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7 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice

From needing to pick up your child from school immediately to receiving a call that a loved one is in the hospital, here are seven answers to the question, “What are good excuses to miss work on short notice?”

  • Sick Kiddos
  • Migraines
  • Your Mental Health
  • Burglary
  • Food Poisoning
  • Painful Toothache
  • Family Emergency

Sick Kiddos

If you’re a parent, you know that missing work on brief notice is sometimes necessary. Kiddos may wake up sick and need to stay home from daycare or school unexpectedly. 

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As the parent, you’re not left with much of a choice. Or, you may be in the middle of work and get a call from daycare or school that your child is sick and needs to be picked up immediately. I think this has likely happened to every working parent!


Kelli Anderson

Career Coach, Resume Seed

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle


These are more than just a headache and can cause other physical issues, such as trouble hearing, seeing, or even concentrating.

migraine - good excuses to miss work on short notice

Looking at a computer screen and interacting with colleagues will only make it worse. Do yourself a favor and call out.

Your Mental Health

If you are feeling overwhelmed and like your mental health is suffering, it is important to acknowledge this and take time to rest and reflect.

Of course, we can’t do this every day, but we have to be aware and encourage a workforce that is taking care of themselves. 

Whether you need to go for a long walk, turn your cell phone off, call a good friend, or just simply rest, unplug, and really take the day to not be engaged in the busyness of work or modern society.

Alison Hamar - Terkel

Alison Hamar

Education Consultant, Transizion


Missing work on short notice because of burglary of one’s home or vehicle is one valid reason.

If one is unfortunate enough to fall victim to a home invasion or have their car broken into, there is a definite need to get the police involved and file a report with them.

This can often be a timely endeavor that adds to dealing with the immediate trauma of the situation.

Alexandre Robicquet

Co-Founder and CEO, Crossing Minds

Food Poisoning

I’ve seen some pretty creative excuses for missing work on short notice. If you’re out of ideas, there’s nothing quite like the tried and true “food poisoning.”

Now, before you worry about the moral implications of fibbing to your boss, hear me out. Food poisoning is a legitimate and common ailment that can strike, leaving you feeling absolutely miserable.

Upset stomach

And the best part? There’s no need to fumble for an excuse—simply call in and let your boss know you won’t be able to make it in because of some serious gastrointestinal distress.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not overusing this excuse (after all, if you’re calling in sick every other week with “food poisoning,” your boss is bound to get suspicious).

But in a pinch, it’s the perfect excuse—just take care of yourself and rest up properly so that you can return to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!

Basana Saha

Founder and Editor, KidsCareIdeas

Painful Toothache

One morning, I had a fever and a headache that felt like it was pounding. I knew I couldn’t make it to work, but I also had an extensive project due that day. I needed a good excuse to miss work on short notice, and I went with a dental emergency.

I called my boss and explained that I had a severe toothache and needed to see a dentist urgently. I apologized for the short notice and promised to make up for the missed work as soon as possible. My boss was understanding and wished me a speedy recovery.


To make my excuse more convincing, I made a quick appointment with a dentist and got a note to show my boss. This showed my commitment to resolving the issue and made my excuse more legitimate.

I never encourage lying. Here, my excuse served the purpose of getting me out of a tight spot. It is essential to use this only as a last resort, and my boss appreciated my honesty and sincerity in handling the situation.

Family Emergency

One good excuse to miss work on short notice is if there is a medical emergency involving a family member or close friend.

For instance, if someone you care about needs urgent surgery and you list yourself as their emergency contact, your employer would likely understand why you need to miss work for the operation.

While this situation may not come up often, it warrants reasonable time off from the job‌.