How to Call Out of Work: Excuses, Tips, and Examples

If you’ve ever had to call out of work, you know how nerve-wracking it can be! You want to tell your boss the truth. But you also don’t want to get in trouble or give him/her any reason to question your loyalty to your job! After all, you spent so much time researching how to start a cover letter just to land that dream job. You don’t want to put your position at risk for a lame excuse, right?

To help with this common problem, we’ve created this handy guide on how to call out of work with some reasons and tips for excuses so you can enjoy your day off guilt-free!

How to Call Out of Work: Excuses, Tips, and Examples

Reasons and Bulletproof Excuses for Calling Out of Work

It’s easier than ever to call out of work these days, with all the flexible options available, but it’s still important to use caution and always be truthful. You can’t just say that you have nothing to do at work or you were looking for a new job and that you had to research how to start a cover letter or go to an interview.

Tips to Call out of Work

We have compiled more valid excuses and examples of how to call out of work. Check them out!

1. Personal emergency


“My mother has been admitted to the hospital with serious medical complications, and I have to be by her side as soon as possible. Can I take a day off for today?”

We hope that you never have the need to call out of work because you are dealing with a personal emergency. However, if it ever happens, we can give you a few pieces of advice that might help when you decide what excuse to tell your boss, so you don’t have to say you were busy reading how to start a cover letter.

If it’s an extreme emergency that needs immediate medical attention, then we recommend calling your employer and letting them know as soon as possible. Even if they have some strict policies in place, they know how to take care of other employees who need time off for emergencies too.

If it’s not an extreme emergency and you think you’ll be able to get back in within the next day or two, then telling your boss about it might be the best option for now.

You should contact your employer as soon as possible after learning about the emergency and let them know what has happened so they don’t worry about you. Make sure to ask your company if you can use PTO or other paid time off to stay home with a family member who needs help.

2. Sickness


“I’m feeling under the weather today, and I feel I won’t be productive at work if I report. Would you be kind enough to grant me a day or two off from work until I can recover?”

If you’re sick and have to miss work, the best way is to go in and let your boss know as soon as possible. In some cases, you may be able to work from home for a day or two, but it’s not always an option.

If you can’t go to work because of illness, then let your boss know that you won’t be able to make it in. Make sure you tell them how long you expect to be out so they can cover your shifts.

And if you feel really bad or are contagious, get a note from the doctor stating this information so it can help convince them that it’s not just an excuse for missing work. This brings us to the next excuse.

3. COVID-19


“I tested positive for COVID-19, and I don’t want to risk the health of my colleagues if I go to the office today. Can I take time off until I am cleared and COVID-free?”

COVID-19 can be a valid reason for missing work because it covers so many different circumstances. It may be more believable if you have a doctor’s note that states the date and reason for your absence as well as an expected return date. This gives your boss or supervisor proof that you were, in fact, sick and not just skipping work for no reason.

COVID-19 is also used by those who feel like their workplace environment might be unsafe. However, we strongly advise against using this excuse if you feel things will get better at some point but only during certain times of the day.

4. Family Emergency


“I apologize if I can’t make it to work today. Something personal came up that needed my immediate attention. I promise I’d be back tomorrow and work on my pending tasks. I just need to sort things out today.”

A family emergency is always a compelling reason to call out of work. People are understanding more about emergencies that happen in the family than any other type of emergency. Be sure to let your boss know ahead of time if you think there’s a chance that you might need an emergency day, and be honest with them about what the emergency is.

If you’re not comfortable telling your boss why it’s an emergency, say something like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t make it in today because my grandfather has been taken to the hospital.”

You could also email or text them if they prefer receiving communication via those mediums. It’s a good idea to keep some records handy just in case they ask for more details or want proof of what happened with your grandparent as well.

5. Car Accident


“I’m afraid I won’t be reporting to work today as I was involved in a car accident while on the way. I need to settle things and get checked into the hospital now. I will keep you posted on the updates, too.”

If you’re in a car accident and the other driver is clearly at fault or if you sustain an injury that prevents you from going to work, you can use this as an excuse for not going or missing work.

A car accident should be reported to the insurance company, if available, as soon as possible. The following day, go to your doctor or the emergency room and get the appropriate medical care. Once it’s been established that no one will be able to drive you home from the hospital, contact your employer and explain what happened.

If your employer asks for documentation, such as police reports or medical bills, make sure you provide them with what they need so that they can act on it immediately.

6. Death of a Loved One


“My grandmother passed away last night. I have to do some paperwork this morning; hence, I can’t go to work today. Once everything is sorted out, I will let you know.”

It’s never easy to take time off due to the death of a loved one. But it can be necessary when dealing with losing a family member or close friend.

Before you call your boss and ask for the day off, here are some things you should consider.

  • Are you really grieving?
  • Are you having a hard time functioning because of the grief?
  • Is this an appropriate amount of time to mourn?

These questions will help you decide if your absence is legitimate or not.

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How to Miss Work Professionally: Some Best Tips

If you’re feeling under the weather or have a sudden emergency, there’s no need to panic. You can always find a way to get the time off you need without having to make a pointless excuse like you were busy seeking advice on how to start a cover letter.

Here are some ways you can fake an illness or say you’re too sick to come to work without getting caught.

  • Call your boss and tell them that something came up and you won’t be able-bodied enough to make it to work today.
  • Make up an excuse involving one of your coworkers who is sick.
  • Say you got food poisoning from eating at a restaurant last night.

Below are some tips to stay professional when missing out on your work:

Pick the best method of contact

If you need to call in sick for a day or two, here are some ways you can contact your employer:

  • Call them on the phone. This is the best option if it’s a personal issue that you don’t want to share with them.
  • Send an email. This is better than calling because it’s quicker and easier for your boss.
  • Send them an instant message using Skype or Facebook Messenger. This is only effective if they have those apps installed on their computer and they are logged in when you send them a message.
  • Send an SMS. This is helpful if you know the personal number of your boss.

Choose the right time to contact

When you’re ready for a break or need time off from your job for an emergency, it can be hard to find the perfect time and way to let your boss know. Sometimes, it’s just easier to come up with a lame excuse so you don’t have to deal with the hassle.

But that can backfire on you if your boss catches on. The key here is to let your boss know about your situation as soon as you can. If you can, call your boss the moment you know about the situation. Don’t wait for the day to be over before informing them.

Be ready to go to work

As soon as everything is okay, you may prepare to get back to work. People are likely to ask questions about what happened. Be firm with your reasons to avoid issues. If possible, prepare proof or evidence.

For instance, if you called in sick, then have a medical certificate. If a close relative died, have the death certificate printed.

Call Out of Work Last Minute

It’s inevitable that we all will have to miss work once in a while. Whether you’re sick or need to be with a family member during a difficult time, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why you might need a day off.

But sometimes, it can be hard to call in at the last minute and make up an excuse. Luckily, we’ve compiled some sample excuses you can use:

  • I’m sorry, but I can’t come in today. I have a bad headache from last night, and I can’t concentrate. I’ll be really happy when it’s over.
  • I’m sorry, but there was an emergency with my family, and I need to take care of them for the next few days.
  • I have the flu and won’t be able to come to work today or tomorrow. Please let me know if you need anything else.
  • I’m so sorry, but I just got word that my grandmother passed away suddenly, and we’re flying out to see her this afternoon. Thank you so much for understanding!

More Tips and Recommendations

To be successful at calling off work, you need a good excuse. Here are some ideas if you’re trying to get a day off for the beach or just want some time away from the office without having anyone question your commitment or dedication:

  • I’m feeling under the weather.
  • I’m dealing with an emergency situation.
  • I have a doctor’s appointment.
  • I have a family matter I need to deal with.
  • I’m celebrating my birthday!
  • My car is broken down, and I can’t make it in.

While it’s easy to say these excuses, remember the consequences if you are doing this on a regular basis. People may start questioning your dedication.

Should You Take Days Off When You Are OK?

Trying to do two things at once can often result in not doing either well. If you are feeling up to it, it is probably best for you and your company that you stay home and get better rather than go into the office.

But if you are feeling especially awful because you hate your job, or if a coworker has offered to cover for you, or if your boss tells you that he or she will fire anyone who calls in sick again, then it may be worth calling out.


So, there you have it! Those are some excuses and tips you can use for calling in sick. Don’t say you were busy reading how to start a cover letter for a new job you are looking to apply for.

You can always use the “I’m feeling under the weather” excuse if you’re not feeling too creative. And if you need more inspiration or ideas for what to say, just read through the excuses above. They might work well.

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