Sometimes putting in your full eight hours feels like a tall order. While flexible scheduling options are getting more popular, not all companies are on board with the idea of employees just coming and going (or logging on and logging off) as they please.
But remote, hybrid, and fully in-person employees may occasionally need a reason to duck out of the workplace before their full eight (or more) hours are up. We wanted to know what others in this position had done, so we put the call out to our list of contributors asking for good excuses to leave work early. Their 30 suggestions range from excuses miss work on short notice to excuses that discourage questions (including bodily issues large and small), and excuses that can, if delivered correctly, make you look like a better employee.
Last-Minute Excuses To Leave Work Early
- Back pain
- Car maintenance
- Gotta pick up the kids
- Hazardous weather
- Home maintenance & upkeep
- I’ll explain tomorrow
- I have to see the doctor
- I must face my landlord
- Leaking pipes
- Porch pirate prevention
Reasons That Discourage Questions
- Abdominal issues
- Family emergency
- I came in early, so I’m leaving early
- I have a migraine
- I’m dizzy…and nauseated
- I’m getting married
- My sciatica is flaring up
- Sick family member
- Someone died
- Taking care of my pet
- Unexplained illness (stomach flu edition)
Professional-Sounding Excuses For Leaving Work
- Adjusting my hours to maximize productivity
- Appointment with a career counselor
- Attending a career development event
- Computer issues
- Internet issues
- I’ve got school
- Volunteering at an important event
30 Excuses For Leaving Work Early (Full List)
Feel compelled to provide more details with your explanation? The responses below are ready to go.
If your stomach is bothering you, I don’t think your boss would want you to keep working. Imagine if it were a very contagious gastrointestinal disorder and you were in the middle of a crowd. Your superiors probably don’t want an epidemic at work. What if your job involves serving food? You could be risking others. It’s better for your employers to deal with only one absence (yours). It’s the perfect justification for cutting out early from work.
— Zephyr Chan of Living the Good Life
Adjusting my hours to maximize productivity
If you work in a high-stress, difficult work environment, it might be smart to leave work early some days to mentally recharge. If you can leave a few hours earlier on a Wednesday to get home and rest up, you might be able to be even more effective when Thursday morning rolls around.
— Brent Thurman of Keystone Insurance
Appointment with a career counselor
I have an appointment with a career counselor to discuss my future plans and career options. It is important to understand the options available to me, so I need to leave work early to attend the appointment.
— Liam John of One Lucky Couple
Attending a career development event
One unique excuse to leave work early could be to attend a career development event such as a networking seminar or a professional conference. This type of event could help with future job prospects and could be used as a valid excuse for leaving work early.
— Haris Bacic of PriceListo
The discomfort in one’s back is a typical reason for people to seek medical attention or take time off from work. Back pain can have catastrophic consequences if left untreated.
— Mathew Bowley of Solmar Villas
If you need to drop off your vehicle for maintenance, you must do so during business hours. Tell your boss you’ll finish some work before dropping off the car at three o’clock. It shows commitment — just don’t use it too often.
— Jeremy Dawes of Jezweb
My professional opinion is that working from home presents its own unique hurdles, one of which is computer problems. Depending on the difficulties, you may have to wait a day or more for a new computer to be delivered to your home. Ensure that you have rebooted your computer prior to contacting the help desk or your supervisor, who may ask if you’ve performed these or other procedures, such as restarting the computer, before calling for assistance.
— Kenny Kline of Barbend
If you want to provide a very vague excuse, you can explain that you must respond to a family emergency and leave it at that. There is no further explanation in this excuse as long as you sound genuine. Most bosses would accept this excuse once a year without raising an eyebrow as long as you don’t have a history of being absent or asking for too much time off.
— Jennifer Curtis of shecookssheeats.co.uk
Gotta pick up the kids
While you don’t necessarily want to take advantage of it, your kids needing to be picked up from anywhere, for any reason, is always the best excuse to leave work early. Employers have a hard time arguing with that reason to leave. Unless it’s the fifth time in as many days that you’ve had “an appointment” for your kid. Then you might catch some pushback.
— Amy Weiher of Weiher Creative
We can’t control the weather, and some drivers are better used to driving in adverse weather circumstances than others. Sometimes a business will close if snow or ice is predicted, and sometimes not. It is up to the employee to judge whether driving is safe.
— Tom Miller of Fitness Volt
I came in early, so I’m leaving early
I’ve found that if I arrive early and focus on my work in the morning, I can often get more done before lunchtime than if I arrived later. As a result, I often leave earlier in the day, but I still end up doing all of my work. I’m just working more efficiently by utilizing the time I have in the morning and getting ahead of the curve. Explaining to your boss that you are able to get more done earlier in the day if you come in before everyone else can be a good excuse to by explaining your modus operandi.
— Dan Troha of Trivia Bliss
I’ll explain tomorrow
If you have a supervisor that wants to grill you when you want to leave, but you just want to get out the front door, you can tell him or her that you have an emergency as you run out…and keep your fingers crossed that they forget about it. If they don’t forget? Say something like, “I’m sorry, it’s personal, and I feel uncomfortable talking about it.”
— AJ Silberman-Moffitt of Tandem
I have a migraine
Personally, I think a severe migraine is one of the best excuses to leave early. To say no to someone who has a splitting headache would be cruel. For added effect, say that you are having trouble concentrating because of the bright lights and loud noises. These are well-documented aggravating factors for migraines.
— Timothy Allen of Corporate Investigation Consulting
I have to see the doctor
For the most believable excuse to miss work, I would go with a doctor’s appointment. It’s not something that is too obvious and can easily be verified by your employer (if they choose to). This is also a good excuse because it is plausible and can be used in many situations.
— Nina Neuschuetz of BOSTONtec
I have stuff to do during business hours
To be honest, I think this is a problem faced by many who work regular hours. Many government and public offices are only open during standard business hours. It might be difficult for full-time workers to take time off to meet with a mortgage lender or visit a car dealer. To get these things done, it’s occasionally necessary to leave a little early. However, you shouldn’t make this a regular occurrence.
— Adam Wood of RevenueGeeks
I’m dizzy…and nauseated
In order to sneak out of work early without raising any eyebrows, all you need is a stomachache and some bathroom issues. Simply explain to your manager that you have to leave early so you can go to the bathroom, and you will likely be excused.
— Shakzod Khabibov of Natura Market
I’m getting internet installed/upgraded/repaired
This one shows up on our list of the best reasons to work from home, too.
Understandably, you’d need to leave work early to deal with internet and cable installation. Network installation often takes place during business hours, so you’ll need to be at home. Don’t try to pull a fast one on your supervisor by asking to leave early from work; let him or her know a few days in advance.
— Tyler Seeger of Retirement Being
I’m getting married
The day of the couple’s wedding is the most significant day of their lives. It is reasonable to expect that you will need time to prepare for this major event. It’s fine to ask for time off, but you should let your manager know a few days in advance so you can make plans to get everything done at work. Never invent an excuse; this one must be used honestly and only when it applies.
— Sai Blackbyrn of Coach Foundation
I must face my landlord
You can say that they are complaining about your dog being rowdy, and something must be wrong, so you must check it. Or maybe they’re afraid a pipe on the property burst. You can come back the next day saying it was a false alarm.
— Zachary Colman of Creatitive
I’ve got school
If your work really cares about your success as an employee, then any chance you have to develop your skills should be taken seriously. If you signed up for online or in-person classes for skill development, or even for a hobby like learning a new language, then you should be able to leave work early to attend. These skills can be invaluable for some businesses, and if they want their employees to have expertise in multiple areas, then they shouldn’t be too concerned about them leaving work early.
— Daniel Climans of StickerYou
“My neighbor called and told me that my pipes broke.” This one is risky because so many people use it. In reality, you’ll need to use your acting chops for this. Keep close to the exit; appearing panicked to your boss is crucial at this point. As you explain your reasoning, you should already be leaving. It can be a stretch to sell if you’re working from home, but it will assist if you employ a frightened tone in a video conversation.
— Kenny Kline of BarBend
Home maintenance and upkeep
A home emergency like the fire alarm going off or a water leak in the basement is definitely a valid reason to leave work early. Anything that requires immediate attention would be seen as important enough to leave the office before the end of the day.
— Anthony Martin of Choice Mutual
My sciatica is flaring up
Sciatica was one of my strongest justifications for leaving the office early in the past. Sciatica is a disorder that hurts the legs and lower back. Most of the time, I used this excuse to get out of work early.
— nicole pav of Nccuttingtools
You can always say you have to take care of a personal emergency. If this is truly the case, make sure to explain the situation to your boss before you leave. They’ll likely understand and let you go. It’s not uncommon for personal emergencies to crop up from time to time, and you may need to leave work early to take care of them. In this case, it’s best to be honest with your boss about the situation and provide any necessary documentation to support your need to leave work early.
— Jimmy Huh of JH SEO
Porch pirate prevention
Some packages require a signature, so you’ll need to be there to receive them. In my opinion, getting a delivery is a valid excuse to leave work early. Explain to your superiors when they can expect the shipment and have them sign an acceptance form. Keep in mind that she may ask you to arrange for future deliveries to be made to the office so you won’t miss more work.
— Bram Jansen of VPNAlert
Sick family member
I think this one will make sense to most bosses. You can leave work early with little notice if you say you have to take care of a sick child. You can even utilize it after you’ve already begun your workday. All you have to do is apologize and say, “My kid is unwell. There is no one else who can look after her.”
— James R, of Skuuudle
Taking time off from work in order to deal with the loss of a loved one will be necessary. You will want to leave work early at the very least to attend the burial, and the majority of supervisors will be understanding if you explain the situation to them. The passing of a loved one is an occurrence that is frequently sudden, and it requires your immediate attention.
— Daen Lee of Sealions
Taking care of my pet
I believe your pet’s sudden illness is a valid justification. Many people consider their pets to be members of their family, so when one of them gets sick, it can cause a lot of stress and make it impossible to continue working. It could take some time to get your pet in for a checkup at the vet. As a result, many employers are willing to accommodate such requests for time off.
— Tim Parker of Syntax Integration
Unexplained illness (stomach flu edition)
If you feel sick but can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, your supervisor will probably let you take the day off. Make it look like you have the flu or something equally contagious, so they’ll let you go to avoid spreading it around the office.
— Irene Graham of Spylix
Volunteering at an important event
One unique excuse to leave work early could be to volunteer for a charity or attend an important community event. It could be a great way to give back to the community and help make a difference. It’s something that a lot of employers would be willing to consider.
— Ada Scott of EaseUS
Want to see some other ideas?
- The Best Excuses To Get Out Of Work
- Excuses To Miss Work On Short Notice
- Excuses To Work From Home
Events such as security issues, major damage or scheduled repairs can be appropriate reasons to leave work early. If you experience a home emergency, be sure to inform your employer right away. Update your employer when you can to let them know what is going on and when you can be expected back at work.What is a professional excuse to leave work early? ›
Events such as security issues, major damage or scheduled repairs can be appropriate reasons to leave work early. If you experience a home emergency, be sure to inform your employer right away. Update your employer when you can to let them know what is going on and when you can be expected back at work.What can I say to leave work early? ›
- Feeling dizzy.
- Feeling nauseous or ill.
- Migraine headache.
- Doctor's appointment.
- Dental emergency.
- Sick child.
- Family emergency.
- An important delivery or repair at home.
- Falling ill or receiving an injury. ...
- A medical appointment. ...
- A family emergency. ...
- An emergency at home. ...
- Religious observances. ...
- Work commitments. ...
- Approach your supervisor or employer immediately. ...
- Ask for permission.
“I wanted to ask you if it would be possible to take off [date] from [time] to [time] for [reason]? To make up for the missed time, I plan to [what you plan to do to make up for it]. I also know we have [meeting] scheduled during that time, and was wondering if it would be possible to reschedule.Can I leave work early for mental health? ›
Talk with your employer as soon as you know you need to take time off. Many employers require 30 days' advance notice when possible. If you need to take leave more urgently, you'll still want to provide as much notice as you can. Your HR department can also offer more guidance or information on other possible options.Is leaving work early a fireable offense? ›
At-will employees can be fired for any reason —including AWOL. However, your employer may have a policy that addresses misconduct and discipline. Depending on the policy and how strictly your employer enforces it, a single incident of AWOL may not be a fireable offense.What are good excuses to leave work? ›
- Car (or Other) Accident. Accidents are unexpected events and usually qualify as legitimate requests for sudden leave, especially if serious injuries are involved. ...
- Death of a Loved One. ...
- Personal Illness. ...
- Child's Illness. ...
- Emergency. ...
- Car Problems. ...
- Medical Appointments. ...
- Miscellaneous Absences.
Some good reasons for leaving a job include company downturn, acquisition, merger or restructuring as well as the desire for change — be it advancement, industry, environment, leadership or compensation. Family circumstances may also be a factor. Deciding to leave a job is a tough decision.Can you leave a job without saying anything? ›
When is it okay to quit without notice? Unless employed under a contract, most people work under the terms of at-will employment, meaning that neither the employer or the employee has a legal obligation to give notice before terminating employment.
Both are “grammatically" acceptable but the meanings are not the same, so I cannot make a choice between them. “early” simply means “early in the day", but 'earlier' means “earlier by comparison” with the time you did actually leave. They are both perfectly correct.Should I ask to go home early from work? ›
Be mindful of when you're asking to leave early. If it's a slow week, your request is more likely to be granted. Try to avoid asking to leave work early when your supervisor or team is stressed, overworked, or busy with an important project.What is the best time to tell your boss you're leaving? ›
Providing two weeks' notice is a standard professional courtesy in many workplaces. This allows you to notify your employer of your final day while giving them time to hire and train your replacement or redistribute your responsibilities among existing staff.What is the subject line for leaving early from office? ›
Include a subject line
Re: Request to leave early from the office. Re: Permission to leave early from the office.
Yes. Assuming that you work for a covered employer and are eligible for FMLA leave, you may take leave for treatment visits and therapy sessions for the condition.Can I leave work because of anxiety? ›
If you are working, your anxiety disorder might interfere with your job until you can get help to effectively manage your symptoms. Fortunately, you might be eligible to take leave from your job under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.How do I take stress leave from work? ›
Go to your Human Resources department and let them know you would like to take an FMLA-approved absence for stress leave. They will provide you with the necessary paperwork that you must take to your doctor.Is leaving work early insubordination? ›
Leaving early without notice
Disobeying these rules can constitute insubordination. For example, an insubordinate employee is scheduled to end their shift at 3 p.m. but decides to leave at 1 p.m. without notifying their employer or asking for permission.
- Start by deciding whether it's the right time. ...
- Give at least two weeks' notice. ...
- Write a letter of resignation. ...
- Give feedback on why you're leaving. ...
- Schedule a meeting with an HR representative or supervisor. ...
- Conclude and transition work. ...
- Share gratitude for the opportunity.
- Find Out Why Your Employees Leave Work Early. Meet with an employee to discuss the issue. ...
- Act Like a Leader. ...
- Hold Your Employees Accountable If They Often Leave Work Early. ...
- Leverage a Staffing Firm. ...
- Find Exceptional Talent for Your Business.
Personal leave is a type of leave that can be taken for any reason. There is no need to give a specific reason for taking personal leave, and it can be used for anything from taking a day off work to going on vacation.How do you explain leaving a job due to mental health? ›
I am therefore resigning to focus on my mental health. Thank you for all your help and the opportunities you have given me during my time with the company, and thank you for understanding my situation. If there is anything I can do to help make this transition easier, please do not hesitate to reach out.How do you explain leaving a job due to burnout? ›
If you decide to fully disclose burnout as a cause, frame it as a strength. For example, if your burnout was due to a values mismatch, explain the steps you've taken to get clear about your values and how the new position is a better fit.Is burnout a good reason to quit? ›
You're Burnt Out. Is burnout and stress on your list of good reasons to quit a job? If your job has lost its luster and you feel like the long hours, pressure and anxiety aren't worth it anymore; you're not alone. Every day, people quit their jobs due to the emotional exhaustion and chronic stress of demanding roles.How do I resign without burning bridges? ›
- Give two weeks' notice whenever possible. ...
- Tell the most senior people on the team first. ...
- Consider what you share. ...
- Limit gossip with colleagues. ...
- Provide a transition document. ...
- Continue to show up. ...
- Keep your post-work communications professional.
If you are resigning with immediate effect in protest at how you have been treated, a verbal resignation is enough, but it is better to put it in writing. Most employment contracts will require you to resign in writing – so, your notice period will not start to run until you give your employer written notice.What is ghost quitting? ›
Steadily and stealthily over the past several months, many of your workers have been "ghost quitting," which means they aren't leaving their jobs, but they're mentally checking out.Can my employer sue me for quitting without notice? ›
If an employee breaches a material term of their employment contract, you can sue them for any damages. For example, a contract might require an employee to give two weeks notice before quitting. If the employee then left without notice and you lost revenue as a result, you could pursue a claim against them.Is it OK to leave early on my last day? ›
If you have said your goodbye's, and no one you work with is in the office, I would go ahead and leave. There is no harm in leaving early under those conditions, and it is your last day anyway. It might be wise, as a courtesy, to let your manager know your heading out and that all your tasks have been handled.How do you ask for early shift? ›
I'm writing to request a change in my shift schedule. At this time, I work [current work hours] at [company] as a [position]. For the foreseeable future, I'd like to change my shift so that I'd work [desired shift] instead. This change would take place [dates in which you hope for the new shift to begin].
While arriving a few minutes early is great for building a productive team spirit, making others feel pressured into working significantly longer hours will have the opposite effect. Secondly, if you're consistently more than 15-30 minutes early, you risk being taken for granted by your manager or employer.How do I ask for an early shift at work? ›
- Determine exactly what you're requesting. ...
- Understand what kind of request is appropriate and realistic for your company. ...
- Schedule a meeting with your manager. ...
- State your case. ...
- Set clear expectations. ...
- If approved, transition as professionally as possible.
There are several reasons that Friday is the traditional day to quit. If you decide to quit Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday you're making a mistake! When you turn in your notice on a Friday you can let the dust settle over the weekend.Should I tell my manager I'm thinking of leaving? ›
Don't do it! It's not reasonable for your boss to ask you to give months of notice that you'll be leaving, let alone expect you to tell her when you haven't yet accepted another position yet.Is it better to quit in the morning or afternoon? ›
If you resign in the morning, you have to look your boss all day. But, by resigning at the day's end, you can then leave, and the night provides a cooling off period.How do you say goodbye professionally? ›
Thank you all and best of luck in the future!” “I have enjoyed my time here, but it is time for a new challenge. Thank you all and goodbye!” “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity you gave me.What is a good subject line for leaving a job? ›
Here's what an example resignation email subject line could look like: "Resignation: [Your Name]" "Resignation - [Your Name]" "Resignation, effective immediately - [Your Name]"How do you say goodbye professionally in an email? ›
- Time your farewell messages correctly. ...
- Include your last day. ...
- Personalize each note. ...
- Stay positive. ...
- Include your personal contact info. ...
- Wrap it up with some well wishes.
The best last-minute excuses to miss work include personal illness, family emergency, doctor's appointments, child care, mental health challenges, death of a loved one, and household problems. In fact, any unforeseen circumstance that requires your attention is among the best last-minute excuses to miss work.How do you ask for a day off on short notice? ›
I want to request time off for [specific dates/times]. The reason is [short one sentence explanation]. I appreciate your taking this into consideration on such short notice. My team is working on [this assignment] with a tentative delivery date of [date] even with my absence.
- Tell your manager first.
- Use the business letter format.
- State the position you are resigning from and the effective date.
- Explain why you are resigning.
- Express gratitude.
- Close with your signature.
- Know Your Company's PTO Policy. ...
- Look at the Company Calendar + Schedule in Advance. ...
- Be Caught Up on Work. ...
- Talk to Your Manager Before You Make Plans. ...
- Be Specific With Your Request. ...
- Send a Formal Request in Writing. ...
- Communicate to Your Internal Team.
“Recently I've been having a hard time with my [condition] and am going to take a sick day today to try and rest up. I'll be back tomorrow.” “I'm feeling burnt out, and am planning to take a sick day today to take care of my mental health. I'll be back in the office tomorrow, thank you for understanding.”How far in advance should you ask for time off? ›
A minimum of two weeks lead time is a good starting point for most businesses, although you can change that to fit your particular needs. You could also set a date each month after which requests will not be accepted.