Fake excuses to call out of work

Sometimes we all just need a breather and feel the urge to dodge the office for a day, don’t we? You might be sitting there scratching your head, wondering how to make it happen without rousing suspicion. Been there, done that. Got your back, buddy. I’ve compiled a neat little list of 20 virtually foolproof alibis to secure that much-needed day off. Your boss will feel for you and you’ll be sipping hot cocoa in your PJs at home in no time. If you’re itching for that sweet mid-week home time, keep reading.

Fake excuses to call out of work

Keep it neat and concise. Just tell ’em you’re feeling under the weather. If they’re nosy, drop the M-bomb (migraine), claim a bout of the flu, food poisoning, or that you’ve thrown out your back.

You could also mention an emergency appointment. It could be for you, or for a “sick” kid, spouse, or pet.

To dodge the health-related excuses, simply say you’re locked out of your car or you’ve got a flat tire.

1. I’m not feeling up to it.

The unpredictability of illness makes this one of the winning fake excuses to call out of work. Flu, menstrual cramps, allergies, or a stomach bug—you name it. Keep it somewhat ambiguous. Most bosses won’t pry—if they do, feel free to embellish with some cringe-worthy details.

Guys, woke up feeling like hell this morning with a killer sore throat and a nasty cough. Don’t want to spread the love, so I’ll stay home today.

Allergies are kicking my butt today because of the weather shift. Can’t seem to get a handle on it, so calling in a sick day.

Have killer menstrual cramps today, and I’m practically glued to the couch. Won’t be able to make it to work, sorry guys.

2. My kiddo is feeling sick.

A sick kid is a surefire sympathy magnet, especially if your boss has met them before. Looking after sick children demands a lot of attention. They’re germ factories too, so your colleagues will appreciate you keeping those bugs at home. You can drop this one last-minute, or even the night before if the “illness” is bad enough.

Hey, my little guy woke up with a fever this morning and I need to play nurse today.

My twins were tossing their cookies all night, need to stay home and keep an eye on them.

Can’t make it today, guys. There’s a strep throat outbreak at my daughter’s school, and it seems she’s the newest recruit.

3. I’ve got a surprise doctor’s appointment.

Yes, it’s a bit cliché, but a doctor’s appointment works wonders if you don’t overdo it. Your boss might be skeptical, but won’t probe too much because, hey, health stuff is personal.

Just be careful not to wear this one out or you might end up having to cough up actual doctor’s notes. Drop this one on the day of your shift or even the day before.

4. I’ve been hit with food poisoning.

We all know how abruptly and intensely food poisoning can strike—it’s a real nightmare. This alibi works wonders because it’s basically untraceable and requires just about a day for recovery. Ideal for that cheeky mid-week breather! Remember, try to sound like you’re on the verge of barfing while you’re on the call to really sell it.

Hey, been dealing with food poisoning all night. There’s no way I can drag myself into work today.”

I think I’m down with food poisoning. Can’t keep anything down, so I’ll be off today.

Shouldn’t have eaten at that new joint last night, food poisoning is hitting me hard. Won’t make it today. Here’s hoping I’m back on my feet by tomorrow.

5. I’ve got a dental emergency or appointment.

A broken tooth is a solid reason to bail last minute. Dental woes garner loads of sympathy, so keep it short. Trust me, no one wants to concentrate on work with a throbbing tooth. Plus, dentist appointments can be notoriously hard to get, so your boss will likely get why you need the day off.

Guys, broke a tooth at breakfast this morning and gotta rush to the dentist.”

My dentist’s office had a cancellation and rescheduled my appointment for today, so won’t be able to make it.

Slipped on ice while heading to my car and broke a few teeth. Gotta rush for emergency dental surgery and won’t be able to come in today.

6. I’m dealing with a nasty migraine.

Migraines are brutal and can render you useless but can be one of the fake excuses to call out of work. It’s a common condition and generally elicits understanding from folks. Let your boss or manager know that it’s impossible for you to work efficiently with your “migraine”—chances are, they’ll understand and grant you the day off.

Woke up with a horrible migraine, no way I can pull through my shift. Gonna need the day off.

Have a splitting headache today, can’t even bear to look at my computer screen. I’m calling in sick.

Can’t make it tonight. This damn migraine’s been bugging me all day and doesn’t seem like it’s letting up anytime soon.

7. I’ve had a minor accident or mishap.

Let’s face it, accidents happen. Pretend you’ve sustained a minor injury that reasonably hinders your work performance.

Some typical and believable mishaps include falls, sprained ankles, cuts, and knee injuries. If you’re seeing your boss soon, feign an injury that heals quickly or isn’t visible (like a pulled muscle). Go for something that needs stitches or casts only if you work remotely.

I came down with something and need a day to bounce back.

Took a tumble during my run last night and my knee’s all swollen and painful. Gotta see a doc to get it checked out, so need the day off.

Broke a dish this morning and cut my hand pretty badly. Gotta rush to get stitches, won’t be making it to work.

9. I’ve thrown out my back.

A hurt or strained back is universally dreaded, making it a killer excuse. You can pull this one off no matter your job—whether it’s sitting at a desk or doing manual labor. If your boss knows you hit the gym regularly or you’ve got some heavy-lifting happening at home, you’ve got the perfect setup for this one.

Pulled something in my back at the gym this morning, can barely move.

Hurt my back moving some kitchen appliances for a renovation, gonna need to take a day.

Helped my kid move into her dorm yesterday and injured my back lugging around some heavy boxes. Need a day to recover.

10. I need a mental health day.

Mental health is personal, and understanding bosses won’t give you a hard time. Talk about some anxiety over an upcoming event or how you’ve been struggling to focus at work and need some time for self-care. Be mindful of your boss’s attitude—a compassionate, younger boss is more likely to get it.

The stress of prepping for my upcoming wedding is getting to me. Need a day off to recharge.

My anxiety’s been acting up this week. I’m taking a personal day to look after myself.

Don’t want to go into detail, but I’m not in the best place mentally and need some time off.

11. I’ve been exposed to Covid.

Covid is a surefire ticket out of work. It’s highly contagious and requires a few days off for quarantine and health checks. Spin a believable tale about your exposure and give a timeline for when you can safely return to work. Many have been using this as one of their fake excuses to call out of work.

Just found out I was exposed to Covid at a family gathering yesterday. No symptoms yet, but I’ll stay home till I get a negative test.

Had close contact with a confirmed Covid case last night. I’ll be staying home to quarantine.

Got exposed to Covid recently. My rapid test was negative, but I won’t be coming in today as I’m waiting on my PCR results.

Double check your company’s Covid policy before pulling this one. You might need to quarantine for a few days or even weeks.

12. I just donated blood.

Donating blood can leave you feeling weak and lightheaded because of the temporary lowering of blood pressure—it’s a pretty solid and fake excuse to miss work. And hey, it’s for a good cause, right? Just drop a hint about your plan to donate blood the day before you intend to call out. After your “appointment”, call in and say you’re feeling too woozy to come in.

I wasn’t quite anticipating this woozy sensation after my donation today. Doesn’t feel quite right for me to pop into work today.

After my blood donation this morning, I hit the floor. Gonna need a day to bounce back, you know?

The kind nurse who drew my blood suggested I stick to my couch today, as I was a bit on the wobbly side afterwards.

13. For the love of pets.

Our furry companions sure have a way of wriggling into our hearts. So when my furbaby is feeling off, I know you’ll understand. Besides, you’ve seen the cute pictures I’ve shown you in the office, right?

So here’s what happened. My cat has suddenly gone on a hunger and thirst strike and it’s giving me jitters. Had to set up an emergency vet check-up.

My dog decided the trash looked tasty and now he’s feeling pretty awful. I need to stay home today to keep an eye on him.

We had a rather eventful morning walk today. My dog decided to pick a fight with a raccoon and got a bit scratched up. I’m worried about infection so, unfortunately, we’ve got an impromptu vet appointment.

14. A bit of family drama, friends.

Family emergencies, they just happen. I know you get it, and I appreciate your understanding. Just know I wouldn’t be vague if it wasn’t sensitive, and I’ll share more when I can.

My dad took a tumble this morning and is now in need of emergency surgery. I need to be at the hospital with him, and won’t make it to work today.

Received a call from my elderly grandma this morning and she sounded quite out of sorts. I’ve got to go check up on her and won’t be coming in today.

Unexpected family emergency has come up today and I need to leave town without much notice. Really sorry for the disruption, but I won’t be able to make it today.

15. The kiddo conundrum.

Childcare is one heck of a juggle, especially when the usual support system falls through. And if you’ve got little ones of your own, you’ll get it.

Had a bit of a snag today. My nanny’s called in sick last minute and I can’t seem to find a replacement for my little girl.

My son’s school decided to end the day early and I need to go fetch him. Looks like I’ll be stepping out of the office earlier than expected.

A Covid exposure scare at my daughter’s daycare class has them all in quarantine and I couldn’t land a babysitter on such short notice.

When you play the host.

Unanticipated visitors can sometimes mean time off work, especially if you’re the one playing tour guide or airport taxi. Trust me, if I could’ve given you a heads up, I would’ve.

Just so you know, unexpected guests dropped by and I’ve got to play host and entertainer. Or else, I wouldn’t dream of asking time off.

Someone from out of town decided to surprise visit and their flight coincides with work hours. Looks like I’m playing chauffeur today.

Let’s just say unexpected visitors have popped in and the timing’s a bit off. My apologies for not bringing this up earlier.

Mom’s decided to spring a surprise visit tomorrow. It’s been a hot minute since we’ve caught up in person, pre-pandemic actually. So, I’m going to need to take the day off.

In other news, my brother’s flying into town, a bit of an unforeseen personal emergency on his end. Looks like I’m the designated O’Hare chauffeur, so I’ll be needing some time off.

Oh, and guess what? My sister’s civic duty called and she got roped into jury duty. Which means, I’m on uncle duty all day tomorrow babysitting my little nephew. Looks like it’s a day off for me.

16. Home, sweet home…well, maybe not so sweet right now.

You know how the most unexpected house issues pop up at the worst times, right? Be it a power outage, a mini indoor pool in the basement, or a tree deciding to nap on your roof, they sure know how to ruin your day. Here’s hoping the boss understands, too.

Seems like the storm last night decided to transform my basement into a swimming pool. Damage control and calling in the repair brigade means I’ve got to stay home today.

Talk about a stairway to nowhere, the stairs on my back porch collapsed. The carpenter’s only slot is during my work shift today, so guess I’ll need to take a leave.

Plumbing woes, amirite? A pipe in my kitchen decided to burst its bubble, quite literally. Had to call an emergency plumber and won’t be able to make it into work today.

17. The package dilemma.

With almost 1.7 million packages disappearing daily in the U.S., one can’t be too careful, especially when expecting something valuable or sentimental. So, bear with me while I wait for these deliveries.

A shiny, new oven is en route and I need to be there for its grand arrival and installation tomorrow. I’ll be needing the day off.

My dear relative has decided to send an important package my way and the delivery window spans the whole day. So, no work for me tomorrow.

The new couch has decided to arrive earlier than anticipated. I need to be there to welcome it home, so I’ll need this afternoon off.

18. The car saga.

Car trouble is a real troublemaker when you’re dependent on it for work. Now, this one’s a no-go if you’re in a city with good public transport, but for others, it’s a golden ticket.

My car seems to have taken a day off and refuses to start. Looks like I won’t be able to make it to work until it’s up and running again.

Just my luck, a flat tire on the way to work this morning. Off to the car repair shop I go, which means I won’t be coming in today.

The car decided to give me a smoky surprise under the hood. Off to the mechanic it goes, and looks like it’ll be there all day. Day off it is for me, too.

19. The locked-out adventure.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Locked out of the house or car, waiting for rescue in the form of a spouse, roommate, or locksmith. Sounds fun, except it’s not.

But remember, use this fake excuse to call out of work sparingly. It’s got to remain believable, right?

I left my keys in the car this morning while it was warming up. Now, I’m stuck twiddling my thumbs until my better half comes home with the spares.

Yup, I goofed up big time. Got myself locked out of the apartment while my roomie is on a trip. The locksmith’s giving me a date only in the afternoon, which means I’ll be missing a day’s work. Not my best day, huh?

Lost my keys! Now, I’m in my gym gear with no way to get in and change for my shift. I’m on standby until my boyfriend can get home and do the whole key-copy thing.

As for taking time off for religious holidays, it’s all about communication, guys. Be sure you give your boss a heads-up. Don’t pull a fast one like trying to observe Rosh Hashanah if everyone knows you’re not Jewish.

Just a heads-up, I won’t be in tomorrow. I’m observing Yom Kippur.

I need to let you know, I won’t be able to come in this Friday. It’s Diwali and I’ll be observing it.

I should probably mention this, but during Ramadan, I have restrictions about working on Fridays. So, I’ll be taking off early tomorrow.

SHARE this update with others

Leave a Reply