“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.” -Paul Tsongas, politician
Have you ever had to call out of work?
If so, you are not alone. It happens to the best of us. If not, then in the course of your career, there will likely come a time when you need to call out of work. It might be due to family issues, personal illness, personal emergency, or other perfectly valid cause.
Whatever the reasons for calling out of work, it can be a stressful situation, and you may need a good reason, as many employers tend to discourage this. Still, there are situations when this is valid, and being denied a chance to call out of work might raise legal concerns.
If you must miss work due to an event, providing a legitimate reason that does not abuse company policies is essential. Additionally, communicating your absence effectively is crucial in maintaining trust with your employer for the future.
If you work in a traditional office setting, physical barriers preventing you from arriving at work can be considered valid excuses. However, working remotely or in a hybrid workplace significantly reduces the acceptable excuses to miss work.
Calling out of work means informing your employer that you will not come to work on a day scheduled for work. This can be due to various reasons, such as personal emergencies or any other perfectly valid reason.
Some good reasons to call out of work include:
It is understandable to miss work due to an immediate family emergency. A responsible employer recognizes that supporting one's family is a top priority for most employees and would consider it a valid reason for missing work.
Family emergency in this context refers to relations based on blood, marriage, or other kinship that can be defined as immediate family.
The following can qualify as family emergencies:
No one can anticipate that they'll get sick. So taking a sick day can be a good reason to miss work. However, most employers are not usually convinced when you tell them you're feeling sick, so it's vital to have a doctor's note — this may be part of company policy — to give you a clear reason as to why you need to miss work.
Attending medical appointments is valid and important, as valuing one's physical health is crucial in preventing future health risks. You may also have a doctor's or last-minute doctor's appointment during office hours in a dental emergency.
If you experience a home emergency, it may be a reasonable cause for missing work. For instance, if things happen and your home is in an area prone to forest fires or flooding, you can inform your employer and clarify your situation. This could be an acceptable excuse for not being able to attend work.
Examples of household emergencies include:
Experiencing car trouble can affect your work schedule and, by extension, other team members. In case of faulty breaks, flat tires, or other car problems, it would be best to inform your employer immediately to minimize inconveniences for everyone involved.
While some car repairs can be scheduled ahead, you'll most likely need to change that tire, file a police report - in case of an accident -or get in touch with a repair person as soon as possible, which means time off work.
You can call out of work for a few hours in the case of a minor car problem. However, if you get into an accident on your way to work, you could be delayed for an entire day. Whatever the trouble, inform your manager as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing stress, either personally or professionally, it can be beneficial to take a mental health day or a stress leave to recover.
This is a perfectly acceptable reason to miss work, especially with the growth of mental awareness.
Mental health days are a legitimate excuse to miss work, especially if your performance has been shaky lately. You may call out of work for some mental issues — diagnosed or not —such as:
Rough weather, such as a severe snowstorm, heavy rainfall, or any other extreme weather event, can result in hazardous commuting conditions as well as hinder your capability to execute outdoor tasks. This unexpected event can be a valid reason to miss work on short notice.
Alternatively, you can inquire whether you can work remotely rather than taking a risk in turbulent weather.
Jury duty is a civic duty that you cannot escape. If you receive a jury summons in the mail, it is a perfectly valid and reasonable excuse to take time off from work. Thus, requesting time off as soon as you become aware of it is essential.
As per federal law, your employer must give you unpaid time off for jury duty. However, depending on your state, your employer might also be required to compensate you for your absence. It is possible that you may have to present your official jury summons to your employer, so it is advisable to be prepared.
Work is likely the last thing on your mind in the event of a loved one's passing. Besides the need to grieve, there may be financial and logistical arrangements to handle, such as planning the funeral.
Numerous companies have a grief leave policy that provides time off for a family member's death; this is one distinguishing feature of a good workplace.
It is crucial to review your employee handbook for guidelines. If there is no official policy, you should directly speak with human resources or your manager to explain the situation and request time off.
As a caregiver for an elderly parent or a sick child, you may need to stay home to provide necessary care. Certain employers offer backup care as a benefit, allowing a licensed caregiver to assist at home while you attend work. However, the decision to use this option ultimately rests with you and your family, as your presence may provide greater comfort and support.
If you're not feeling well, it is advisable to take a break. Even if you can work from home, it doesn't guarantee productivity; for example, food poisoning can cause diarrhea and vomiting, making working almost impossible.
If you must attend an in-person meeting, avoid going if you're contagious. Check with your manager before taking time off, and be aware that your employer may require a doctor's note for serious illness.
As an individual, you have the right to a personal day to practice your religion, even if your organization does not observe the holiday. It is unfair to face discrimination in the workplace for requesting time off for a religious holiday, as it is a valid reason.
You should request the day off in advance and trust that your employer will manage the situation efficiently during your absence. Dedicate the time, energy, and emotions the day deserves without worrying about other people's feelings.
Here are a few tips for calling out of work:
Once you've decided to take a day off from work, it's crucial that you determine who needs to be informed and the most efficient means of doing so. While numerous options are available, selecting the most effective method is imperative.
A phone call is one of the most effective methods, as it adds a sense of sincerity and a personal touch. It's a suitable method to breach the trust gap between you and your employer. A phone call also passes your reasons along in the case of short notice, for example, an emergency, being involved in a car accident, or if you have a sick child.
Sending a text message is a convenient alternative to a call. However, it could be perceived as unprofessional to message your manager directly on their phone. Unless you have a good relationship with your manager, avoiding this option is best.
Last but not least, email. This is the safest choice because you can send advance notice at any time and there is no risk of unprofessionalism.
Each company has its policies regarding time off or work absences, which may vary, but emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. Therefore, it's crucial to reach out to someone who has the power to make decisions and comprehend unforeseen circumstances.
Your most suitable choice is communicating with your immediate superior, whether a shift leader, supervisor, or line manager.
Now that we know what a good excuse to miss work is. Let us review some reasons that are unacceptable for missing work.
This is a rookie mistake that some people use. Informing your manager that you forgot it was a Monday or you forgot the time your shift starts could land you in trouble. Even worse, you could get fired. When you get caught in a mistake, take the heat and go to work – better late than never.
You may be sentimental and celebrate every milestone, but missing work because of a pet's birthday may be a bit of a stretch. Plan the birthday on your day off, and don't use it as an excuse to miss work.
It's understandable to feel uncomfortable and unmotivated when you're not well-rested, but it's generally not considered one of the valid reasons to miss work. Doing so might give the impression that you're unreliable and irresponsible.
If you suspect your tiredness is due to burnout, overwork, or long work hours, it's essential to devise a plan to discuss this with your employer. You can explore options for adjusting your workload or finding other solutions that work for both of you.
On your way to work you may be stuck in traffic, so you consider using it as an excuse to miss work. This can show your employer the level of attitude you have towards the job, and this can lead to mistrust.
If you're driving to work, plan out your route well to avoid traffic, and in the case of a traffic incident, avoid using it as an excuse to miss work.
We've all experienced oversleeping at some point. It's common to wake up exhausted and tempted to use it as an excuse to miss work. However, we advise against it as the consequences could be more severe than expected. It's best to get ready quickly and head to work, even if you are behind schedule.
Managing an excessive workload can be difficult. Nonetheless, it's crucial not to utilize it as a reason to skip work. If you're experiencing stress in the workplace, it's ideal to confront the issue with your manager instead of justifying your absence. Communication is vital to finding a resolution.
It is crucial not to use dissatisfaction as an excuse for absences from work. Such actions could result in severe consequences, including disciplinary measures and even termination. Instead, if you feel unfulfilled or unhappy at work, you must schedule a meeting with your manager to address your concerns.
If you do not believe these issues can be resolved, exploring other job opportunities more compatible with your needs and objectives is advisable.
Missing work is something touchy, especially when it comes to your employer. Your availability in the workplace shows your commitment to the collective and your reliability. But sometimes you have to miss work due to some issue.
Therefore, you need to have some tips to navigate the situation. Here are a few you can use the next time you need to miss work:
Be honest about work absences, but don't share private details of personal life like health, legal, or family matters with your employer.
It is imperative to be cautious when sharing personal information. Remember that your employer only needs to know the essential details. For example, if you must take time off work due to illness, there is no need to provide a detailed description of your symptoms.
However, some employers may require you to present a doctor's note as evidence of your absence. It is crucial to comply with such requirements to avoid any misunderstandings.
If you can't make it to work, let your employer know ASAP. Follow company policy for requesting time off, like emailing your supervisor and HR. If you call or text, send an email to have a record of your request.
Plan and communicate with your manager if you can't make it to work. Offer solutions and provide necessary information to colleagues who will cover for you. This shows responsibility and commitment to your job.
In uncertain situations, such as your own sudden illness or that of a loved one, it's essential to keep your employer informed and communicate any plans or arrangements that may arise. If dealing with your severe or chronic illness or that of an immediate family member, discussing the possibility of taking a leave of absence may be necessary.
There are many excuses to get out of work, but not all are acceptable reasons. No matter your situation, it is essential to prioritize integrity and be respectful in your communication. At Highrise, through our 1:1 coaching for growth-minded professionals, you will learn what holds you back and how to improve your skillset to become a better leaders and team member.
Join our community of growth-minded professionals today.