being productive at work.
Sometimes, you just need a day or two off to recoup, feel better, and get some rest. Employers know that burnout isn’t good for employee morale and that not letting employees take some time off can be counterproductive.
However, they may count your mental health day as one of your sick days.
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Are you looking for an excuse that nobody will question you about? Just say you have explosive diarrhea!
Seriously, though – if you need to be near the toilet all day and will be going every few minutes, employers will be willing to give you some time off. Any type of stomach bug can work, but diarrhea is one kind of digestive issue that employers don’t want to deal with – or ask you questions about.
You can say you ate something bad, such as fast food from an unhygienic restaurant.
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This excuse doesn’t work if you take public transportation to the office, but if you drive there, it’s a perfectly legitimate reason not to go into work. It doesn’t matter whether you were seriously injured or not – the shock and trauma you suffer as a result of getting in an accident should be enough to get you off work.
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Depending on where you live, inclement weather can be an excellent reason to call out of work. That applies even if your employer hasn’t exempted other employees from coming in.
For example, if you live further away from the office than most employees, such as if you commute into the city, you can say that the roads in your suburb weren’t cleared yet from the snow, preventing you from heading out of the house.
If you live in areas that don’t experience blizzards and heavy snow, you may be able to get off due to inclement weather such as heavy storms, hurricane watches, flooding, or wildfires.
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If you had a flat tire on the way to work, it’s understandable if you won’t be able to make it. However, since a flat tire doesn’t take that long to fix, your employer might not want to give you the entire day off, instead being okay with you showing up late.
On the other hand, if you had other mechanical issues with your car, such as engine trouble or faulty brakes, it might be easier to get the entire day off, especially if you normally commute a long way to work and can’t take a taxi.
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If a company is going to come to your home to deliver some furniture, a fridge, or anything else, and someone needs to be home to sign for the delivery, it could be a good reason to call off work. The delivery company may not be able to come any other day, and they can’t just leave the delivery outside your house or apartment.
If you are moving houses, you may also be able to get off work.
If the cable, telephone, gas, or water company needs to be at your home to do repairs, you may also be able to take a rain check. That’s especially true if they need to enter your home to take care of whatever issue you’re experiencing.
Similarly, if you need to be home while the HVAC company comes to fix your air conditioning or the plumber fixes a burst pipe, it’s a legitimate reason to stay home. Explain what the issue is and why it can’t wait (for example, the flooding will cause mold to develop).
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If your brother, sister, son, daughter, or even cousin is getting married, your boss will probably let you off the hook if you need time to travel to get to the wedding or if the wedding is during the day. The same applies if one of your parents is remarrying.
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Almost every boss will let you take some time off if a family member died, especially if it was an immediate family member. Everyone understands that people need time off not just to attend the funeral but to properly grieve, so you may be able to take more than one day off.
Similarly, if your pet died, you may be able to request a day off to get it cremated, bury it, and grieve. Some employers, however, may be less understanding of the grief a pet’s death can cause.
Other types of family emergencies can include a family member being involved in a car accident and you needing to visit them at the hospital. If your brother’s wife died, that could also constitute a family emergency, as you need to be there for him.
If you get robbed on the way to work, it’s one circumstance that many bosses will give you some leeway for. For example, you might need some time to cancel your credit cards, or you may not have your phone or work computer to do your work properly.
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If tax time is coming around, and you haven’t done your taxes, you may be able to get time off to do them. Your boss may ask you to do them on the weekend, but you may not be able to get an appointment with a CPA then.
Maternity leave for up to 12 weeks (unpaid) is required for companies that are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act. In some states, your employer must also pay for your leave, typically through short-term disability insurance.
While only a few states require paid leave, a lot of private employers – even those not covered by the FMLA – provide a certain amount of paid maternity leave voluntarily.
If you are nearsighted or farsighted and rely on your glasses to be able to do your work properly, what will you do if they break, and you have no spare pair or contact lenses to use in the meantime?
You may not even be able to read your computer screen without your glasses. If the lenses shatter, and you can’t fix your glasses temporarily with scotch tape, your employer will likely allow you some time off to buy a new pair.
Many bosses will be sympathetic if your partner just broke up with you, or you learned that they are divorcing you. They may be less sympathetic if you were the one deciding to do the breakup, but they don’t really need to know that.
Your boss may give you a day off to get back on your feet. It’s similar to a mental health day.
You most likely don’t want your boss to know that you’re planning on quitting until you already have another job lined up. However, you might feel more comfortable being honest that you’re missing work to interview for another job if your boss already gave you a notice that you’re getting laid off.
Going on strike by yourself isn’t a good idea. However, if all of your coworkers – or a good percentage of them – decide to go on strike, you can typically join with a lower risk of facing consequences.
There should be a good reason for going on strike, though. Fighting for better employee benefits or working conditions could be good reasons.
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Sometimes, you might get a job before officially graduating from college. Your boss will likely give you a day off to attend your graduation and pick up your diploma.
If you’re working from home, not all of the above excuses will be effective. For example, if you’re expecting the gas company to come, your boss might tell you to work until the repairmen come over.
Some excuses will still work. For example, if you’re ill, too weak to work, and need to stay in bed, that’s a good excuse.
On the other hand, if you have pink eye (which is contagious) but are otherwise feeling fine, your boss might not want you to come into the office but might still want you to work remotely.
Here are some awesome excuses to get off work when working remotely.
If your computer broke, you may no longer be able to do your work properly. That’s especially true if you can’t use your personal computer as a backup due to security concerns, or if you don’t have a second computer to use.
If your internet is not working properly, you can’t be expected to do your work properly. Whether the internet is insanely slow or your service is down entirely, you can typically get off work temporarily until you get your service working again.
It does depend on the type of work you need to do. If you need to attend video meetings, you can probably get off due to slow internet, but not if you mostly need to fill out Excel sheets offline.
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If you have no electricity in your home, your boss probably won’t expect you to work. That’s true even if you can otherwise get internet, such as if you have an unlimited mobile data plan and can use your phone as a hotspot.
After all, you need to keep your phone and computer properly charged.
If your home is flooded, it will be pretty hard to concentrate. Besides, it might even be dangerous, especially if the cables on the floor and other computer equipment are wet.
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If there is loud construction going on next door, and it is interfering with your ability to concentrate or attend video meetings, you might be able to take a day off.
If the problem is something that won’t go away in a day or two, though, your boss might ask you to start working from a cafe, coworking space, or a friend’s house.
Sometimes, you’re just not feeling it – you’re tired, stressed out, and just want to sit at home and watch Seinfeld on Netflix. However, you’re not actually sick, and you can go to work if you push yourself.
What should you do?
In that case, I recommend taking a mental health day. That’s what mental health days are for, after all.
You can also say you’re not feeling well or have some sort of bug. Some employers will question you further, while others will just let you take a sick day without any further questions.
Additionally, you can take one of your paid or unpaid vacation days.
What you shouldn’t do is lie and say that something serious came up when it didn’t. For example, don’t say that your grandmother died when she didn’t, because when you get back, people will start offering you condolences, and you’ll have to play the part to continue the lie.
Some excuses work better than others. So, what criteria does an excuse have to meet to make it a good one?
Generally, you’ll want your excuse to meet the following conditions:
- Something uncontrollable: If you scheduled a home delivery on a weekday when it could’ve waited for the weekend, and the delivery isn’t urgent, it’s not the best excuse. It can work, but there are better excuses out there.
- Something that evokes sympathy: When people are sympathetic, they’ll be more likely to give you leeway and time off. They’ll also be less likely to ask you further questions for fear of hurting you.
- Something that people don’t want to ask about: Diarrhea is the perfect example of an excuse people don’t really want to know more about. Your boss doesn’t want to know what you ate, what color your vomit is, how often you need to run the toilet, and how runny your stool is. They’ll let you spare them the details.
- It’s not something too rare: The less common the situation is, the less likely people are to believe you. It should be believable.
Before we wrap things up, let’s talk about some poor reasons to call out of work. Giving these reasons as an excuse not to show up can backfire on you, as it can make you look unmotivated or lazy.
- I’m not in the mood: Don’t say this. It shows you aren’t disciplined enough to push yourself to work even when you don’t feel like it.
- I’m tired: You may be burned out rather than tired, but say you need to take a mental health day or are feeling under the weather instead.
- My alarm didn’t go off: Again, this shows a lack of self-discipline and responsibility. It happens to everyone from time to time, but don’t use it as your excuse.
- I have a hangover: This may be true, but don’t let your boss know you’ve been drinking during the week. Instead, say you’re not feeling well. Also, if you’re dealing with alcoholism, make sure to get the help you need.
- Different excuses every day: If you need a few days off, don’t use a different excuse every day. Example: Your pet got sick the first day, your house flooded the second day, your car broke down the third day, etc. That’s not very believable.
The best reasons are to say you’re not feeling well or require a mental health day.
That is, of course, unless something terrible actually happened, such as your grandfather had a stroke, or you got into an accident with an 18-wheeler on the highway.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.