20 Best and Worst Excuses for Being Late to Work

You’re not the only one who has been late to work at some point in their life. It’s a pretty common occurrence, and many excuses can be used when you get caught up in traffic or overslept. We will explore 20 best and worst excuses for being late to work – from the medically necessary “I have a cold” to the more creative “my dog ate my car keys.”  

The believable excuses for missing work 

Here are some good reasons for being late when asked: 

Bad weather conditions (like heavy rain or even snowfall)  

The best advice we can give you, in this case, is to plan and take the proper precautions. Bring a change of clothes with you so that if your car breaks down or gets stuck in the snow, you have something dry to wear. If you can’t bring an extra set of clothes with you, then wait until the weather clears up before heading out on your morning commute.  


Another reason why someone might be late to work is that they are sick. This happens a lot when people try to go in and push through the pain, but if their sickness becomes too severe, it’s probably best for them not to bother going to work at all. There isn’t much use complaining about being ill while you’re sitting behind your desk – there could always be somebody else who would appreciate that time off, so stay home until you feel better!  

Car Breakdown  

In some cases, people might show up late to work because their car broke down on them earlier in the morning. They were waiting until somebody else was able to come along and help them out (or maybe there wasn’t anyone around at all, so they had no choice but to wait until traffic died down a little bit before walking into work). That’s why it is always important to make sure someone knows where you are going if something happens – whether it means letting another person know where you are or make your next move in case of an emergency.  

Other good reasons for being late include: 

  1. A robbery occurred at my house 
  2. My block got flooded 
  3. Got involved in an accident\ 
  4. The babysitter cancelled 
  5. It’s personal 
  6. A family member fell sick 
  7. Medical checkup took longer than expected 

The Worst Coming Late To Office Reasons  

Here are the exact opposite of the best excuses for being late to work:

You Overslept 

This happens a lot, and some people will use this as their only excuse the next time they’re running late. However, if it’s becoming more common for you (and not just every once in a while), then there may be an underlying issue with your sleep schedule or something that has been causing you trouble sleeping lately. It could also mean that your alarm clock isn’t working properly either – maybe it doesn’t go off at all, so make sure to get a new one. Other excuses include: 

  • I ran out of milk for breakfast 
  • I got a hairbrush stuck in my hair 
  • My cat got stuck in the toilet 
  • Couldn’t find my pet early in the morning 
  • Alexa said Halloween was on a working day 
  • I had terrible nightmares, had to visit my pastor 
  • I couldn’t find my car keys 
  • Wasps invaded my apartment 
  • The lawnmower had mechanical issues 

There might be other reasons people can’t make it to work on time, but these are some of the most common ones we’ve seen lately. Remember, giving the best excuses for being late to work might not be a good work etiquette and might not save your job if your boss is tired of hearing them. However, it never hurts to give someone a little benefit of the doubt! We all have things happen from time to time, which can prevent us from getting where we need to go as soon as planned – so don’t take advantage of this by accusing somebody else of being unreliable or lazy at work!  

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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