20 Good Excuses to Leave Work Early (On Short Notice)

Good Excuses to Leave Work Early

Do you need to leave work early?

Yup, we know it does happens sometimes.

Maybe you have something important to attend or simply feeling tired and feel overburdened and burned out at work.

You may want to leave work early for personal, family or professional reasons.

Either way, you’ll need some appropriate excuses that are good reasons for you to leave work early.

PS. It is always the best policy to be honest with your boss when requesting to leave work early.

good excuses to leave work early on Short Notice

With the rise of hybrid work arrangement where many employees doing remote work. It’s understandable that we don’t have strict working hours any longer.

Good excuses to leave work early are excuses that is logical and relatable to you and your employer.

Here are some of the best excuse to give to your boss and leave work early and professionally.

  • Home related excuses
  • Personal illness and injury related excuses
  • Other acceptable excuses

Home Related Excuse to Leave Work Early

1. Child in need of care

If you are a father or a mother, it is understandable that you may need to leave work early to take care of your child.

Parenting always have a schedule of it’s own.

Everyone including your boss knows we all have family commitments.

When you need to have special arrangement to take care of your kids, remember to communicate with your boss and work out a schedule that works for both of you.

2. Pet in need of care

If you are a pet owner, there might be occasions where you will need to head home early to take care of them.

Although the excuse of going home because you’ll need to take care of a pet is not as good as taking care of your child. In most occasions, this excuse is still acceptable to a certain extend.

Just don’t overuse this.

3. Family members arriving from out of town

You can use this reason if your parents or grandparents are arriving to your home from other towns and you need to be there to let them in.

Use this reason sparingly.

If this happens every week, something is probably very wrong and your boss won’t be happy about it.

4. Significant other requires assistance

If you are married, sometimes it is ok ask your boss if it is ok for you to leave work early to assist your spouse with some things at home.

If it is an emergency that your spouse requires assistant, you may just want to take emergency leave. Just inform your boss that you are taking emergency leave and have to leave early.

Nonetheless, try not to use this reasons too often as it can make your significant other seems needy.

5. Home invasion

Ok, this is getting ridiculous.

But if you are living in a neighborhood which is not as safe.

Home invasion might happen from time to time if you are unlucky.

This can be pretty scary if you are having kids alone at home during the home invasion.

Just let your boss know you’ve received a call, or observed suspicious activity from your home security camera.

Just make sure you’ll have a detailed story about your experience ready when you return to work.

6. Need to be available for delivery

Often we do our shopping online and sometimes we order furniture, or expensive appliances to be delivered to our house.

These items can’t be simply left outside of our house.

If this happens to you, you can just let your boss know. It is a pretty believable excuse to leave work early.

Care not to use this too often though.

7. Network Installation

Internet and cable installation are good reasons why you’ll need to leave work early.

Since most network installation usually occurs during office hours, you will need to be at home when the installation happens.

Inform your boss a few days earlier that you need to get your network installed, so it won’t be a sudden surprise when you need to go home early during working hours.

Personal illness or injury Related Excuse to Leave Work Early

8. Painful Headache

Everyone have experience headache before, but when your headache become unbearable it can be quite hard to concentrate on your work.

Who would ever deny someone with a pounding headache?

Symptoms of common tension Headaches.

  • Mild to moderate pain on both side of the head.
  • Consistent pounding or throbbing pain that last for few hours to a day.
  • Responsive to over the counter medication such as Paracetamol.

Cause of common tension Headaches.

  • Alcohol or medication.
  • Change in sleeping and eating patterns.
  • Stress at work or private life.
  • Strain caused by poor posture (Setting up an Ergonomic Office can help)
  • Change in the weather or environment.

If your head is really hurting, it might be a good reason for you to leave work early and rest at home.

9. Migraine

Not sure when does this word come about, but it is probably from someone who couldn’t get away from the excuse of “having a headache” anymore.

Migraine is having pain on one or both side of your head.

Symptoms of a migraine.

  • Moderate to severe pain on one or both side of the head.
  • Pounding or throbbing pain that last from 4 hours to 3 days.
  • Blurry Visions.
  • Sensitive to light, touch or smell.
  • Nausea and dizziness

Cause of migraine.

  • Change in hormone
  • Stress at work or private life
  • Lack of food or hydration
  • Change in the weather or environment

If you are having a migraine with your head spinning, it might be a good idea for you to ask your boss to let you leave work early.

10. Back pain or spine pain

Back pain is one of the most common medical reasons people see doctor or miss work. Back pain can be quite serious if not attend to properly, it is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Cause of back pain.

  • Muscle or ligament strain. This is caused by heavy lifting of items with an improper posture. Sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments as well.
  • Bulging or ruptured disks. Disk are the soft materials between the bones of your spine. Improper sitting posture or sudden impact to your spine can cause this issue.
  • Arthritis. Arthritis in the spine can be serious and usually involved inflammation of joints. It can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord.
  • Osteoporosis. Common for older generations where the bone become porous and brittle, your spine’s vertebrae can develop painful fractures when the bone become too weak.

If your back is hurting abnormally, you might want to inform your boss and leave work early to see a doctor as soon as possible.

11. Upset Stomach

If you are having an upset stomach with additional of bathroom issue such as diarrhea, your boss will probably have no issue letting you go early.

Cause of having an upset stomach.

  • Reaction to food
  • Ingestion
  • Infection
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy

12. Menstrual Cramps

For a woman, menstrual cramps is probably the best excuse to use if you want to leave work early.

Menstrual cramps is the throbbing, aching cramps you get in your lower belly just before and during your period.

But take note not to overuse this excuse as no woman can have a menstrual cramp 24/7.

13. Toothache

Toothache is pretty common, and it is probably one of the most acceptable reasons why you’ll need to leave work early.

It is always advisable to see a dentist if you have a toothache.

Cause of toothache.

  • Infection when the tooth have broken skin (such as wisdom tooth)
  • Loose or broken filling
  • Cracked or damage tooth
  • Tooth decay
  • Braces

14. Contagious illness

Running nose, flu, cough or any other symptoms of having a viral infection can be a good reason to leave work early.

Contagious illness can be pretty scary.

If you are having contagious illness, just call in sick and stay at home. But if you are already in the office, just ask to leave work early to see a doctor.

Common contagious illness.

  • Common Cold
  • Stomach Flu
  • Influenza
  • Pink Eyes
  • Strep Throat
  • Whooping Cough
  • Hand, Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD)
  • Covid-19

Having sufficient rest can help you recover faster, and not being at work can protect your coworkers from getting infected.

Preventing the spread of sickness is just one way of being a responsible and respectful coworker.

15. Not Feeling Well

Simply saying you are not feeling well is an acceptable excuse in most workplace.

You don’t need a long and detailed explanation on why are you not feeling well. Most boss won’t want to pry into the private health issues of their employees.

But if you are being asked on what’s wrong, you can say you are having a headache or having an upset stomach.

Both are acceptable reasons that you can use when required.

16. Injury at workplace

Accident do happen. If you are injured in your workplace, it is best to inform your manager or boss for the necessary actions.

If the injury requires you to rest at home or see a doctor, your company will probably ask you to leave work early to rest.

Common injury at workplace:

  • Slips, trips and fall
  • Ankle sprain
  • Muscle strains
  • Knee injury
  • Tennis elbow
  • Crashes and collisions
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Inhalation of toxic fumes

If the condition persist and your doctor requires you to rest, it will be at your best interest to take sick leave till you’ve recovered or as per your doctor’s advice.

You are responsible of your own well-being. If unwell, don’t over exert yourself.

17. Medical Appointment

Seeing a medical professional or doctor can be an acceptable excuse to leave work early. It is understandable that medical appointment can only be scheduled during the normal office hours.

If you are having a medical appoint on that day, it will be advisable to prearrange with your boss that you will come in early or go back slightly later to perform the work required for the day.

You can discuss on the possible solutions with your boss.

Having communicated of these dates (Medical Appointment) early can help you and your boss to prepare for your absence and ensure all required work is completed on time.

This is especially true if you are having medical appointment on a regular basis.

Other Good Excuses to Leave Work Early

18. Going to work from home

With many companies taking up hybrid work arrangement, it is mostly acceptable if you want to change your work environment.

You can tell your boss you are working from home and just leave your office early.

With remote working arrangement, it is build on trust, thus you should continue working from home and not abuse the trust that is given to you.

Unfortunately, this reason is only applicable if your work can be done digitally and your company allows it.

19. Attending a networking or business event

If you need to attend a networking or business event in the evening, it might be a good reason for you to get home early to make all necessary preparations.

Be prepared to be asked what kind of events will you be attending, be honest and only use this reason when it is actually true.

20. Attending a wedding

Wedding is the most important day for the new couple. It is understandable that you may need to make preparations when attending such an important event.

Just inform your boss a few days earlier about this request and make all necessary arrangements to complete all your required task at work.

Be honest and only use this reason when it is actually true.


You want to leave work early, you want to give yourself the best possible chance succeeding. If that’s the case, here are some tips you should keep in mind when asking your boss or employer

Research before you speak

Do your research about your company’s culture, policy, and manager’s personalities.

If your boss is a woman, she will be much more understandable if your reason for leaving work early is about family issues, or woman’s health issues.

If your boss is a parent, he or she will be much more understandable if it is a parenting related issue.

If your company’s culture is task oriented, it will be much easier to leave work early, if you can prove that your task can be completed even with this request.

Deliver professionally

You should deliver your request to your boss or manager as professional as possible.

You are never entitled to time off, but you should not beg your boss either.

Instead, explain why you need to leave early and what you can do to ensure there is no impact to fulfil the team’s priorities.

Time your request

Timing is probably one of the most important factor when you want your boss to agree to let you leave work early.

You will not want to make this request when your employer is angry about something.

You will not want to make this request when your team is rushing to complete a certain task where your contribution is important.

Choose the right moment, where the atmosphere is calm and relax to make your request.

Provide Solutions

If you are leaving work early, you may want to provide solutions on who to cover your work if necessary.

While it might be hard to find a last minute replacement, but getting one will increase your chances significantly.

Provide necessary document

If you are on a medical appointment or having any home emergency, it will be a good idea to provide any supporting document to your employer.

Sometimes, your boss need to answer to their boss on why you are absent.

A supporting document will be a good way for your boss to support his or her decision on letting you leave work early.

“Why do you need to leave work early and not to overwork yourself?”

Check out this video below!

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