Best reason for emergency leave (3+list)

In this guide, we will discuss “the best reason for emergency leave”, some of the worst reasons and tips on how to request emergency leave.

Best reason for emergency leave

Here are some of the best reasons for emergency leave:

  • Feeling unwell/sick 
  • A house emergency such as a broken boiler or a flooded bathroom.
  • A family emergency such as having a relative in the hospital, an accident or a deteriorating health condition.
  • The death of someone you love.

We all have faced the time off situation that requires to take some time off, but sometimes it may not be a valid or good reason for our employer.

For instance, if you get a call for an interview from that job you have been waiting to hear from or you just recently broke up with your partner.

Telling your boss may not be an option, and it may actually end up hurting your career. We just mentioned a few of the excuses or reasons for emergency leave but we will also discuss bad excuses and funny ones. 

If we think about what makes an excuse ‘good’, we would actually have to use our common sense.

However, some people may try to use excuses as a habit to keep skipping work constantly there will be a time where they either lose their jobs or simply run out of excuses.

For instance, if you call in sick every 2 weeks (just because you were partying late at night, had too much to drink and now you are dealing with the consequences), your employer may start to investigate a bit deeper and suspect this behavioral pattern and may decide to act on it.

Moreover, we could mention some other good excuses such as having financial planner, accountant or a lawyer appointment, babysitter problems, delivery of appliances or other major purchase, medical tests or medical procedures, having a migraine, the school is closed, a new baby in the family, etc.

What makes a ‘good’ excuse?

So let’s start by saying all good excuses can be considered as genuine and honest.

For instance, you may not have a life-threatening condition if you have the flu but it is good enough to want to go home and take the rest of the day off to get better. 

In addition, a good excuse is also believable.

Your employer is more likely to accept and believe what you are telling is the truth if what you are saying does not resemble a scene from a horror movie.

Here we will talk more in-depth about the best reason for emergency leave we have mentioned earlier.

Feeling unwell/sick

If you are feeling unwell or you are sick with the flu or a stomach bug, tell your boss (or someone you trust at work).

Everyone at work can actually see if you are feeling unwell or sick so it is sufficient and believable enough. Check the policy with a colleague, your HR department or directly with your boss.

A house emergency

This is one of the less believable reasons unless you have proof. Pictures or videos about your bathroom flooding or your broken boiler.

It can happen as well that your house could have some structural damage or might be infested.

These things don’t tend to happen all the time and if you haven’t used it before then it can help you get some time off work (especially if you have proof about it).

Your employer will have to understand this is something unusual and grant you permission to go home and take care of it.

A family emergency

This is a very common, yet powerful reason to ask for emergency leave.

If you have kids then it is normal they could get sick or require extra attention, also if your spouse or your parents have a serious health problem or have been in an accident. 

However, this not meant to be used to make your child sick every week or some other relative since it could get you in a lot of trouble.

Remember good reasons are meant to be honest, genuine and believable.

Death of a loved one

We are not exempt from this kind of situation ever happening to us.

I vividly remember getting a call where my grandma was very sick and she didn’t have much time left so the family was reunited around her bed to say goodbye.

I was working at the time so I had to get the courage to tell my boss my grandma was dying.

They didn’t ask many questions and they said I could take the rest of the day off (paying back for the time of course) and then that afternoon she passed away.

For my employer, it started as an emergency leave and then it turned into a 5 day ‘morning period’ the company paid for after showing evidence of the death certificate.

Make sure, if you’ll ever use this excuse, to be true since they may ask you for proof.

However, the word loved one is not only referring to relatives. We could also be talking about a best friend or a really close friend you lost contact with recently.

Check your company policies because they may vary in terms of who is this type of ‘emergency leave’ extended to (e.g. only relatives).

What is a bad excuse?

You can probably make a list of some really bad excuses, those you wouldn’t even believe yourself.

These types of excuses are very common and easy to think of when we let our imagination and desperation meet. 

As mentioned by ‘Cleverism’, “Some of the worst reasons for skipping work are the actual truths.

But the truth is sometimes ugly and you’d be better off using one of the above excuses then blasting out one of the ‘truths’ from below.”

So, what are the common factors around bad excuses? Well, first of all, they are lazy. They become pretty lazy (and lame) because we don’t even think we have to try that hard or even feel guilty for missing work.

In addition, they are hazy and sometimes it even creates more confusion (with a bunch of unanswered questions) because you are not even having a straight storyline.

This is why you would like to avoid using any of the following excuses if you want to keep having a good relationship with your boss and stay at your current job.

Someone’s death  

As we have mentioned this is one of the good excuses but when it is not a fake death. One thing is to say your mom is sick (every now and then) but another is to say she died.

We all know stories of a co-worker that has used the same excuse (the death of the same relative) as emergency leave and to remain absent from work for the following days.

Try to think about something else instead of killing someone from your family (even if it is fake) over and over again.

The lie may catch up with you and backfire, leaving you without a job.

Feeling tired/Being hungover

Yes, it is a pretty lame and unprofessional type of excuse. Some people will not even hesitate in telling their boss they are too hungover to work and they expect it to be considered an ‘emergency’.

The truth is that if you go to work with a hungover, it may even mean a lot of trouble to you since there are some strict company policies regarding an employee going to work intoxicated. 

Also, feeling tired because you had a crazy night and slept just a few hours is also not a good reason to miss work.

Think about it next time you decide to stay up late during workdays.

The pressure cooker exploded

This is one of the bad and craziest (even if it is a possibility it may happen to you).

Telling your boss the pressure cooker had exploded and scared your sister and that is why you need to go home immediately to be with her is just a very bad and lame excuse to get off work early, not believable at all. 

You ate cat food instead of tuna

Alright, everyone can make a mistake from time to time but you really had to have a huge lack of attention when getting the ‘tuna’ into your plate (not reading the can or seeing the cat in the image) and taking a bite without even spitting it out when feeling its taste.

No one will buy that, honestly. 

How can I write a good excuse note or email?

Here are some quick tips, you would like to consider when writing a good excuse note or email due to emergency leave.

  • Keep your email or note brief and as professional as possible.
  • Mention the reason why you need to leave early and when you will be available.
  • Have a discussion with your line manager as soon as possible and make sure to write a note following up on the conversation. 

Personal Emergency Leave Reasons

Here are some of the best personal emergency leave reasons:

  • Needing to take care of the house
  • Going through a medical procedure
  • Dealing with an interpersonal problem
  • Having a mental health crisis
  • A family member having a mental health crisis
  • Religious Reasons

Personal emergency leave reasons almost always revolve around situations that specifically pertain to you and therefore cannot be questioned or denied as long as the leave is short term or preferably one day, and therefore these reasons are usually allowed in the workplace.

Many personal emergency leave reasons involve Religious reasons, which are especially high regard and most employers will not get in the way of these.

If a personal emergency leave reason involves a religious obligation like an upcoming holiday, you may not be able to take an emergency leave, unless you did not know about them or miscalculated the day in some way.

If the latter applies to you, you may still be able to take a personal emergency leave for this reason after you let the employer know that you need to be with family and observe the event with the due importance. 

Another case in which religious things can count for good personal emergency leave reasons might be when you need to take time for the preparation of an upcoming event, in which case you should let the employer know about this accordingly.

Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice

Below are some good reasons to miss work on short notice:

  • Experiencing car trouble.
  • Too much traffic on the way.
  • You had an accident on the way to work.
  • Inability to find appropriate measures of childcare.
  • Your child is ill.
  • Some issues with your home you need to tackle.
  • Your pet is sick or has an appointment. 
  • Being locked out of your house.
  • You have a medical appointment that got changed and cannot be missed or rescheduled.
  • Expecting a major delivery for your house.
  • Having unexpected visitors.
  • You’re donating blood.
  • You are suffering from food poisoning.
  • Your back or other muscles or body parts are sore. 
  • Needing to deal with a home emergency.
  • Needing to go to a workshop or class related to work.
  • A work client fixed a meeting you can’t avoid.
  • Observing a religious holiday.
  • You have to prepare for a religious holiday
  • You have a toothache or need to go to the dentist.
  • You are experiencing side effects to a procedure you had done or to medications.

The most important thing to remember for any good reason to miss work on short notice is that it needs to be true, because otherwise you may be setting yourself up for losing credibility if you are found out, and your reasons in the future may not be believed even if they are good reasons to miss work on short notice.

There are also some instances in which you have legally sound good reasons to miss work on short notice which are enumerated in the Family and Medical Leave Act, and these include inadequate childcare too, especially in cases where your child is an infant and you are still in the postpartum period, you may be entitled to taking time off without having to explain why.

Many good reasons to miss work on short notice may not apply because of the COVID-19 pandemic pushing all work things into a work from home basis, so here some good reasons to miss work with short notice in a work from home situation:

  • You have to take some time off for a religious ritual
  • Your pet is sick
  • You need to see a dentist/other medical appointment.
  • You need to attend to your home
  • You are sick
  • Someone in your family is sick
  • You need to fix your electronic equipment.

Good Excuses to Call Off Work Last Minute

Below are some good excuses to call off work last minute:

  • If you are experiencing stress and anxiety from work.
  • Needing to see a dentist immediately.
  • Someone in your family is Sick.
  • You need to take care of your child.
  • Needing to take a Mental Health Day. 
  • Illness that you didn’t foresee or acute illness at the last minute. 
  • Sudden Doctor’s Appointment that cannot be rescheduled. 
  • Pet falling ill suddenly.
  • Something home related that needs to be attended to immediately.
  • You are experiencing transportation problems.
  • You have to take part in a religious ceremony.
  • Death of someone in the family
  • Helping a friend out.
  • Family Emergency. 

Whatever your good excuse to call out of work last minute might be, you need to ensure  that it is only for a leave that is short term or maybe even a day long, because if it goes beyond that you may need to go about it in more formal ways because these may usually require a letter and appropriate permissions from your employer.

Most good excuses to call out of work last minute revolve around illness or short term problems that resolve in a day or at the most two.

If you want to know whether your situation constitutes a good excuse to call out of work last minute, you can check the following criteria:

  • Is it a plausible scenario or does it seem too far fetched?
  • Do you think your boss will be understanding about this reason?
  • If the reason is false, would giving the real reason mean that you don’t get the time off?
  • Does it sound unnecessarily convoluted and complicated?
  • Have you used this reason frequently or does this thing happen to you often?

If your seemingly good excuse to call out of work last minute sounds like something that is false or too complicated or downright unthinkable, it may not be a good excuse at all, and you should reconsider why you really want to call out of work, and why that might not be a good excuse instead.

If going to work is filling you with dread and anxiety and making you look for good excuses to call out of work last minute every so often, you might want to consider a career change or a longer leave of absence instead of calling out of work every so often and putting more stress on yourself to make up for work you keep missing.

Good Family Emergency Excuses

Some good family emergency excuses may include the following:

  • Family member being sick 
  • Needing to take time off for childcare
  • Needing to visit a family member in an emergency
  • Family member having an emergency medical appointment
  • Needing to attend to a family pet
  • Needing to travel with a family member in an emergency
  • Death of a family member
  • Family member having an emergency mental health issue

You can provide any valid and good family emergency excuse when you need to attend to any unforeseen personal or family events and your boss is not allowed to ask abut them or refuse to let you have an adequate amount of time off, and unless you need to take too long a time off, you can give this as a reason for an emergency leave. 

Good family emergency excuses might also be considered when you need to fulfill the role of parent or caregiver in your family, and in these cases it is entirely likely that your boss will understand your need to stay home, and even if they don’t, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows you to do this regardless of your employer’s feelings on the mater.

A good family emergency excuse may consist of anything from a family member’s illnesses or  injuries, to other sudden family matters that require urgent attention.

However, it may not be wise to use any good family emergency excuses if your familial commitments call for a flexible schedule on a more long-term or daily basis, and in these cases you may want to discuss alternate possible work arrangements with your employer for maintaining the balance between work and family responsibilities. 

Furthermore, if you have a situation in your family that makes emergencies common then that should be addressed with the employer as well so you don’t have to keep making family emergency excuses, no matter how good they are, to leave your work life in the balance while you take care of these emergencies.

Even if you have a good family emergency excuse, make sure that you update your employer in person or on the call, and tell them when you might be able to resume your normal work schedule.

Why is this blog about ‘best reason for emergency leave’ important?

We have reviewed some of the best reasons for emergency leave as well as some of the bad ones.

We understand sometimes we just need a break from work and we think about making any type of excuse just to get out.

Remember that having too many excuses can send the signal to your employer that you don’t actually want to be working for them anymore. 

Also, remember to let your employer know as soon as you find out about the emergency and send a note following up on the conversation, make sure you are honest and believable since it is probable your employer knows most of the excuses out there and can even know when an employee is lying. 

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the best reason for emergency leave

What is a good excuse to miss work?

Good excuses to miss work should be real and genuine.

If you have to miss work because you are sick or you need half-day off because you have a family emergency or something else that really requires your attention, make sure to talk to your line manager/supervisor to discuss it.

Remember that just feeling a bit tired, having a minor cough or just not wanting to go to work are not good excuses to miss work.

What are the reasons to take leave?

Here are 7 (justifiable) reasons to take leave:

– Family commitments or emergency.

– Taking care of your health or a relative’s health condition.

– Taking advantage of good weather.

– If you are feeling stress is too overwhelming.

– You keep pushing your vacation time.

– You have to take care of your home (e.g. leaking pipe, flooding, etc.)

– You feel like you can’t concentrate anymore or perform at your best.

How do I ask my boss for emergency leave?

If you want to ask your boss for emergency leave consider:

– Reviewing your company policies.

– Mention the exact start date and when you are expected to return.

– Delegate responsibilities properly.

– Include a subject line.

– Be honest, clear and concise.

– Explain the reason why but don’t be too detailed.

– Keep a professional and polite tone.

What are good family emergency excuses?

Family emergency excuses involve the death of a relative or a deteriorating health condition from a family member who needs you to take care of them Also, it could happen that your husband or one of your kid’s needs someone to look after them because they are sick, have a long-term health condition or are in the hospital due to an accident or an emergency surgery.

How do I excuse myself at work?

If you need to excuse yourself from work or leave early make sure you have a discussion with your boss.

If you need to be absent from work because you have been feeling unwell or you have a house emergency such as a broken boiler or a flooded bathroom.

Make sure to inform your employer as soon as possible.

In addition, you could be having a family emergency such as having a sick relative or someone having an accident.


Luenendonk, M. (2018, Feb.) 12 Excuses for Missing Work. Retrieved from

Doyle, A. (2019, Dec.) Excuses for Missing Work (Good and Bad Reasons). Retrieved from

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