excuses to come into work late

35 Best Excuses to Come Into Work Late

We’ve all had those mornings where getting to work on time seems impossible. Whether it’s unexpected traffic, a sudden family emergency, or a late start, sometimes you need a good excuse to come into work late. Knowing the right reasons to use can help you maintain your professional reputation without adding unnecessary stress to your day.

Let’s explore some common, valid, and even creative excuses that can make those tough mornings a bit easier to handle.

excuses to come into work late

Valid Excuses to Come Into Work Late

1. “There was a major accident on the highway”

Traffic accidents are unpredictable and can cause significant delays. Mentioning a major accident on your route is a plausible reason for being late. Just be sure not to use this excuse too often, as it might raise eyebrows.

2. “My train was delayed”

Public transportation is not always reliable. A delayed or canceled train can easily throw off your morning schedule. This is a common issue in many cities, making it a believable excuse.

3. “The weather was terrible”

Extreme weather conditions like heavy rain, snowstorms, or fog can slow down traffic and make driving hazardous. It’s a reasonable explanation for arriving late, especially during winter months. Always keep an eye on the weather forecast to prepare for such events.

4. “I had a family emergency”

Family emergencies are unavoidable and can happen at any time. Whether it’s a sick child or an elderly relative needing help, your boss is likely to understand the urgency of such situations. Always communicate these emergencies as soon as possible.

5. “I was stopped by the police”

When in trouble, blame the police. Getting stopped on the highway is bound to delay you some extra minutes. Especially when you have to hand in all your personal information, and then you end up getting caught in extra traffic. Never tell your boss that you were caught for speeding, though, because they’ll want proof. Just say that they were doing random checks on the highway (lying hurts, I know).

6. “I had a plumbing emergency”

Burst pipes or severe leaks at home require immediate attention. Explaining that you had to wait for a plumber to fix the issue is a valid reason for being late. Home emergencies are often unpredictable and unavoidable.

7. “My car wouldn’t start”

Car troubles can happen unexpectedly. A dead battery or other mechanical issues can leave you stranded and unable to get to work on time. Regular car maintenance can help prevent these situations, but sometimes they are inevitable.

8. “My child was sick”

If you have children, unexpected illnesses are a part of life. Having to take your child to the doctor or stay home until a caregiver arrives is a valid and understandable reason for being late. Always ensure you have a backup plan for childcare, but know that emergencies do happen.

9. “There was a power outage”

A sudden power outage can disrupt your morning routine, leaving you without electricity to get ready for work. Mentioning a local power outage is a plausible excuse that your boss is likely to accept. This can affect everything from your alarm clock to your ability to get dressed and leave on time.

10. “I had a medical appointment”

Pre-scheduled doctor or dentist appointments can sometimes run longer than expected. If your appointment was early in the morning, it’s reasonable to explain that it caused a delay in your arrival at work. Always try to inform your supervisor ahead of time if you have such appointments.

11. “I locked myself out of my house”

Misplacing your keys or accidentally locking yourself out is a common mishap. Waiting for a locksmith to arrive can take some time, making this a plausible excuse for being late. It’s frustrating but can happen to anyone, and your boss will likely understand. Just make sure it doesn’t become a frequent occurrence.

12. “I had a flat tire”

A flat tire can happen unexpectedly and usually requires immediate attention. Changing the tire or waiting for roadside assistance can delay your arrival at work. It’s always a good idea to know how to change a tire, but sometimes professional help is unavoidable. Keep a spare tire and tools in your car to minimize delays.

13. “My alarm didn’t go off”

Sometimes technology fails us. Whether it’s a power outage that resets your alarm clock or a phone issue, not waking up on time is a believable excuse. Double-check your alarms and consider setting multiple devices to avoid this. It’s a simple mistake that can happen to anyone.

14. “I had to help a neighbor”

Helping a neighbor in distress, such as assisting them with an emergency or giving them a ride, is a valid reason for being late. It shows your willingness to help others in need. Explain the situation to your boss; they will likely appreciate your community spirit. Just ensure it’s a genuine reason and not overused.

15. “There was an unexpected road closure”

Road closures due to construction, accidents, or events can force you to take a longer, alternative route. This can significantly delay your commute. Always check traffic reports before leaving to anticipate such issues. If possible, find an alternate route to minimize the delay.

16. “I lost my wallet”

Losing your wallet can cause panic and require immediate action, such as searching for it or contacting your bank. This situation can delay your departure for work. It’s important to secure your finances quickly to prevent any potential fraud. Let your employer know the urgency of the situation.

17. “I had to wait for a delivery”

Some deliveries require a signature, and waiting for the delivery person to arrive can make you late. This is especially true for important packages or furniture deliveries. Schedule deliveries for times when you’re home, or use a trusted neighbor to receive them. Explain the importance of the delivery to your boss.

18. “My pet ran away”

If your pet escapes, you may need to spend time looking for them before heading to work. This is a believable and urgent reason for being late. Pets are family too, and their safety is important. Communicate the situation clearly to your employer.

19. “I had a minor injury”

Small injuries like cutting yourself while preparing breakfast or a minor fall can delay your morning routine as you address the issue and ensure you’re okay. These incidents can disrupt your schedule significantly. Take a few moments to properly treat any injury to avoid further complications. Inform your workplace of the delay due to the injury.

20. “I was dealing with an allergic reaction”

Sudden allergic reactions can be serious and require immediate attention, such as taking medication or visiting a doctor. This can understandably delay your arrival at work. Make sure to carry any necessary medication with you at all times. Notify your supervisor about the medical issue and its impact on your schedule.

21. “I had a dentist emergency”

Sudden tooth pain or a dental emergency can necessitate an immediate visit to the dentist, delaying your work schedule. Dental issues can be quite painful and urgent. Inform your employer as soon as you realize you need medical attention. Make sure to provide updates if the appointment takes longer than expected.

22. “I had to handle a power outage at home”

Power outages can cause significant disruptions, especially if you need to secure your home or address other issues like resetting devices and appliances. These outages can impact your ability to get ready on time. Notify your supervisor about the situation. If possible, provide an estimated time of arrival once the power issue is resolved.

23. “I experienced a blackout”

Sometimes people faint or experience dizziness in the morning, requiring a short period to recover before they can safely travel to work. These health issues are unpredictable and require careful attention. Explain the medical situation to your employer. Ensure you’re fully recovered before heading out to prevent further health risks.

24. “I was stuck in an elevator”

Getting stuck in an elevator is a rare but possible situation that can delay your arrival significantly as you wait for maintenance to resolve the issue. It can be a stressful experience. Contact building management immediately for assistance. Inform your workplace about the delay and your current situation.

25. “I had to resolve an internet issue”

If you rely on the internet for remote work or other essential activities, a sudden outage might require you to wait for a technician or troubleshoot the problem. This can delay your start time. Make sure to communicate the issue promptly to your supervisor. Try to find an alternate way to connect if possible.

26. “I was taking care of a visiting relative”

If you have guests staying over, especially elderly relatives or those with special needs, you might need to assist them before leaving for work. This can include helping them with their morning routine or addressing any urgent needs. Explain the situation to your employer and estimate when you’ll be able to arrive. It shows your dedication to family responsibilities.

27. “I experienced food poisoning”

Sudden food poisoning can cause severe discomfort and delay your ability to leave the house until you feel better or seek medical attention. It’s important to prioritize your health in such situations. Notify your workplace as soon as you can about the delay. Rest and recover to avoid further illness.

28. “I had a wardrobe malfunction”

Spills, tears, or other clothing issues can require you to change your outfit last minute, delaying your departure. It’s always good to have a backup outfit ready. Explain the situation to your boss briefly. Being prepared for such mishaps can minimize delays in the future.

29. “I was waiting for my babysitter to arrive”

If your babysitter is late or cancels last minute, you may need to find an alternative solution before heading to work. Childcare arrangements are crucial and sometimes unpredictable. Communicate the situation to your employer. Having a backup plan can help mitigate such delays.

30. “I had to clean up a spill at home”

Large spills or messes, especially those that could cause damage, require immediate attention, delaying your departure for work. Quick cleanups can prevent more significant issues later. Explain the situation to your boss. Regular home maintenance can help avoid such emergencies.

31. “I was dealing with identity theft issues”

If you discover unauthorized transactions or other signs of identity theft, you might need to contact your bank and handle the situation urgently. This can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Notify your employer about the emergency. Take immediate steps to secure your finances.

32. “I was delayed by a protest or parade”

Sometimes public events like protests or parades can block roads and delay your commute significantly. Check local news for any planned events on your route. Inform your workplace about the delay. Finding alternate routes can sometimes help avoid such delays.

33. “I had to meet with a contractor”

If you’re having home repairs done, you might need to meet with a contractor or repair person early in the morning, delaying your departure. These appointments are often necessary and unavoidable. Explain the situation to your employer and provide an estimated time of arrival. Planning these meetings outside of work hours when possible can help.

34. “I was dealing with a pet emergency”

Pets can have emergencies that require immediate attention, like sudden illness or injury, delaying your departure. Your pet’s health and well-being are important. Notify your workplace about the delay and the reason. Ensure your pet receives the necessary care before heading to work.

35. “I had to wait for the police to resolve an incident”

If you witnessed an incident or were involved in a minor accident, you might need to wait for the police to arrive and take statements before you can leave. This can be a time-consuming process. Inform your employer about the situation and your delay. Cooperating with the authorities is essential for resolving such incidents.

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