Best reasons to not go to work (7 excuses that actually work)

In this blog post, we will share the best 7 reasons to not go to work. We will also tell you what you should avoid doing while off work “sick” and give you a few tips on making the perfect excuse!

The best reasons to not go to work

Below is a list of the best reasons to not go to work:

  1. Truth is, the best reasons to not go to work will always be medical reasons. There are diseases that no one wants to catch and your absence will even be encouraged so as not to decimate the entire open space and keep the business running on minimum service. 

The best diseases to keep to yourself: influenza, gastroenteritis and chickenpox. Other health problems may require time off work, such as migraine, food poisoning or back pain.

Note that the absence due to illness will only be valid if you provide a sick leave issued by your doctor to your employer and to Social Security within two days. 

Good to know: some collective agreements do away with the waiting period. Others provide for “sick child days”. Check with your HR department.

  1. Transport problems: a valid excuse for not going to work

Deprived of public transport (metro, train, bus, tram, etc.), for reasons beyond your control, you will not be able to go to your place of work. Your employer is not going to charter a private jet to pick you up or ask you to swim. Depending on the culture of your company, he will suggest that you telecommute that day or take paid leave. 

  1. Death of a loved one: the indisputable excuse to miss work

If somebody from your family has passed away, your supervisor will undoubtedly understand your absence and will offer you, depending on the degree of proximity to the deceased, to take the time you need to recover. 

From a legal point of view, you will need to justify the absence with a death certificate, which will entail the possibility of benefiting from days of absence. No seniority condition is required to be entitled to this specific leave. 

The duration of the leave varies according to the status of the deceased relative to the employee. These days of absence are paid normally as if they had been worked.

Good to know: these are minimum periods set by law. The collective agreement or the collective agreement on which you are dependent may provide for longer terms.

  1. Bad weather: the environmental excuse not to go to work

Climate change can have consequences on your professional pace. Repeated storms, heavy snowfall or the strong rise in water levels due to torrential rains can cause damage to the transportation network or to your home that prevents you from going to work. In this case, your absence cannot be sanctioned by your employer because it results from a case of force majeure (irresistible, unforeseeable and external). 

On the other hand, the latter is entitled to withdraw this day, or the hours late at work, from your salary (unless your collective agreement is more favourable). To avoid the loss of overall compensation, you may also be offered an alternative such as teleworking or withholding absence from your paid vacation.

  1. The water leak: a once in a lifetime excuse to miss work

“I can’t come today because I had a water leak at my house last night and I’m waiting for the plumber.” While this excuse not to go to the office may be valid, be careful not to use it too much or risk arousing suspicion about the real reasons for your absence.

  1. The alarm clock failure: the classic excuse not to go to work

“My alarm didn’t ring”, this excuse, you must have served it at least once (if not more …) to your manager. Who has never forgotten to program their alarm clock the night before? If this excuse makes sense, we recommend that you use it sparingly. If it becomes regular, it can at the very least become the object of a reprimand or at worst a ground for dismissal.

  1. Missing work: the legal excuse

Not showing up for work, unjustifiably and repeatedly during working hours, overnight, constitutes abandonment of a job. It leads to a dismissal procedure for the employee and is therefore irremediable. Abandonment should not be taken lightly. If you are considering this option of no longer commuting to work, we advise you to weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.

Take time off to (also) take care of your mental health

Indeed, stress is one of the main causes of absenteeism at work, since it is responsible for 50 to 60% of absences, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. It occurs when an employee is under severe stress in a very short period of time and feels overwhelmed by his responsibilities. 

The hyper-communication and over-solicitation that the reign of screens has introduced further accentuate this stress factor: you never unplug again. Our smartphones, our thorniest files and our professional emails are shamelessly invited to the table, to the restaurant or even to bed. There is no longer any compartmentalisation, which can give the feeling of having your head permanently in the water, of no longer having an escape.

And while we tend to treat stress lightly, as something as normal and routine as our morning machine coffees, the consequences can be extremely dire. Not only is stress a huge risk factor for cardiovascular or neurological diseases, but it can also lead to burnout, resignation, depression, isolation …

And while employees have everything to lose by not getting arrested for too much stress, the same can be said for businesses. An INRS study estimates that the cost of occupational stress represented at least 2 to 3 billion euros in France in 2007, due to expenses for care, absenteeism, cessation of activity or premature death.

In Europe, the annual economic cost of stress at work is estimated to exceed 20 billion euros. In view of the costs, both human and financial, it is obvious that stress in the professional environment should not be underestimated.

What not to do when you are taking time off work

Before using any of the above excuses for being absent from work, we recommend that you take into account some details to avoid making mistakes:

  • Don’t kill anyone, these kinds of lies are very big and hard to maintain.
  • Remember the lies you tell because otherwise, they may come looking for you.
  • Don’t explain yourself too much, too many explanations could make it seem like you are looking for an excuse because it is a lie.
  • Don’t be too brief, but a 4-word message is also suspect.
  • Of course, don’t take time to go to the beach or for a walk. The next day, your tropical tan could give you away.
  • If you have “stomach pains,” don’t have a burger at the office the next day.
  • If it’s your child or your partner who gets sick, be sure to go on a great family outing on the weekends and talk about it at the office.
  • Apologize the next day if someone asks you questions, but, again, be careful not to give too much explanation.

Final thoughts

It is okay to take time off from work sometimes, and we hope that the above reasons to not go to work will serve their purpose. However, our suggestion is not to overdo it, as nobody needs an employee that they can’t rely upon on someone who goes missing from time to time. 

Also, remember that calling in to report that you are sick is the best reason to not go to work. Most employers prefer that sick staff stay home so they don’t infect others, but if you miss working for several days due to illness or injury, you may need a doctor’s statement. 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Best reasons to not go to work

What’s the best excuse to miss work?

Among the best excuses to miss work are:

  • You have a contagious illness;
  • Food poisoning;
  • Family emergency;
  • Medical appointments;
  • Vehicle or transport issues;
  • Death in the family;
  • Your pet is lost or you need to take it to the vet. 

How do you call in sick to work professionally?

If you have to call in sick to work, to do it professionally keep it as brief as possible and call as soon as you can. Let your team know that you will be missing work and make arrangements who can take over your workload. Mention the period you will be missing and when are you planning on coming back. 

What is the best excuse to call in sick?

The best excuses to call in sick are:

  • You have the flu or other contagious illness. 
  • You hurt your back, ankle or knee.
  • You have been hospitalized.
  • The emergency doctor or dentist’s appointment.
  • You are depressed, stressed or anxious. 

How do I take leave for personal reasons?

To take leave for personal reasons you have to ring your employer or talk with HR and let them know how much time you need and when you plan to return to work. Some employers offer a certain number of days for personal leave per year. Avail of those if included in the contract!

What are the best reasons to call in sick?

Here is a list of the best reasons to call in sick: 

  1. You have a contagious illness (COVID-19, CRE, Ebola, Enterovirus D68, or the flu).
  2. Because of an injury or illness that negatively impacts productivity (you hurt your back, twisted your ankle or broke an arm).
  3. You have a medical appointment (either a doctor’s appointment or medical investigations appointment).
  4. You have a diagnosed medical condition (Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes, etc.).
  5. You have been hospitalized (either because of an emergency or a planned procedure).
  6. Pregnancy or delivery (this is a medical emergency).
  7. You are taking a mental health day (which is also a personal reason and you do not have to disclose your diagnosis to HR if you don’t want to).


Leave a Comment