${ company.text }

Be the first to rate this company   Not rated   ${ company.score } stars     ${ company.industry}     ${ company.headquarters}


${ getArticleTitle(article) }


${ tag.display_name }


${ getCommunityPostText(community_post) }


${ contributor.full_name }

${ contributor.short_bio }

Jobs For Employers

Join InHerSight's growing community of professional women and get matched to great jobs and more!

Sign up now

Already have an account? Log in ›

  1. Blog
  2. Career Development
  3. April 15, 2024

16 Creative Excuses to Leave Work Early (Without Raising Suspicion)

And what to say to your boss

Woman leaving work early
Photo courtesy of Sora Shimazaki

Leaving work early is sometimes necessary, whether it’s for a personal emergency, a family commitment, or simply a need for mental health. However, crafting a believable excuse can be a challenge. 

Whether a reason to leave work is tenable depends on a variety of interlinked factors: plausibility, specificity, urgency, consistency, emotional appeal, potential documentation, delivery, timing, and even your reputation. You want to weigh all of these factors before sharing your reason for leaving—if nothing else, it might change your delivery before you head out the door.

We’ve got you covered. Here are 16 creative excuses to leave work early that are unlikely to raise too many eyebrows. Plus, we share how to professionally let your manager and team know you’re going to miss work that day.

16 creative excuses to leave work early—without raising suspicion

1. A pipe burst at your house

Nobody wants to imagine dealing with a plumbing disaster, so this excuse tends to work like a charm. Claiming that your home is facing a sudden plumbing issue that requires immediate attention is both plausible and urgent.

2. Your dog ate something… questionable

Pets are like family, and any pet owner can understand the stress of a furry friend falling ill or getting into mischief. Whether it's a sudden vet appointment or a pet-related emergency, it's a convincing reason to leave work early.

3. You broke a tooth

Dental emergencies often come out of nowhere, causing excruciating pain and requiring immediate attention. Announcing a sudden toothache or a broken dental crown can be a great excuse to duck out early.

4. Your car broke down

A car breakdown is one of the most plausible excuses to leave work early. Whether it's a flat tire, a dead battery, or a mysterious engine problem, it requires immediate attention and can get you out of the office swiftly.

5. You have to pick up your kid from school

Family commitments are universally understood, making them ideal excuses. Whether it's a child's school event, a spouse's doctor appointment, or a parent needing assistance, family obligations are valid reasons to leave work early.

6. You’re sick

Health-related issues are sensitive and believable excuses. From sudden migraines to stomach bugs, nobody questions the need to prioritize health. Just be sure not to overuse this excuse.

7. You have jury duty

Sometimes, unexpected legal or administrative matters arise that require urgent attention. Claiming a sudden summons for jury duty or a legal appointment can provide a legitimate reason to leave work early.

8. Your refrigerator broke

Home-related emergencies, such as a broken heating system or a leaking refrigerator, require immediate attention and can justify leaving work early to handle the situation.

9. Your internet is out

In the remote-friendly age, technology mishaps are common. Whether it's a malfunctioning home appliance or a faulty Wi-Fi router, claiming a sudden need to address a technical issue at home can be a believable excuse.

10. Your in-laws are at your door

Surprise visit from your in-laws? Say it ain’t so. Regardless of how you feel about that, unexpected visitors can provide a valid reason to leave work early to entertain or accommodate them.

11. Your neighbor needs help

Claiming that a neighbor is in need of urgent assistance, whether it's helping them with a household problem or providing support during a personal emergency, can be a convincing reason to leave work early.

12. Your physical is taking longer than expected

Mentioning a delay or long wait time for a previously scheduled medical appointment can serve as a credible excuse. Whether it's a routine check-up or a specialist consultation, emphasizing the unforeseen delay can justify leaving work early.

13. You’re volunteering

Mentioning a sudden volunteering opportunity or community service obligation that requires your immediate participation can provide a noble reason to leave work early while also highlighting your commitment to giving back to the community.

14. The weather is unsafe

Extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall, flooding, or severe storms, can disrupt normal routines and justify leaving work early to ensure your safety and well-being.

15. There was fraud on your credit card

Mentioning a sudden financial issue, such as a banking error or a credit card fraud alert, that requires your immediate attention can provide a plausible reason to leave work early to address the situation.

16. You need a mental health day

While mental health is often overlooked, it's just as important as physical health. Claiming the need for a mental health break due to feeling overwhelmed or anxious can provide a valid reason to leave work early and prioritize self-care.

While these excuses can help you leave work early, it's important to use them sparingly and responsibly. Being dishonest or using excuses excessively can damage your credibility and harm your professional reputation. It's always best to communicate honestly with your employer whenever possible. Remember, honesty is often the best policy, but when you do need to leave work early, having a believable excuse handy can make the process smoother for everyone involved.

Communicating your exit: 3 email examples to use when you need to leave work early 

Okay, you’ve decided it’s time to go. Leave professionally using these three example emails.

Example email 1:

Subject: Urgent plumbing issue at home

Hi [manager/team],

I hope this email finds you well. I'm writing to inform you of an unexpected situation that has arisen, requiring my immediate attention. Unfortunately, I've encountered a plumbing emergency at home that needs urgent resolution. The situation is quite serious, and I need to be present to oversee the repairs. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause to the team, but I will need to leave work early to address this matter. I will ensure to wrap up any pending tasks and coordinate with [colleague/team member] to ensure continuity in my absence. Please let me know if there are any pressing matters that need immediate attention. Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

[your name]

Example email 2: 

Subject: Family commitment

Dear [manager/team],

I hope you're doing well. I wanted to reach out to inform you of a sudden family commitment that has come up and requires my immediate attention. My [family member] has encountered a medical issue, and I need to accompany them to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment. I understand the importance of my role in the team, but family emergencies take precedence. I will make sure to communicate with [relevant colleague/team member] to ensure that any ongoing projects are taken care of in my absence. Thank you for your understanding and support during this time.

Best regards,

[your name]

Example email 3:

Subject: Unexpected Tech Troubles

Hi [manager/team],

I hope this email finds you well. I'm writing to inform you of an unforeseen situation that requires my immediate attention. Unfortunately, I've encountered unexpected technical issues with my home internet connection, which is affecting my ability to work remotely effectively. I've tried troubleshooting the problem, but it seems to be beyond my control and requires the assistance of a technician. As a result, I will need to leave work early to address this issue and ensure that I can resume work as soon as possible. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will make sure to communicate with [relevant colleague/team member] to ensure continuity in my absence. Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

[your name]

About our expert${ getPlural(experts) }

About our author${ getPlural(authors) }

Share this article

Don't Miss Out

Create a free account to get unlimited access to our articles and to join millions of women growing with the InHerSight community

Looks like you already have an account!
Click here to login ›

Invalid email. Please try again!

Sign up with a social account or...

If you already have an account, click here to log in. By signing up, you agree to InHerSight's Terms and Privacy Policy


You now have access to all of our awesome content

Looking for a New Job?

InHerSight matches job seekers and companies based on millions of workplace ratings from women. Find a job at a place that supports the kinds of things you're looking for.