The best excuse for missing work is a valid reason you can’t avoid it.
Some good excuses to miss work on short notice include accidents or a sick child.
Of course, if you have a pet emergency or you wake up ill and need sick leave, those are good excuses, too.
Sometimes when you can’t go to work, it’s for reasons that it’s best not to tell your boss.
In those cases, you need a believable excuse to call off.
You can use one of the good excuses to miss work on short notice to get through it.
None of us can control emergencies.
So if you can’t go to work, it helps to know how to tell your boss you can’t be there.
If you call off with a good excuse, the day will be an excused absence that doesn’t count against you.
How Do You Tell Your Boss You Can’t Come To Work?
If you can’t work your scheduled shift, call your boss as soon as you can.
If the reason is jury duty, you might need to provide a copy of the summons.
Bad weather that causes dangerous roads will be evident to your boss, but you still need to call.
Let them know that you won’t be there and why.
Don’t text or email, but use the phone to call your employer so you can speak with them if possible.
Try not to offer too many unnecessary details.
The more information you give, the less it sounds like a believable excuse.
Can You Get Fired For Calling In Sick?
If you’re an at-will employee and not under a contract, your boss can fire you for any reason.
But no employee should fire you for calling off work sick.
You could dispute it through any work-based policies or legal action, but no one wants things to go that far.
Employers generally don’t fire employees for needing sick time.
However, they could fire you for being unreliable if you call off too much.
Employees sometimes fire people who appear to lie about why they can’t come to work.
If you miss three days or more at many workplaces, you’ll need a doctor’s appointment and a release before you can come back.
How to Call Out of Work: Good Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice
If you have to call off work at the last minute, call your boss as soon as possible.
The reason will probably be one of these good excuses to miss work on short notice.
Be upfront and tell your boss why you can’t come, and let them know when you’ll be back if you can.
Telling them when you’ll back help make you a good employee.
Everyone gets sick from time to time and needs to take a sick day.
It’s your responsibility to call off work when you’re ill.
Calling off prevents you from spreading illness and lets you take care of yourself.
No one wants you to go to work sick and possibly make your coworkers ill, too.
Call your manager or direct supervisor as soon as you know you’re ill.
Let them know that you need sick leave and can’t come to work.
You Are Expecting a Purchase Delivery
Package deliveries might not be an acceptable reason to miss work on short notice in most cases.
You’ll know about most package deliveries in advance.
A last-minute call to your boss for this might not go over very well.
If the package is important, let your boss know that you’ll be in after the delivery.
Tell them if you need to be there to prevent theft or sign for the delivery.
You could also use one of the other good excuses for missing work on short notice.
Take a personal or vacation day in advance, if you can.
Your Child Got Sick
A sick child is one of the most common reasons parents call off work.
Sick kids can’t go to school or daycare and need a parent to stay with them to make them feel better.
A sick child is one good excuse to miss work on short notice.
So call as soon as you can, and don’t feel bad about calling off.
There Is a COVID Case Where You Live
If a family member you live with has tested positive for COVID, it’s a good idea to call off work as soon as you know.
You’ll need more than one sick day for this reason.
In most cases, you should avoid going to work or being around anyone else for five days after exposure.
This legitimate reason is a great excuse to miss work.
You Have an Emergency at Home
A personal emergency is a valid reason to miss work.
But, as always, let your boss know as soon as you know that you won’t be coming in and need emergency leave.
How much you tell them about your reason is up to you.
If it’s not highly personal, let your employer know the reason, so they don’t wonder if your excuse is real or not.
No One Is Available to Take Care of Your Child
Lack of child care constitutes an emergency.
Let your employer know that your childcare fell through and you have to stay at home with your child or children.
Then make sure you have arrangements for your next shift so you can go to work as scheduled.
You Are Resolving a Family Issue
This reason might be a very personal one you don’t want to share.
However, if your boss knows about the situation already, tell them what’s happening.
You can tell your employer you have a family emergency if you’re comfortable with that.
Otherwise, consider using one of the other good excuses to miss work on short notice to avoid questions.
You Are a Victim of Food Poisoning
Food poisoning can be a life-threatening emergency, but it’s usually just a miserable experience that passes after one to three days.
It’s a good reason for staying home.
This excuse is a good one because food poisoning happens fast without warning.
Don’t share the gruesome details if you call off work with food poisoning.
You Experienced Some Sort of Accident
Unfortunately, accidents happen to everyone from time to time.
If you’ve had an accident, contact your employer as quickly as you can.
What to Say if You Miss Work and Don’t Call
If you missed work without calling, contact your boss and apologize as soon as you can.
Own up to it and explain that you know what problems it can cause when someone doesn’t show up without calling.
Doing this puts a strain on the people who do show up.
If you still have a job after not calling off, vow to do better next time.
You might have “quit” by not showing up and may need to look for another job.
If you’re asked why you left your last job in a job interview question, point out that you’ve learned to be more responsible since then.
Tips and Cautions for Missing Work on Short Notice
Do everything you can to avoid missing work on short notice and giving a bad excuse.
However, when you can’t avoid it, a few tips can help make it easier for everyone.
Contact Your Employer As Quickly As Possible
Your boss needs to know as soon as possible to cover your shift or know what to expect if they’re shorthanded.
At the very least, a long delay can make you seem thoughtless and irresponsible.
At worst, your boss might think you’re someone who will skip work without a good reason.
Make Plans to Cover Your Absence
If you have work to make up after calling in sick or for an emergency, make plans to get that work done another time.
In some cases, if you know you need to miss work, you might be able to arrange a switch.
See if another employee can switch shifts with you, so you don’t have to miss work.
Only do this if it’s allowed at your workplace.
Check with your boss if you’re uncertain.
If you can’t make advance arrangements, do what you can to make up the work.
Often, someone else will be called in to cover for you.
If possible, you can volunteer to cover for someone else when they’re sick.
Use Your Head: You’re Not the Only Person Involved
Most workplaces have only enough employees working each shift to cover the necessary tasks.
Few places have so many extra people that any employee can stay home without affecting the job.
When someone calls off, it strains other workers and bosses to get the extra work done.
They understand legitimate excuses, but if you call off a lot, it will raise eyebrows.
Don’t call off work unless you really need to stay home for some reason.
If you call off unnecessarily and make a habit of it, your coworkers and supervisors will notice.
Don’t feel anxious about it when you have a valid excuse for calling off.
Call as soon as possible.
Provide whatever information you’re comfortable giving, but avoid giving too many details.
Everyone misses work from time to time.
Let your boss know what’s going on to be responsible, and then don’t dwell on it.