It’s 2:00 pm on a Friday afternoon and you’re feeling antsy and all you can do is think about your weekend plans. You want to leave work early, but you don’t want to seem like you’re slacking off or not a team player.
Besides, it’s not that you don’t like working or your job, but the weekend awaits and you need to get a head start. On top of that, you’ve been a great employee for a long time now and are (mostly) committed to the job. What’s the harm in leaving work early? Surely if your boss were in your shoes, they would do the same!
You’ll be back on Monday of course, so you have to make sure your excuse makes sense and that you can back up any story you might come up with. Your mind starts running through all the possible excuses to leave work early that you haven’t used already. You might need to get creative this time!
Best excuses to leave work early
From this list of excuses, we are able to narrow down some that are the best overall in terms of creativity, being believable, not morally wrong, and being easy to execute. The key to these excuses is to keep them simple. If you say you aren’t feeling well or have a personal matter which needs your attention, oftentimes your boss won’t bother probing for more info and let it be. With that being said, you will still need to sell the excuse and commit to it in order for it to work. Here is how to do it.
1. You aren’t feeling well.
A lot of work environments are not allowed to probe you if you tell them you’re sick. It could be an incredibly personal situation, and often HR will not want to poke and pry.
2. A personal matter has come up that you need to take care of.
Again, this is a great excuse to leave work early because you can just deflect and say that the issue is too personal, and you aren’t comfortable talking about it at work.
3. You have an appointment you can’t miss.
The appointment could be with the doctor, the dentist, any type of specialist, a plumber, or an insurance adjuster. There are dozens of appointments that could be treated as important enough to justify leaving work early.
4. You’re going to meet a client.
If you have an important client, you can always use them as an excuse for leaving work earlier than normal. Making your clients happy should be a top priority!
5. You are religious and need to leave work early to honor your beliefs.
Use this excuse to leave work early only if it happens to be a holy day for your religion. This is not an everyday excuse, but when the days do align, you should be able to leave work early with no problems at all.
Family-related excuses to leave work early
It’s hard to question anyone when it comes to their family. The problem with giving an excuse related to family matters is that it might be morally wrong. Are you comfortable using your sick child or parent as an excuse? If you believe in karma these excuses to leave early might not be for you. However, if you REALLY need to leave work early, these excuses will surely work.. it just depends on how comfortable you are using them.
6. You need to pick your kid up from school.
School ended early and your kid needs a ride home. Family always comes first and your boss should understand this, especially if they have a kid of their own. You don’t want to be that person who abandons their child when they are in need.
7. If you don’t have a kid, you need to pick up your niece or nephew from school.
If you don’t have a kid of your own, maybe you have a niece, nephew, or little cousin that needs to be picked up. Their parent called you to get them from school as they were tied up.
8. Your kid’s school called, and they are sick and need to be picked up.
You can plant the seed for this excuse for leaving work early in the morning of that day by casually mentioning your kid wasn’t feeling well, but they still went to school anyways. Things took a turn for the worse, and they are too sick to be at school, so you need to go pick them up ASAP.
9. There is a family emergency are you are urgently needed.
Using a family emergency as an excuse will definitely get you out of work early. It could be your kid, sister, brother, niece, nephew, partner, mom, dad, cousin, aunt, or uncle. It’s better to be discrete about the emergency and not provide details, but emphasize that it is serious enough for you to have to leave early.
10. Your mom/dad fell and can’t get up. They desperately need your assistance.
The older we get, the more prone we are to accidents. This includes falling and not being able to get up. This is actually a major problem with the elderly and should be taken seriously because if they are left on the ground for too long, prolonged injury and risk can occur.
11. There has been a death in the family and you need to prepare for the funeral.
Most companies provide bereavement leave when a death in the family occurs, but if you are notified of the unfortunate passing of a loved one while at work, nobody would blame you for leaving work early.
12. You need to take your older mom/dad to their doctor’s appointment.
Taking care of your parents is important and nobody should be upset if you need to leave work early to accompany them to an appointment. You’ll need to set this excuse up ahead of time though and not just bring it up spontaneously unless of course, your parent’s original plans to get to the doctor fell through and they called you as a last resort.
Health-related excuses to leave work early
Another category of excuses for leaving the job early that should work without too many questions are ones that are related to your health, or the health of a pet. These ones are not as morally wrong as family-related excuses, but if you’re going to use your own health as an excuse, be prepared to sell it! A little bit of acting can go a long way. You might need to practice your cough or somehow generate a sweaty brow for added effect.
13. You have food poisoning from something you ate at lunch.
In order for this to work, you’ll need to put a very uncomfortable look on your face and make some frequent trips to the bathroom. It is believable however since food poisoning can strike at any moment.
14. You got the chills all of a sudden and think you’re coming down with something.
A cold or flu usually takes a bit of time to fully kick in, but the initial symptoms are unmistakable. Instead of leaving things to chance, you think it’s best to leave work early so you don’t infect your co-workers.
15. You have a doctor’s appointment that you forgot about.
You know that rash you’ve been secretly concealing? Or the nagging *cough* that only occurs when it’s getting closer to the end of the shift? Well, it turns out that you made a doctor’s appointment for that a while ago and completely forgot. It’s best you rush over there right away because getting a new appointment will be tough.
16. You have a toothache and need to see the dentist.
You were eating an apple when all of a sudden you heard and felt a small crack in one of your teeth. There’s no messing around when it comes to dental hygiene, so you need to go see the dentist ASAP to make sure you’re not at risk of losing your tooth!
17. You have an appointment to get your vaccine.
The TV told you that getting vaccinated will help prevent others from getting sick and reduce your chance of serious illness. Like always, you listen to what the TV tells you, so it’s important you don’t miss your vaccine appointment.
18. You hurt your back from bending over to pick something up and need to seek medical attention.
You bent over to pick up a box of files, or maybe something fell on the ground and you went to reach to grab it. Either way, you’re not getting any younger and you pulled something. Instead of risking further injury, you’ve notified your boss that you need to leave work early to get your new injury looked at by a professional.
19. Your pet has been sick lately, and you need to go home and give them their medicine.
Poor Fluffy just hasn’t been herself lately. If something were to happen to your pet, you’d spiral out into a fit of depression. After all, your pets are like your children. You need to leave work early to make sure she gets her medicine.
Excuses related to issues at your home so you can leave work early
Another good way to skip work early is to use an excuse related to issues that are taking place at home. These excuses are also believable and are good to use because on the morality meter, they rank well. Meaning, you can use one of these excuses without feeling as bad.
20. The alarm went off in your home and you need to go and investigate the issue.
It could be a smoke alarm or a water leak detector, either way, you’ll need to rush home to ensure everything is okay and your house hasn’t collapsed!
21. Your landlord called you because a pipe burst in your home and it is flooding!
A burst pipe can strike at any moment, and when it does, it could become a real disaster. If your place floods, it will become an ongoing issue for months to come, so be prepared to use this as an excuse to take a few days off work. It could also be used as an excuse for being late to work the next day if the water damage is serious enough!
22. An expensive package arrived and it’s sitting outside your door unattended.
You’ve been expecting something expensive for a while now but didn’t know exactly when it would arrive. There have been a lot of porch pirates lately stealing people’s deliveries so you want to make sure you get home before that happens.
23. Someone broke into your house and trashed it!
The police are on the scene and need a statement. You need to get home ASAP and get to the bottom of the situation. Hopefully, they catch the bastard!
24. Your neighbor called to tell you that your dog hasn’t stopped barking for 3+ hours.
This is not normal behavior from your dog. You need to go home and calm her down and make sure she is okay, and that nobody broke into your house.
25. There is a leak in your roof and a storm is brewing.
The last time it rained, you had to set up multiple buckets to catch the water leakage. You have been meaning to get your roof fixed, but it’s just so expensive! Needless to say, you need to get home and start the damage control early.
Funny excuses to leave work early
Humor is often the best remedy for countless situations. If you use straight-up funny reasons to leave work early, you might get a laugh out of your boss or supervisor, resulting in them giving your permission to leave. It really depends on what type of person they are, but if they appreciate your humor, this is a good path. If your boss is rigid and doesn’t like to laugh, maybe stay away from these funny excuses.
26. You stepped in dog poop.
You left your shoes outside work because they smelled so bad. It’s best for everyone at this point that you leave because you can’t work barefoot. That is a serious health and safety issue!
27. Your dog escaped from your home.
It has been reported that your dog broke out and was found molesting your neighbor’s dog in broad daylight. Needless to say, you need to go diffuse the situation with your irate neighbor.
28. You need to go pick up your kid because they got into a pissing contest with another kid in pre-school.
Literally a pissing contest. They urinated all over each other, the classroom, and even the teacher. You can’t help but laugh, but at the same time, this is the perfect excuse to leave work early.
29. Grandma locked herself in the bathroom.
You received a call from Grandma, and unfortunately, she has locked herself in the bathroom again and needs you to come to rescue her. Okay maybe this isn’t funny if you’re Grandma, but hearing this would bring a smile to some twisted individual’s faces.
30. You left your lucky rock at home.
You are very superstitious and your lucky rock which you carry with you at all times somehow was left at home. You’re afraid something terrible will happen to you without it.
Excuses that are so ridiculous for leaving work, they might just work
Sometimes an excuse is so ridiculously unbelievable that it must be real and therefore, bound to work! Your boss might think, this is too crazy for it NOT to be true. These ridiculous excuses are definitely higher risk, and you need to be creative. Providing extra detail is the key to making a ridiculous excuse work. It’s all in the details! Beware though, your boss might believe these to actually be fake reasons to leave work early.
31. You saw a giant spider crawling around your workstation.
This is a major problem because you suffer from an intense fear of spiders. There is no way you’ll be able to work until the spider is found and exterminated.
32. The police or fire department was called to your home.
There was apparently a major disturbance that took place outside your home and you need to leave asap. You’re not sure of all the details yet, so come prepared with a story the next day!
33. You won a contest on the radio.
You won! Now you need to get down to the station ASAP to get your prize. If you don’t get there within the next 30 minutes, they will give it away to somebody else. That’s part of the contest. You didn’t make the rules.
34. You witnessed a crime on your break.
While witnessing the crime, the perpetrator and you made eye contact. You are now scared for your safety because they know where you work, so you need to leave early to escape a potential ambush.
35. You overheard some shady-looking guys talking about sabotaging something.
You aren’t exactly sure what it is in your building they are planning to sabotage, but you are scared for the safety of ALL your coworkers and think it’s best if everyone leaves early to avoid a dangerous situation.
Creative excuses to leave work early
Having a creative excuse is also a good path. The key to having a creative excuse to get you out of work early is not to make it super far-fetched. You want it to be believable, but at the same time, uncommon enough a reason for no one to question it.
36. You are volunteering for a non-profit organization.
You are such a good person because you volunteer your precious time, and want to get a head start on helping out.
37. You are donating blood to the Red Cross.
You always donate blood every year, and this was the only time slot they could fit you in this time.
38. Someone stole your car.
Right in broad daylight too! Now you need to head down to the police station to file a report. You know what they say, the first few hours are the most crucial for catching the criminal.
39. Your ex is on their way over to stir up some drama.
As amusing as this may be for everyone else, you want to sneak out undetected to avoid embarrassment.
40. You had Chinese food for lunch and the fortune cookie at the end of the meal told you something bad was going to happen.
You aren’t going to take any chances with this one! Fortune cookies have predicted crazier things in the past that have come true… This excuse to leave work early may sound ridiculous, but you don’t want to mess with the ancient magic of the fortune cookie.
Excuses for leaving work early that we do NOT recommend
There are some excuses for leaving work early that might work, but that we don’t recommend because they will make you look bad. The last thing you want to do is compromise your own work security by giving an excuse that paints you in a negative light. Use these excuses at your own risk!
1. You are incredibly hungover and need to go home and sleep it off.
Suck it up buttercup! This is what a lot of bosses will tell you. There is not a lot of sympathy for somebody who self-inflicted their own pain by having a few too many drinks.
2. You have a job interview elsewhere that you need to get to.
This is basically telling your boss that you are on the verge of quitting, and if you don’t get that new job, things will become incredibly awkward for you at work going forward.
3. You are really bored and have nothing to do.
Are you trying to get fired? If you are really bored and have nothing to do, your boss may use this as an excuse to send you home from work early… on a permanent basis.
4. You want to get to the bar while it’s still happy hour.
All this tells your boss is that you might be an alcoholic. They already had their suspicions because you came to work smelling like alcohol recently. This is not a good excuse to leave work early… Just wait it out, the bar isn’t going anywhere!
5. You think that your partner is cheating on you, and you want to catch them in the act.
This just screams crazy and insecure. Two qualities that are not very flattering.
At the end of the day, the best excuses to leave work early will always depend on your individual situation and the company you work for. It also depends on how comfortable you are with stretching the truth beyond the normal limits. The key to managing unapproved time off is preparation and practice! Once you have figured out the perfect excuse, make sure to support it with your behavior. Practice these skills and you will soon find that you are able to escape work on your terms. We hope you enjoyed these reasons for leaving work early.