Good (and Bad) Excuses to Leave Work Early
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded CareerToolBelt.com and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years.
Do you need a good excuse for leaving work early? There are many reasons why you may need to leave work early or come in late. Some appointments and other obligations can’t always be scheduled around working hours.
Or maybe you just need to escape from the office. If you do, you’re not the only one. Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation Survey reports that 34% of respondents had taken a sick day when they weren’t actually ill.
Here’s advice on company guidelines for taking time off, tips for asking permission to leave, and some of the best (and worst) excuses for asking to leave early or come in late to work.
Factors That Help (or Hurt) Your Chances of Leaving Early
Typically, it’s not a big deal to get out of work early once in a while. But some circumstances can make it easier—or harder—to get your manager’s approval. If you’re lucky, you work for a company that’s flexible and understanding. If not, you may have to work around company policy and formal approval to get permission for time off.
Organizational culture. Company culture is an important factor. Some companies expect workers to report early and stay late in the office to prove their dedication, while others encourage employees to maintain their well-being and keep a healthy work-life balance.
Company policy may provide for excused absences for part of the workday. If you’re not sure how much time off you’re allowed to take for partial day absences, check with your employee handbook, supervisor, or Human Resources department.
Your relationship with your supervisor. If you get along with your boss, it may be easier to persuade them to allow you to leave early. Some of this is within your control—for example, you can foster a trusting relationship by being honest and reliable—and some of it is the luck of the draw. If you and your boss have communication issues or other interpersonal problems, it will obviously be harder to convince them.
In general, employees whose supervisors and colleagues view them as dedicated are more likely to be treated favorably in the workplace and, in some cases, are more likely to get special privileges.
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About This Article
This article was co-authored by Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is an in-house legal expert at wikiHow. Jennifer reviews, fact-checks, and evaluates wikiHow’s legal content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. She received her JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. This article has been viewed 366,390 times.
If you want to get out of an employment contract, you’ll need to find out the terms of your contract and decide on a valid way to end it. The easiest way to do this is to agree with the other party to terminate the contract early by mutual agreement. If you can’t do this, read through your contract to find the valid reasons for terminating it. For example, your contract may include a provision that it can be ended if you’re physically incapable of performing your work, or if the other party fails to live up to their obligations. Alternatively, you may be able to give the other party notice that you’re ending the contract, which can vary from a week or 2 to several months. If none of these options are possible, try to reach a deal with your employer, such as offering to stay in the job until they find a replacement. For tips from our Legal co-author on how to determine if your contract can be voided, keep reading!