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Career Development Tips

Valid Reasons To Call Out Of Work

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated Dec 17, 2021

Guide Overview

Valid reasons to call out of workPoor reasons to call out of workHow to explain why you need to call out of workTips for asking to be absent from work

Guide Overview

Why are reasons to call out of work necessary?

Usually people schedule days they need off from work. But sometimes the unexpected happens, and you may need to call out of your work. Some common reasons for calling out of work are professional, acceptable, and easy to explain.

Valid reasons to call out of work

Explore the following situations that may call for acceptable reasons to call out of work: Personal problems This excuse is helpful when you have personal issues that you’re not comfortable fully discussing in the context of a workplace. If you feel like adding more details, you can. Perhaps you can say you are feeling overwhelmed or perhaps your significant other broke up with you. However, you can simply state that you have personal problems that are preventing you from being productive today. If your boss asks further questions, you can politely respond, “I’m sorry, but I do not feel comfortable explaining at the moment.” 

Home delivery If you are having something delivered to your home, perhaps a piece of furniture or an important document, this situation presents a valid reason for not going to work. Explain to your boss the importance of the item and why you need to be at home to ensure its safe delivery. Your boss may ask you to confirm the delivery time and expect you to work a half day. If you don't have a firm delivery time frame, explain to your boss that the delivery window is quite large, and you're uncertain about the exact delivery time.  Home improvement problems Problems with your home are reasonable reasons to get out of work. Perhaps your air conditioner is broken, you have a leaky faucet in the bathroom, or rain from a severe thunderstorm has flooded your basement. Explain to your boss that you have to address the problem immediately or it could get worse. Request a day off to address the issue and update your boss at the end of the day if the problem persists. Family emergency A family emergency is another reasonable excuse for missing work. Your boss may ask you for more information, and if you feel comfortable, you may provide some details such as the family member affected. But you can also give your boss a vague explanation and say that you would like to respect your family member's privacy and can't go into details.  Feeling sick Calling in sick is a common excuse that many employers do not question. If you're feeling even the slightest bit under the weather, it's best not to spread a potential illness to your coworkers. Check in with your boss near the end of the day to provide a health update. If you are still feeling unwell, you may need to ask for another day off. If you are feeling better, assure your boss that you will return to work. If you have used the sick excuse too many times, your boss may require a doctor's note.

Doctor's appointment  Tell your boss that you scheduled a doctor's appointment months ago and need to keep the appointment. You can be specific and say that you scheduled a health checkup or an eye exam, but you can also remain vague. Keep in mind that your boss may require you to verify the appointment with a doctor's note. Car trouble If you rely on your car to get to work, you can say that your car is having trouble and you don't feel comfortable driving it to work. Your boss should understand your personal safety concerns, and you can admit that you don't know the source of the problem.  Schools are closed If schools are closed in your area due to inclement weather and you have children, you can use the school closure as an excuse to get out of work. Tell your boss that you need to care for your kids and cannot find a last-minute babysitter. If schools are closed because of severe weather, the closure may last a few days. Keep your boss updated about potentially calling out of work the next day if needed.  Death in the family A death in the family is an acceptable reason not to go to work. Many companies will have a bereavement policy that will allow you to take a few days off from work, depending on your relationship with the deceased. Explain to your employer what happened, but don't feel the need to elaborate if you don't want to. Specify how many days you will need off from work.  Click here to learn more about bereavement leave.

Poor reasons to call out of work

Discover some reasons that are inappropriate to use for getting out of work:

You’re unhappy at work

You shouldn’t use disappointment with your job as a reason for not going to work. If you use this excuse with your boss, it could lead to serious consequences, such as termination. Similarly, don’t use an argument with a co-worker as a reason for not going to work. If you are unsatisfied or are having problems with a coworker, explain the situation to your boss.

You’re interviewing for another job

It’s not a good idea to take off time from your job to interview for another company. Your boss could decide to terminate you since you are clearly expressing a desire to leave the company. If you have been granted an interview for another position, use a vacation or personal day. 

You’re tired

Exhaustion is not a good excuse for getting out of work. If you tell your boss that you are too tired to come to work, you may sound like you are being lazy or that you don’t enjoy your job. If you say that you feel mentally exhausted and overwhelmed at work, your boss may give you the day off. However, your boss may require you to discuss your concerns about your job and why it’s causing you to feel overwhelmed.

How to explain why you need to call out of work

Many companies will expect a formal email, a written note, or a telephone call to human resources explaining your excuse from work. The company will need this note for documentation purposes. Write a short, professional email explaining your excuse. In the email, explain why you will not be at work, how long you expect your absence to last, and ask whether your co-workers can help with any tasks.

Also, explain your availability during your absence. If you can periodically check and respond to work emails during your day off, mention this availability in your note. Also explain when you expect to return to work, especially if your absence lasts longer than a day. Send the note as quickly as possible. 

Tips for asking to be absent from work

Excusing yourself from a day or two of work can occur for legitimate reasons. Here are some tips for best practices when asking for a day off:

  • Be honest: It is always best to be honest when giving your excuse. If you make up an excuse to miss work more than once, you may need to think about why you are avoiding your job so much. Also, if you get caught skipping work for a reason different from the excuse you gave, be honest with your boss. 
  • Alert your boss ASAP: Missing work can be an inconvenience for your boss and your co-workers, and it’s important to report your absence as soon as possible. Follow any official protocol your company has for missing work, but you may also want to alert your boss separately through an email or phone call. 
  • Keep your excuse simple: You do not have to over-explain why you are missing work. Sometimes your excuse from work is for a personal reason that you do not have to share in full detail with your boss and co-workers. Be professional and polite when explaining why you are missing work, but you do not have to answer any follow-up questions if you are not comfortable addressing them.
  • Don’t use social media: Even if you have a valid excuse for missing work, stay off social media. If your boss and co-workers discover that you’re posting or interacting casually on a social media platform, they may believe your absence from work is a lie. 

When making an excuse to get out of work, honesty is always the best rule of thumb to follow. Deception has no place in a workplace. It can breed distrust and harbor discontentment that can impact your level of performance and the synergy you have with your boss and co-workers. As long as you are honest with your boss, have a valid reason, and miss work infrequently, you should not have a problem calling out from work for important matters.

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