Coming up with a good excuse to miss work on short notice is tricky. This article will explore some good text message or phone call options you can use to tell your boss that you won’t be able to make it to work for the day (or longer).
Good excuses to miss work on short notice are sickness, no childcare, and being in an accident. These are some of the best excuses you can use, as they are the most common ones that don’t require much of an explanation.
Sickness, in general, is one of the best excuses you can use with short notice. If you are sick, you cannot work. Most sickness bugs will prevent you from doing the things you are normally able to do, which is why it’s a good excuse.
- I feel very sick. Is there any way I can miss work today?
- I’m afraid I can’t come in, sir. I’m very sick. It’s not wise to be around people.
- I don’t want to come to the office and give my sickness bug to everyone else.
2. No Childcare
If you cannot find childcare while you’re supposed to be working, you might have a worthy excuse ready. You only need to tell your boss that you can’t find anybody to look after your children. It’s that simple.
- I can’t get any childcare today, so I won’t be able to come to work. I’m so sorry.
- I really can’t apologize enough, but I don’t have any childcare, so I can’t come in.
- My childcare plans fell through. I’m going to have to miss work while I sort something out.
If you’ve been in an accident, you might be entitled to some time off work. It’s one of the best excuses you can use because it shows that you will need to take some time to rehabilitate an injury you might have received in the accident.
- I’ve had an accident, so I don’t think I’ll be in for a week. Sorry about the inconvenience.
- I’m really sorry, but I’ve been in an accident. There’s nothing I can do right now.
- I can’t come to work because I’ve had an accident. I can’t even use my legs.
4. Family Emergency
A family emergency is always a great excuse to get out of work on short notice. You don’t often have to elaborate more than that, either. “Family emergency” already covers plenty of issues that you might be having.
Most bosses will grant you time off without prying any further.
- There’s a family emergency going on right now, so work is not at the front of my mind.
- I’m sorry, but this family emergency comes before work. I need to be with my mom.
- I have a family emergency. I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it to work later.
5. Sick Child/Parent
Having a sick child or parent to look after will always create issues with your working life. If you feel like you need to put their care before work, you have to use this as an excuse.
- My child is sick, and I need to care for her. I’m sorry, but I can’t come in today.
- I told you about my dad, right? He is too sick to care for himself, so I need to do it.
- My father is sick, and I need to care for him. I won’t come to work for a while.
6. Major Delivery
Some deliveries cannot be missed. It’s as simple as that. If you’re waiting on such a delivery, you will need to call work to let them know that you can’t come in until something has arrived.
- There’s a major delivery waiting for me today, so I’ll have to miss work. Sorry.
- I can’t miss this delivery. I’ll come in after it’s arrived, as long as it’s not too late.
- I will need to wait in until this delivery arrives. I know that’s not ideal, but it has to be done.
7. Hospital Visit
Hospital visits can come out of nowhere. If you’ve found yourself in the hospital while you were supposed to be working, it’s worth contacting your boss to apologize and let them know you can’t work.
- I told you that I had a hospital appointment the other day. I can’t come to work today, Michael.
- This hospital visit is going to take most of the day. I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it in.
- I’m currently at the hospital. It wasn’t planned, but something has happened that needs fixing.
8. Mental Illness
Mental illness is still a difficult thing to talk about, but the awareness of it in the workplace is growing. You can always use this excuse to let someone know that you’re struggling with something and don’t think you can work.
- I’m not feeling very well mentally, so I’d appreciate it if you gave me a few days off to recover.
- I have a bit of a mental problem at the moment. I don’t want to get into it, but I’m struggling to work.
- I need some time off work to sort my head out right now. I’m really sorry if that’s inconvenient for you.
9. Car Problems
Car problems are always a valid excuse. Most people that work have cars, and they know that problems and breakdowns can occur at any moment. Using this excuse is a suitable way to call up and let someone know that you have no way of getting to work.
- I’ve just found out that my car needs a service, so I won’t be able to come to work today.
- My car broke down in the middle of the street! There’s nothing I can do to get to work now.
- I’m having car issues, so I can’t come in. I’ll let you know when they’re sorted.
10. Locked Out
While locking yourself out of your house might not be a very smart move, it can be used as an excuse. Most bosses will judge you for doing this, but they’ll also understand that you have no way of getting to work until you get back in your house to get your keys.
- I’m locked out of the house! I have to wait for my mother to pick me up, but that’ll be a few hours.
- I’m afraid I locked myself out of the house. I can’t come to work now.
- I won’t be at work today because I’m locked out of my house. I know. It’s stupid of me.
Toothache is a silent killer, and it’s one of the most uncomfortable pains someone can experience. That’s what makes toothache such a good excuse, as most people will give you the benefit of the doubt and grant you time off work.
- I have a whopping toothache right now, so I don’t think it’s wise for me to come to work.
- I feel uncomfortable because of this toothache. I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it to work.
- This toothache is getting worse. I need to take some time off to recover.
12. Giving Blood
Giving blood shows that you care about other people and that kindness usually grants you some time off work (even if it’s only a few hours). It’s a good choice if you want to play the sympathy card to get some time off.
- Did I mention that I’m giving blood today? That’s why I need to take a bit of time off.
- I gave blood yesterday and feel very woozy. I’m afraid I need to take a few days off.
- I’m giving blood today, which is why I won’t be able to make it in. I’m sorry about that.
13. Family Death
A family death is never pleasant, but these things happen. You should never fake a family death to get off work. If you are going through one, you should contact your boss to let them know you need time to grieve.
- I just heard that my uncle died, so I’d really appreciate the day off to look after my family.
- My grandmother died yesterday, so I haven’t been thinking about work all that much. Sorry.
- My father just died. I have no intention of coming back to work for the time being. Goodbye.
14. School Closure
You should use this excuse if you have children that are usually at school while you work. If the school closes, it means the children are alone, and if you can’t find alternative care, you’ll have to look after them and call work to let them know.
- So, my son’s school just closed for the day, meaning I won’t be able to make it to work.
- I can’t believe this, but the school just closed for the week. I need to find childcare before I can come to work.
- The school is closed, so I won’t be coming to work until that is sorted out.
15. Religious Holiday
Religious reasons and holidays are always great choices that most people can’t argue against. You should only use this excuse if you are religious and genuinely celebrating or representing a religious holiday.
- Today is a religious holiday. You don’t expect me to come to work, right?
- I thought I told you that I’m religious. I’m not coming to work because I’m celebrating the holiday.
- I’m sorry, but the religious holiday trumps my work duties today. I’m not coming in.
16. Surprise Visitors
Sometimes, family and friends like to surprise each other. It can’t be helped, but you need to accommodate them if they decide to drop by your house unannounced.
While this isn’t the most suitable excuse you can use, it’s still a good way to get some time off work.
- We’ve had a few surprise guests come over, so I won’t be able to come to work today.
- I appreciate this is a last-minute text, but I cannot come to work because of some surprise visitors.
- My mother came over from Ireland. I’m taking the day off to spend some time with her.
17. Food Poisoning
Food poisoning strikes at the most inconvenient times. If you have it, it’s hard to function normally in any situation, let alone at work. That’s why it’s a good excuse to help you get a few days off to recover.
- I’ve got food poisoning, Ms. Bone. I won’t be coming in for at least a week while I recover.
- Apparently, I got food poisoning from that dish yesterday. I won’t be coming in tonight.
- I can’t come to work because I have food poisoning. You won’t want me there.
18. Pet Problems
Pet problems are a good choice if you have a pet in the family. Pets are just like any other member of the family, so their care is a priority. That’s why most bosses will let you have time off briefly to get the problems sorted.
- My dog has had an allergic reaction, so I need to look after him while he recovers.
- I’m sorry, but my cat has been in an accident. I’m afraid I’ll have to take the day off work.
- I’ll need to look after both my dogs today because I could not find someone to care for them.
19. Achy Joints
Achy joints become more apparent and common as you get older. It can make moving around and doing your normal job difficult. If you find that you’re having trouble bending down or doing normal tasks, you might want to call work to let them know you need time off.
- My back is killing me. I can hardly move out of my chair. Work is not a good idea for me today.
- I’m sorry, but my legs and knees are really sore. I don’t think it’s wise for me to come to work.
- I need to fix my achy joints before coming back to work. They’re getting worse.
20. Jury Duty
Jury duty is one of the top excuses for getting off work for the day (or multiple days). Jury duty can’t be helped. If you get selected to do it, it usually means you have to do it. That’s why it’s such a good one to use.
- I have jury duty today. That’s why I can’t come in.
- I have jury duty for a few days, so I won’t be back for a while.
- Today is jury duty. I know that’s inconvenient, but I can’t come to work.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.