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Here are 10 excuses you can use to leave work early

Published Feb 14th, 2022 11:54PM EST
Best Excuses For Leaving Work Early

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You’re sitting at your desk staring out the window or at a screen. It’s agonizing. To be perfectly honest, you’re probably not going to get anything done for the rest of the day anyway if you’re already checked out, especially if it’s towards the end of the week. So why fight it? Stop wasting your time stalking your friends on Facebook and Instagram. Take off…that’s what skipping out is for.

Of course, pulling off this caper means coming up with a good excuse. It needs to be something out of your control and unavoidable, and it also needs to be important enough that it can’t be ignored.

Don’t take things too far and say something awful, like claiming a family member died or is in the hospital. That’s just wrong, and it has to be bad karma. Instead, try one of the 10 excuses listed below.


Halloween Candy Trick Or Treating
Children trick or treating in Halloween costumes. Image source: Tijana/Adobe

If you have kids, your job couldn’t be easier — it’s impossible to say no when a parent is needed. Don’t go overboard, though… the basic “school called and my kid is sick” or “the babysitter called and my kid is sick” will do just fine.

Be sure to toss in the obligatory “…and my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend is unreachable” for good measure.

Those darn pipes

“My neighbor called and the pipes broke in my home/apartment!” This is a risky play since it’s been used a lot. You also only get to use this one once. The key here is to be in a panic when you tell your boss, to stick by the door, and to already be walking away as you give him or her your explanation.

Feel free to mix things up with an exploding water heater. This also can be more of a stretch to sell if you’re working from home, but if you use a panicked tone on a video call, it can help.

Food poisoning

Sometimes, the gas station sushi up the block is calling your name. And if you answer that call, it could have disastrous effects (not that we’re speaking from experience). Make sure you dab some water around your brow to really sell this one.

Relatives are so annoying

Best Entertainment for Family Game Night
A family playing a board game. Image source: Spin Master/Amazon

Your aunt is in town from Idaho and your mom was supposed to give her a ride back to the airport, but her gout is acting up. Darn it!

This one only works if your boss is pretty nice… and has never heard of Uber.

Home improvements need improvement

Don’t you hate it when you’re having work done on your home and the contractor calls to tell you he’s run into a serious problem? This one can definitely work for people working from home. Put on a mask to sell it even more!

Lemon aide


Your husband’s car broke down yet again? Well maybe if your boss gave you a raise, you guys could afford a new one instead of that crummy old lemon.

Just saying…

(Also, this may not be the proper time to mention a raise, especially if you happen to get caught…)

Such a sweetheart

One of the versions of LoveBox Image source: LoveBox

It’s your anniversary and you want to beat your wife home so you can set up a nice surprise. What kind of heartless boss would say no to that? (Remember, flowers always make people smile!)

Kids! part 2

You don’t have to pretend your kid is sick to leave work early — what if he or she just missed the bus home?

Your significant other is away on a business trip and the school will only release your child to a guardian. Sorry, boss. (Maybe sell it by taking a pic with your kid holding a tablet waiting at school to then show next time you’re in the office as proof you had to swing by and gpick them up.)

Special delivery

Your neighbor promised she would be home between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to let the delivery men in with your new couch. But, wouldn’t you know it, his kid missed the bus and he has to go pick her up at school! (This doesn’t work as well if you’re working from home unfortunately but you can always say the people are there and they need help.)

Fido has a fever

When your dog walker calls and says poor Fido has the flu or ate something he shouldn’t have, no one can stop you from getting him to the vet as soon as possible. If your boss is a pet lover themselves, this one should hit hands down.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on July 24, 2015 and has been updated since then.

Chris Hachey Commerce Editor

Chris Hachey is Senior Commerce Editor for BGR. With over a decade of editing and journalism experience, plus thousands of hours of product testing and research, he has helped millions of consumers find the best products and deals to fit their lifestyles.

When he's not searching for top deals, he's likely watching his favorite sports teams or walking around his hometown with his wife and his dog.