Excuses for Missing Work (Good and Bad Reasons)

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Do you need to skip work, but don't have a good excuse? If you are concerned about using the "I need a sick day" excuse too many times and want to be creative here are some work excuses shared by readers that might work when you need a reason to take time off from your job:

Good Excuses for Missing Work

  • Appointments (financial planner, accountant, lawyer, etc.)
  • Babysitter problems
  • Car troubles
  • Child has to get a sports physical
  • Colonoscopy (nobody wants to question that)
  • Death in the family (be careful, see below)
  • Doctor or dentist appointment
  • Illness
  • Family illness (child, parent)
  • Leaky pipes
  • Medical tests
  • Migraine
  • Root canal
  • School closed
  • New baby in the family

Bad Excuses for Missing Work

Also remember that some excuses just don't work. For example, some of the following are excuses, also shared by readers, that you might not want to use when you call in to work:

  • Airline lost Grandma's body shipping it back for the funeral
  • Car insurance expired
  • Death in the family (for the seventh time in six months)
  • Dog shut off alarm
  • Got arrested
  • Headache
  • Lost phone
  • Need to see the latest Harry Potter movie
  • Office is too cold
  • Office is too hot
  • PMS
  • Snake in the house
  • Someone stole water pipes
  • Sore feet
  • Stubbed his toe

10 Really Bad Excuses for Calling in Sick

There are some reasons you should never give for calling in sick. CareerBuilder's annual survey of the Most Absurd Reasons for Calling in Sick include the following:

  1. Employee claimed his grandmother poisoned him with ham.
  2. Employee was stuck under the bed.
  3. Employee broke his arm reaching to grab a falling sandwich.
  4. Employee said the universe was telling him to take a day off.
  5. Employee’s wife found out he was cheating. He had to spend the day retrieving his belongings from the dumpster.
  1. Employee poked herself in the eye while combing her hair.
  2. Employee said his wife put all his underwear in the washer.
  3. Employee said the meal he cooked for a department potluck didn’t turn out well.
  4. Employee was going to the beach because the doctor said she needed more vitamin D.
  5. Employee said her cat was stuck inside the dashboard of her car.

What Can Happen if You Get Caught

Do keep in mind that, even if you use what you think is a good excuse, being dishonest can cost you your job if you're caught. As one of our readers wrote "If you are the sort of person who lies and fakes sick days then it's no surprise if you DO get fired - it's gross misconduct." which was rebutted by another who said "If I could tell my boss the truth - I would."

In addition, lies can come back to haunt you. It's not always easy to remember what you said to whom and getting caught in a lie is not good for job security.

Don't think that your employer won't check up on you. They might not, but there is a chance they will.

CareerBuilder's annual survey reports that 22% of employers have fired a worker for calling in without a legitimate reason. 33% of employers who responded to the survey have checked up on the employee, even driving by their house, to be sure they really are sick.

More Excuses: Excuses for Being Late for Work

Email Message and Letter Work Excuse Examples
Need to provide a written excuse for missing work? These sample letters and email messages with excuses for missing work can be edited to fit your own personal circumstances

Taking Time Off to Interview
What's the best way to take time off from work for a job interview? I always suggest that job seekers try to schedule interviews early or late in the day, or at lunch time. Another alternative, if you can schedule a couple of interviews on one day, is taking a vacation day.

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