Acceptable Reasons for Calling into Work

What is a legitimate excuse for not coming in to work? What qualifies as a sick day and what will get you a reprimand? You may hate taking any of your sick days, or you may already be maxed-out and it’s March. Whichever end of the spectrum you land on, here are some good reasons for taking a sick day.

Contagious illness

This could be everything from the flu to a sore throat. When you’re sick, you will not be very productive. Add to that the possibility of your coworkers becoming ill as well, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. So what kind of illnesses would this cover? The flu, stomach sickness, fevers, pink eye and sore throats are some of the reasons you may want to call in sick. It works, because you actually are sick. The key to this is that it is contagious; and others could catch whatever you have. For the sake of your coworkers, please, just stay home.


Of course, if a family member dies, call in and let your boss know you’re not going to be able to come into work. This has been a standard acceptable reason not to go to work. However, never lie. If your boss finds out that your family member did not actually pass away, you’ll be in big trouble; and your trustworthiness will be called into question.

Family sickness

If your kid has to stay home from school sick, it’s acceptable for you to take a sick day. After all, you’re probably not going to be able to find a sitter who wants to hang out with your ill child. Explain why you can’t come in, and leave it at that. Your boss will appreciate your forth-rightness rather than you coming up with a crazy excuse for why you can’t work. Most workplaces are okay with you taking off a certain amount of days throughout the year for family issues.

Doctor’s Appointments

Do your best to schedule your appointments for late in the day or early in the morning, not at 1 p.m. This way, you can get to your appointment without having to take off too much time. Even if you schedule your appointment for late afternoon, you’ll still be leaving work earlier than usual, which will give you some time to relax and kick back, even if it is in the doctor’s office.


Or any other weather that would make it dangerous to get to your job. If you’re hiding out in your basement because of a tornado, call in, let your boss know you’ll be a little late. They’ll probably already be aware of whatever natural disaster is going on, and won’t have any problem telling you not to come into work. Rainy days and light snowfall don’t count, though, so don’t try to use those as an excuse.

Some unacceptable reasons: being hungover, laziness, disliking your boss, procrastination, you fill in the blank. You’ve probably read of, or heard of yourself, many excuses that are just plain outrageous. Whatever your reason is, make sure it’s legitimate, and don’t lie to your boss. If you have to lie about it, then it’s probably not a good reason to skip out on work.

Posted in Career Resources