Top 13 Good Excuses to Get Out Of Work Without Consequences

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

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good excuses to get out of work

All attendance policies require employees to complete their shifts on time. Early leave requires plenty of advanced notice and is usually counted against their PTO (paid time off) for non-emergency cases. 

Fortunately, last-minute reports are sometimes acceptable with these bulletproof excuses to get out of work. Keep scrolling if you want to clock out early without any warnings or disciplinary actions!

Top 13 Best Excuses to Get Out Of Work

Unexpected emergencies beyond control, such as allergies, family matters, sick kids, canceled school/childcare, menstrual cramping, or no Internet connection (for remote workers), are acceptable excuses to clock out early. 

Panic attacks or anxiety will grant you an immediate nod from your manager, but be aware that they might ask for your medical documentation once you return to work. Therefore, do not use these symptoms as a fake excuse. 

1. Illness

Ailments like headaches, coughs, or bad colds can strike anyone out of the blue. While most of these symptoms are short-lived, it’s still advisable to go home early for quicker recovery and to avoid spreading the illness to your colleagues. 

This sentiment also applies to some mental health issues to a certain degree.

2. Family Emergency

Family matters are good excuses to call out of work since they are usually unexpected and demand immediate attention. 

These issues can also be quite emotionally overwhelming, especially if you have to deal with the aftermath. Therefore, most employers will understand your troubles and let you clock out early to support and care for your loved ones.

3. Relocation

Moving to a new place might throw off your entire schedule and should be a legitimate reason to take some time away from your shift, especially if it is job-related. 

How so? There is a lot to manage, such as sorting out realtors, handling time-sensitive key exchanges, coordinating with movers, or giving your new place a brand-new makeover. Juggling all these tasks while still at work is certainly not the greatest idea in the world.

4. Pet Emergencies

A furry friend who is sick, lost, or passed away demands your immediate attention; hardly any manager can refuse your last-minute request for such a stressful and challenging situation. Not to mention, in case of a missing pet, it might take a while (or even days) to search for them and ensure their safe return.

5. Accidents

Just like illnesses, accidents will be a solid get-out-of-work excuse; sometimes, they might occur right during your shift! 

Certain injuries take days to heal and even require constant visits to physiotherapists or doctors. In any case, your employer will likely allow you to leave early to rest and get better.

6. Gas Leaks

A gasoline leak is not something you should treat lightly. 

It is best to get home as soon as possible once you receive the news, then stay around or close to the source of leakage until a professional gas fitter shows up. Only a fool would stay behind at work and leave the leak unattended/unsupervised.

7. Sick Kid

Call Out In Sick
Call Out In Sick

A sick, unwell kid should be enough of an excuse to leave sooner than expected. There should be at least one parent at home to care for them and monitor the symptoms, after all! Plus, since kids need round-the-clock care, working at home is hardly an acceptable alternative.

8. Bad Weather

Bad weather may drastically disrupt your transportation or commute routines, especially if you are out in remote areas. 

In worse cases, snowstorms or heavy rains might block the roads, cut off all communication lines, and damage household properties. Your boss will understand if you need to get off work early and take preventive steps before those natural disasters happen.

9. No Wifi

For those working remotely, losing an Internet connection is a real hassle that might completely halt your work since most files are now stored in the cloud. Hardly any task can be processed!

And what if you work at the office and there is an Internet outage? That’s a compelling reason to head home a bit earlier than planned.

10. Allergies

Allergies usually strike at the most inconvenient times, often beyond our control. Whether a sudden, violent attack or a lingering discomfort, these reactions might leave you physically incapable of managing your job responsibilities.

Hence, requesting a break due to allergies is not uncommon and is often necessary to ensure you can return to work at your best. It is a totally justifiable reason to seek time off!

11. Childcare/School Canceled

When the school or childcare unexpectedly closes (whether due to staff strikes or illness outbreaks), it will put any concerned parent in a tight spot.

Much like tending to a sick child, these issues require immediate attention, so there is really no other choice but to clock out sooner than scheduled and take care of your little one. Since you barely have any control over this unforeseen circumstance, most employers will be and should be supportive. 

12. Menstrual Cramping

As a woman, I understand that managing menstrual cramps in the comfort of your own home is not easy, let alone at work! Therefore, if you experience significant period pain, do not hesitate to ask your boss for time off.

On another note, some employees I worked with at UNI Global shared that they feel uncomfortable discussing the specifics of their periods with anyone else. Therefore, if telling the truth sounds too awkward or embarrassing for you, simply explain you have a stomachache or feel nauseous instead.

13. Panic Attack or Anxiety

It is okay to leave early or call out of work when you are dealing with heightened anxiety levels. Remember that mental health issues (anxiety included) are covered in the American Citizens with Disabilities Act, meaning you have the right to ask for reasonable accommodations from your employer. Examples of proposed adjustments are: 

  • Working remotely
  • Adjusted schedule for brakes
  • Adjusted schedule for work/shifts 

On the other hand, once you get over your anxiety episode and return to work, your boss might request to see your doctor’s note or similar documentation. As such, I do not recommend using panic attacks or anxiety as a fake excuse to get out of work.

Bad Reasons You Should Not Use to Get Out Of Work

1. Being Hungover

Mental Health Problems in work

Telling your boss you woke up in the morning with a pounding headache or having too many drinks the night before is the worst last-minute excuse ever. It is your own fault for getting drunk despite having work the next day, after all! Instead, I suggest using your sick leave/sick time or popping a pain reliever. 

2. Personal Errands 

Using your work time to run personal errands is hardly acceptable to any manager, especially if you use this excuse repeatedly. I noticed that some of my junior employees usually clock out early for a date, shopping, or going to a concert, which I totally don’t agree with. 

Try to schedule your appointments outside office hours; if that is not possible, request a flexible work arrangement to accommodate these needs while still showing commitment to the job.

3. Lack of Motivation or Interest

Business man stressed in office

Boredom or lack of motivation is never a legitimate excuse to clock out early. If you struggle to stay engaged with your work, it is important to address any underlying issue immediately, such as:

  • Seeking new challenges within your role
  • Discussing with your manager how to adjust your tasks
  • Exploring opportunities for professional development.

Extra Tips to Get Out Of Work

  • Your boss will be more likely to accept your request if you have always been a disciplined employee who meets deadlines, stays open to feedback, and delivers great performance. 
  • If your excuse is verifiable, such as a doctor’s appointment or a family emergency situation, be prepared to provide documentation to support your claim.
  • Acknowledge that your early departure may disrupt or inconvenience your team. Apologize to your boss, then suggest alternative arrangements, like completing some work remotely, making up for lost time later in the week, asking a colleague to cover for you, etc.
  • Do not take your manager’s kindness for granted! Requesting early departures too often might create a pattern of absenteeism that makes them question your reliability. 

How Frequently Can You Use These Believable Excuses Without Putting Your Job At Risk?

There is no definite answer, as the situation depends on your job position, past performance, and how legitimate the excuses are. To play it safe, you should use them as sparingly as possible.


Although your manager will likely not question the valid excuses above due to their urgency and unexpected nature, the best bet is to use them during actual emergencies only. Otherwise, in the worst-case scenario, the company might start to question whether you are a good fit for this job

See more: How Long Will It Take To Get To Work?

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Christina J Colclough

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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