Sometimes life gets in the way of work and we need to call in to miss work at a moments notice. I don’t think you should feel bad about this either as long as you don’t do it too frequently. After all, life has a funny way of throwing a wrench in our plans.

I for instance had a medical emergency last month that I didn’t expect to miss out on work for a few days. I was asked by the doctor to rest extensively so that the hospital staff could better observe/diagnose what was happening to me. I had no choice but to excuse myself and adhere to the doctor’s orders.

The following is a list of some of the situations you may find yourself in. I share a list of legitimate excuses you can use in each scenario to get out of work for a day or even a week if needed.

Legitimate Excuses for Missing Work

Family emergency

I have to bring my mom to the hospital for a checkup. My sister canceled on her leaving me as her only other option for a ride to the doctor.


Boss, I am currently suffering from a terrible migraine and won’t be able to come in today for work. I’ll come back as soon as I get well and will provide a status update tomorrow morning.

Sick with covid

Good morning. My ongoing runny nose and fever turned out to be more than I thought. I tested positive for covid in a local hospital and was advised by the doctors to isolate and rest for for a few days so I don’t expose my coworkers. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to come in for a few days until I get better and test negative for the virus. I plan to work from home the rest of the week.

prevent drug use

Sometimes you just need to call in.

Car broke down

As I was on my way back home earlier, my car suddenly broke down and I had to bring it to a repair shop immediately. The diagnosis is a dead battery and I expect to be able to return to work tomorrow at the usual start time.

Child is sick

My son missed out on school today due to flu-like symptoms. I was hoping to attend to him and make sure he gets well soon. Unfortunately, my partner also works outside the home and won’t be able to make it.

Child has a play or performance at school

My daughter will play Maid Marian in their school’s rendition of Robin Hood this coming Friday. I may have to accompany her and drive her to the play as my wife would be out of town for work.

Pet has doctor appointment

I’ve told you about Parsley right?! He’s not been noticing his food since yesterday, I think he’s been having stomach issues lately and I need to take him to the vet. I’m hoping it’s nothing major and expect to return to the office tomorrow.

Waiting for a package

I have an important package coming in today that needs my signature in order to be delivered successfully. I’m getting the new iPhone 14 delivered and must be at home to sign for it.

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Need to sign a document

I won’t be able to come in tomorrow for work because an important property sale needs my signature on the paper to commence. If I miss this signing I won’t be able to purchase my first home.

Donating time to charity

Hi Ma’am, I apologize but I won’t be able to be in today for work. Some friends and I are scheduled to visit a local charity today for the benefit of the victims of Hurricane Ian. Thank you so much for giving us the time to give back to the community.

Natural disaster

I don’t know if you have heard on the news, but Soda Springs has been experiencing record snowfall the past couple of days. I won’t be able to report for work today since our driveway has also been blocked by one and a half feet of snow. I plan to work from home the next couple days.


Hi Greg, I’m afraid I won’t be able to come in for work today, I got into an accident after exiting interstate 95, and my car was heavily damaged. The paramedics are attending to me right now and hopefully there is no serious health issue. I’ll keep you updated on my status, but I expect to be out the rest of the week.

Special occasion

I’m afraid I won’t be able to report to work today. I was suddenly invited and substituted as the best man at my friend’s wedding. Apparently, his brother had a work emergency and had to excuse himself from this important celebration. I apologize for the short notice.


A close friend died this morning and I’m afraid I won’t be able to come in today. Therese has been a family friend for over 30 years and we plan to go to their house to console her family and help plan the funeral.

Text Messages to Missing Work

Will the boss believe this?

Trevor, I’m having a problem at home right now. Am I permitted to take the day off? If this weren’t an urgent situation, I wouldn’t ask.

Hello, I wouldn’t be asking if you didn’t need to. However, I’m not feeling well today. May I take a day off for mental health?

Hi Carol – I’m starting to feel really exhausted. Can I skip work today and make up for it tomorrow?

Hello Jean, I’m feeling under the weather today and don’t think I’ll be able to finish my task efficiently. I’ll have to skip work today and return as soon as I feel better.

Ben, I apologize but I need to take the day off because I’m not feeling well. I’ll be returning to work tomorrow.

Hello Laura, I need a day off today because I started feeling sick last night and haven’t gotten any better lately.

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HR: My doctor has advised that I take the day off because I have a cold. I’ll be returning to work by tomorrow.

Hello. Please excuse me from work today. The doctor I saw confirmed that I have the flu.

Hello Sandy, I need to take the day off because I’m terribly ill. I’m hoping to feel good tomorrow so I can go back to work.

Hi, Mike. Due to an unforeseen sickness, I won’t be able to come in today or tomorrow. It literally hit me like a ton of bricks.

Hi Dan, I may not be able to come in today. It rained so hard last night, water came into our house and flooded the ground floor. We have to take care of this right now to save the basement.

Sir, my apologies but I won’t be able to make it to work today, overnight snow has frozen shut my garage making me unable to access my vehicle

Good morning Neal, I suffered a sprain yesterday while cleaning our house. It would be difficult for me to walk and report for work today. I’ll rest my ankle so I can report back to work tomorrow.

Hi Dale, rolling out our newest project has made this week so much stress that I suffered a migraine. I guess going to work today won’t make me efficient and hopefully tomorrow things get better.

Email Message Examples for Missing Work

woman at work

I can’t do this today.

As a general rule of thumb, I don’t suggest being too detailed into the reason you need to take a day or two away from work. Every day employees call into workplaces to let them know they’ll be sick or out of the office. As long as your not going on long-term leave and aren’t on a performance improvement plan of some sort, keep the message short and to the point like each of the examples I’ve written below.

Hello Ben, sorry for my late text, but I will need to take tomorrow off due to an unforeseen sickness. I’ve gotten in touch with Nick, who can take over for me during my absence. I’m hoping to feel better and be able to go to work tomorrow.

Hello Joel, I apologize for the hurried text message, as I’m not feeling well and won’t be coming in today. Nothing urgent is scheduled for me today. Anyone who contacts me will receive a message from me in my email.

Hello Maggie! I must take a sick day today, but I’ll try to check my inbox frequently to keep track of any tasks that need to be done right away. I’ll leave a message for others in the meanwhile, and probably I’ll be back tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.

Hello Jason, I’m feeling sick and concerned that I might be getting sick, so I’m heading to the doctor. Dan is willing to fill in for me because I won’t be able to work today.

Hello Tom, I suppose I should take the day off. I’ve scheduled an appointment with the doctor since I don’t feel good. Though I’m crossing my fingers, I’ll keep you updated.

Related Reading: 137+ Funny Quotes about Stress at Work to Survive the Week

I’ll not be able to report for work today due to a key issue, causing me to take the day off for personal reasons. Please advise me if that’s feasible and if you require any other details.

Please consider this letter as official notice that I was forced to miss work yesterday due to a crisis. All of the tasks that were scheduled for this time period have already been performed, and I was reachable through phone and email at all times. If I can offer any other information, kindly let me know.

As a result of my illness, I will have to take today off in order to rest and visit the doctor. I’m hoping to feel better by tomorrow, but after my checkup, I’ll let you know how I’m doing. Craig has volunteered to take over my shift for the day in the meanwhile. I’m grateful for your patience.

I won’t be able to work tomorrow because of a personal illness. I’m going to use one of my paid sick days to recuperate and rest. I intend to frequently check my inbox over the day, but I’ll notify you immediately if things get worse and I have to completely disconnect. I’m sending an email to Jane to ask her to lead the daily check-in session I organized with the group and to assist cover for me.

Greetings Dave! I apologize but I guess I have to take a day off today. I have an urgent meeting with my agent pertaining to a property I intend to move in to so I’ll be living closer to the company. I asked Shane to cover for me in the meantime until I come back tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Good morning sir, I would just like to inform you that I wouldn’t be able to come in for work today. An emergency meeting was called up by our lawyers regarding our dispute with our gas provider. This will just take today and I’ll be back to work by tomorrow.

Hi Fred, due to unforeseen events, I’m afraid I won’t be able to come in for work today. The inside gutter portion of our roof gave way due to the heavy snowstorm last night. I already called up a resident carpenter to fix our roof today. I’ll be reporting back to work tomorrow first thing in the morning.

I hope you’re having a great day so far Mark. I think I won’t be coming in for work today. The local police have an update pertaining to the break-in that happened in our house last week. They think it would be helpful if we can identify persons of interest regarding this case. Hoping for your kind consideration.

Are there any bad excuses you should avoid using when calling into work?

messages for coworker

Don’t use these excuses.

Certainly, not all intentions can be considered as an excuse for missing out on work. These are personal things that give you enjoyment and comfort and definitely not a reason for you to miss out on work.

These personal reasons include, but aren’t limited to the following terrible excuses you should never use.

  • Hangover from the night before.
  • Wanting to watch a soccer game on television.
  • Working at a second job instead.
  • Stating that you just feel lazy today.

Finally, never be disrespectful towards your manager and in a broader sense, when writing an email or text stating you’ll miss work. Missing too many days at work does not only affect your standing and performance in the company, it could have an impact on raises and other merit increases.

How often is it acceptable to miss work on short notice?

Even the employees with exceptional attendance will need to miss a day or work due to sickness or other unexpected event. Refer to your companies employee handbook for the acceptable number of days you may be able to miss annually due to sickness or personal issues. Every workplace is a little bit different.

A lot of employers set 14 – 21 days of vacation leave which includes emergency/personal leave for the whole year. Often, an additional 5 – 10 days will be allotted for sick leave. As long as you don’t reach or exceed the number of annual sick days an employee can use, you should remain in good standing with your employer and manager assuming you’ve met expectations for your role.

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