20 Great Excuses to Leave Work Early That Your Boss Cannot Deny

Navigating the delicate balance between work and personal life is a challenge we’ve all faced. Whether it’s an important event, looming deadlines, or just the need for a mental break, finding the right excuses to leave work early can be a lifesaver. Let’s explore a variety of scenarios and reasons, delving into some creative and practical excuses that can help you make a graceful exit when needed.

Health Excuses to Leave Work Early

  1. An awful HeadacheAn excruciating migraine can be a compelling reason to leave work early. Expressing sensitivity to light and noise adds authenticity to your plea for relief.
  2. A Doctor’s AppointmentA classic, fool-proof excuse, especially effective when planned well in advance. Be cautious not to overuse it, as frequent doctor’s appointments might raise suspicions.
  3. An Upset StomachCoupling an upset stomach with bathroom troubles is a convincing combination. Most employers understand the urgency and will allow you to head home for the day.
  4. Menstrual CrampsFor female employees, mentioning menstrual cramps can be a valid reason to leave work early. It’s a personal health issue that many employers won’t question.
  5. Tooth PainIf you anticipate needing to leave early, subtly build a case for severe tooth pain in advance. Alternatively, inform your boss about the struggle if it’s a sudden occurrence.
  6. Unexplained IllnessPortray an unspecified, potentially contagious illness like the flu to make your departure more acceptable to your boss.

Emergency Excuses

  1. Something Broke DownA flooded bathroom or a broken boiler at home serves as a valid reason to leave work early. Stress the urgency to prevent further damage.
  2. Car ProblemsClaiming car trouble, especially after lunch or if you were slightly late to work, can be a plausible excuse. Mention the need for immediate attention from a mechanic.
  3. Sick ChildParents can leverage a child’s sudden illness as an emergency, necessitating early departure. Exercise caution not to use this excuse excessively.
  4. Babysitter/Daycare EmergencyInform your boss about a childcare emergency, indicating the need to pick up your child urgently. This excuse is particularly effective for working parents.
  5. Home InvasionA more dramatic excuse, mentioning a potential home invasion can justify your early departure. Be prepared with a detailed story upon your return to work.
  6. Unexplained EmergencyCreate a sense of urgency by pretending to receive an alarming text or call, citing the need to leave quickly to handle the situation.

Personal Excuses

  1. Appliance DeliveryThe need to be at home for an appliance delivery during a large time slot is a believable excuse. Many can relate to this situation, making it convincing.
  2. Internet/Cable InstallationSimilar to appliance delivery, cable or internet installation requires your presence at home during a specific window, providing a reasonable excuse.
  3. Business Networking EventClaiming attendance at an important business networking event is an excellent excuse, especially in industries that value networking.
  4. Bank ErrandsUtilize the common occurrence of bank errands during business hours to justify your early departure. It doesn’t require intricate details.
  5. A WeddingAttending a family member’s wedding, especially if it involves travel, is a plausible excuse. However, this excuse should be sparingly used due to its infrequency.
  6. Out-of-Town VisitorsMentioning unexpected changes in plans for out-of-town visitors adds an element of spontaneity, making the excuse more believable.
  7. Kids/Partner is Locked OutClaim that your kids or partner is locked out of the house, and you possess the only key. This works well, especially in the final hours of the workday.
  8. Unexplained Personal IssueWhen all else fails, a simple declaration of a personal issue requiring your immediate attention can be an effective catch-all excuse.


Balancing work and personal life is essential for overall well-being. While honesty is generally the best policy, these excuses provide a toolkit for gracefully navigating situations when you need a break. Remember, moderation is key, and deploying these excuses judiciously ensures credibility and understanding from your employer.

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