Sometimes we just need a break from work, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You certainly won’t be the first person to lie your way out of work for the day – or the last, for that matter. In fact, 38% of respondents to a 2015 survey admitted to having called in sick when they were feeling perfectly fine – a figure that rose by 10% in comparison to the previous year’s findings.
Today is just one of those days when you want to stay home in your PJs, shut the blinds and watch your favourite movies, but there’s just one thing you need to sort out first: you need to call your boss up and tell him you won’t be going into the office because, well… you don’t know why, actually.
Sounds like you’re in urgent need of a believable explanation, which is where we come in: here is a list of 22 brilliant excuses to get out of work today!
Comfortable lying about the imaginary death or illness of a loved one? We've got you covered!
1. 'My [insert vaguely related family member here] died.'
This is probably the most used excuse ever when it comes to missing work, meaning that despite your boss's condolences, Great Aunt Gladys is, in fact, sipping piña coladas on a Caribbean cruise.
Make sure that you don’t 'kill off' the same person twice, though (it’s sure to raise an eyebrow or two), whilst a top tip is to use either fictional relatives or loved ones who have already passed on (you really won’t want the guilt when your twice-removed cousin actually does meet their untimely demise). An added 'benefit' is that the death of a loved one means there will be a funeral to attend, in other words: another day off for you!
2. 'I have a family emergency.'
Ambiguity is the key here; it’s a family emergency, after all, and therefore it’s personal. Refrain from the details and keep it simple. An easy excuse with no specifics required.
3. 'I need to stay at home to take care of my sick child.'
Whether it's chicken pox, a stomach bug or any other non-serious illness of your choosing, it doesn't matter; if there’s no one else available to look after your child, you’ve got to stay home – simple as that. If you don't happen to have any offspring, then consider switching the tables on to your 'sick' husband or wife (although you will likely need to concoct a more pressing ruse than man-flu).
If making up illnesses for your unfortunate relatives is a step too far, then you can always create one for yourself.
4. 'I’m sick.'
Keep it simple. From allergic reactions to vertigo and food poisoning to toothache, this timeless excuse is fool-proof and adaptable. Just don't overplay it.
5. 'I lost my voice.'
This a great excuse if your job involves interacting with people, especially via telephone. How can you speak to a customer when you can hardly talk? All you have to do is call your boss in a barely audible whisper – or better yet, drop them an email – and you’ll have no doubt earned yourself an awesome day off.
6. 'I have a terrible headache.'
...And no amount of paracetamol has helped so far. There’s no way your boss will expect you to go to work with a headache (no matter how big or small) when you can’t focus on anything within two meters, never mind expense reports and other important work documents.
7. 'My shrink says I need a day off.'
Who can argue with the advice of a qualified psychiatrist?
8. 'I stayed up late to work, and I’m too tired to come in.'
Hopefully, not only will your boss be mightily impressed by your dedication and work ethic, but they might even be the one to suggest that you take the day off!
What insurance companies call an 'act of God'; some things just can't be helped, after all!
9. 'My alarm didn't go off.'
Hey, it happens to best of us, and it’s bound to have happened to your boss at least once in their life. These things can't be helped, even if you do have a backup alarm (or three).
10. 'My boyfriend/girlfriend dumped me.'
Maybe you’ve just been dumped, or maybe you caught your boyfriend cheating on you with the next-door neighbour; either way, you’re a mess, and you need some time to yourself to gather your thoughts. If your boss is the sceptical type, then simply up the ante and engineer a particularly vicious divorce (don't forget to stop wearing your wedding ring and bringing your spouse to work events, though).
11. 'I’m having a baby!'
Disclaimer: this won’t work if one, you haven’t been visibly pregnant for the past nine months or, two, you’re a man. Otherwise, feel free to try this one – you might even be able to wangle three months of paid maternity leave, too!
12. 'I ran over a dog/cat. I need to take it to the vet.'
Well, your boss doesn’t just expect you to leave it there now, do they? Plus, it’s been a traumatic experience for you, what with being an animal lover and all. Bonus tip: for maximum emotional manipulation, make the dog/cat a puppy/kitten.
13. 'I fell in the shower.'
It happens. You slipped, and you hurt your back. You can’t move. You’ve got to stay home today. Just be wary of karma!
14. 'There was a car accident.'
The road’s been closed and you don’t know what time you’ll be in (commutes are a nightmare, after all). After a couple of hours, you can check in with your boss again and tell them you’re still stuck: hey, presto – you’re probably not going to be able to make it in today.
15. 'I’m afraid of the weather.'
Astraphobia is a real thing, and it’s characterised by an abnormal fear of lightning. Why not save this creative excuse for a particularly stormy day, when the thought of going outside might actually give birth to a genuine fear.
16. 'It’s my birthday.'
If you’re one of the lucky few who are allowed a paid day off on their birthday, there’s nothing stopping you from using this one. Many companies offer this little perk to their employees and will usually let the birthday boy or girl take a day off sometime in their birthday week. Unless you're capable of hacking into your company's HR database and repeatedly changing your date of birth, you might want to make this an annual venture.
17. 'I’m getting married.'
You and your significant other have decided to elope; surely your boss won't stand in the way of true love, right? No. But they might want to see photos of your Elvis-themed Vegas wedding when you eventually return to the office (good thing you're a Photoshop pro, huh?)
18. 'I have to babysit.'
'My childminder is sick and no else can look after my kid, so I have to stay home with them'. Who can argue with that? It's flexible, too; if your boss starts spouting silly ideas like you working from home (jeopardising your Grey's Anatomy marathon in the process), then simply refer back to Excuse Number Three.
You've lied about sick children and running over puppies, so at this point concocting a fictional crime is entirely within your repertoire.
19. 'I witnessed a crime.'
Whether it was a hit and run, or a particularly exciting robbery, the police are going to want to take your statement. Or, alternatively, why not make yourself the victim of this traumatic event? Your boss may be a douche, but there’s no way he’d make you go into work after that, right? Just don't turn up the next day in your supposedly stolen Beemer...
20. 'I have jury duty.'
The call of duty awaits you, and even your almighty boss can’t get in the way of that. Be careful, though: he may ask for proof.
Religion and beliefs
If all else fails, then why not rely on a little divine intervention?
21. 'I believe the Apocalypse may be coming today.'
Informing your boss that you have an iffy feeling about the coming day's events (namely an untimely Apocolaypse sometime around lunch) could be enough to guarantee you the day off. If your company's HR department doesn't class ancient Mayan prophecies as a valid excuse, though, you might need to get creative. For example, maybe your fortune teller has predicted your unfortunate demise, and you’ve decided to stay home because one, you don’t want to take your chances and, two, you would quite like to know how Game of Thrones ends.
22. 'It’s a religious holiday.'
While nobody is advocating a series of monthly conversions between major religions, it might be worth looking into the associated holiday benefits; if you’re Muslim, for example, you can use the Islamic New Year (on October 2) as a valid excuse to miss work. The best part is that employment law requires employers to accommodate all of an employee’s religious observances and practices.
Hopefully, these excuses have provided you with the ammunition you need to obtain the sick day of your dreams; all you have to do now is get the duvet out, fire up Netflix and get the kettle on. Good job!
What excuses have you used to skip work? Tell us in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article with family and friends who might be looking for a good excuse to get out of work today!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 14 April 2016.