Top 10 Excuses for Leaving Work Early

Added by Edan Barak on Apr 10, 2021

You managed to wake up on time, dress up nicely for work, commuted through soul-numbing traffic, and finally gotten yourself to the office - and suddenly you find yourself needing to think up an excuse to get the hell out of there.

It's happened to all of us. It could be some emergency that drops on you on a sunny Tuesday morning, out of the blue. Maybe it's not so much an emergency as a personal issue - we all have a personal life outside of work, and sometimes it can creep into our work time if we like it or not. Heck, could be you just don't feel like working today and - as long as it doesn't happen too often - that could be legitimate too.

You need a good list of excuses that won't leave you fumbling for straws when the boss asks that dreaded question, "Why?".

For those of you who are looking for a day off from work, we just published an excellent list of excuses to get out of work for the day. There are 20 employee-tested options to choose from.


Dentist Appointment

Tooth pain is one of the worst kinds of pain, and your boss knows it as well. You'll need to plan a day or two ahead for this one, and maybe take a few acting lessons to increase believability.

Let me paint the scene for you:
- You've been miserable for the past two days because of pain in your canine/molar.
- You've already made an appointment with your dentist whose very popular, and extremely busy.
- His secretary informed you that today's the only day he can take you, and there'll be no further appointments in the next few weeks.
- A hint of pain just shot up your nerve and into your jaw, and you cry out in pain as you pack your things and leave the office.

Ready? Action!



The most common of excuses, and therein lies the problem.

I mean, you're sitting/standing, right there in front of your boss looking quite alright, unbloodied, not throwing up or dying, so what's the problem, right?

Most bosses will be happy to let you out early if you plead sickness, especially if it's some infectious disease like the flu. They'll be more worried about their own and the other employees well-being and prefer you to be far away from the office.

You could also plead a terrible stomach or headache, and mention you need to see the doctor immediately.


Guests Are Arriving Early

They say you can't choose your family, but you most definitely can use them to make up excuses for leaving work during the day.

It so happens that your maternal cousin and his wife are visiting today, and for some reason or another (bad weather forecasts, miss-communication, dementia), they're arriving earlier than expected.



A distant relative, ex-co-worker, or someone your mother used to know has died, and you'd like to go to the funeral.

This excuse isn't for everyone, and some might argue it's downright shoddy.

If your moral compass works as well as an ejector seat in a helicopter, you might consider giving this one a pass.


Special delivery

Those darn delivery companies seem to only be able to deliver things during working hours. Your working hours, that is.

It won't fly more then once a month or so, but it's totally plausible that you ordered some new furniture and the delivery company can only bring it over during working hours.

Hopefully you haven't told your boss yet that you're still living with your parents.


Personal Issues

Personal issues are wonderful because, well, they're personal. If your boss is particularly inquisitive, tell him/her it's personal and family related.

If you don't use this excuse more then, say, once - ever - then it should be alright.


Special Occasions

Family and friends are an infinite source of good excuses, and special occasions are some of the best.

Although you might not like your little sister's boyfriend very much, their marriage poses a great excuse to leave work early.

Does your boss really need to know that they've been dating for only 1 month and haven't even mentioned the "M" word to each other?

One important note is to keep tabs on all marriages, bar mitzvahs, and other happy occasions that you've mentioned at work. You wouldn't want your boss to start wondering why your sister's getting married 3 times a year, and, strangely enough, to the same person!


Home Emergencies

For this one you'll need an accomplice, preferable a good friend that you trust. At some point in the morning your "neighbor", calls you at work to tell you a water pipe has broken in your home. Your house is slowly turning into the neighborhood swimming pool, and you better come over to fix it immediately!

The next day at work, don't forget to come in with flippers and a scuba mask.


Driving a relative to/from the airport

Something about family members needing a ride to the airport that brings out the "do-gooder" in us, and bosses understand this all too well. Of course, they could always take a taxi or train, but family members deserve more then that, don't they?

If you decide to use this excuse to get out of work early, you might consider actually driving to the airport and putting yourself on the next plane out to the holiday destination of your choice.

Apparently, you need a vacation.



Children are such wonderful excuse-enablers that it's a wonder people don't have them more often.

They get into trouble, accidents and general mischief on an almost daily basis, and it's your job to help them, console them, or take them to the hospital.

Here are just a few we thought of (some of them we experienced firsthand):
- My kids locked themselves outside.
- My kids locked themselves inside.
- I need to go pick on my kids.
- My child painted himself red and got himself high on paint fumes.
- My child ate a crayon and needs to be taken to the hospital.

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