20 Best Excuses for Being Late for Work (Updated)

20 Best Excuses for Being Late for Work (Updated)

On many occasions, we often face challenges getting ready for work that could be the reason for being late to work in the morning. Here, we shall be revealing some excuses for being 1 or 2 hours late to work, which could be last-minute excuses to be late to work.

Everyone will occasionally be late for work, and sometimes the excuses will be absurd. And occasionally it’s acceptable to tell a small white lie.

The worst reasons for being late for work are “I couldn’t get out of bed” and “the coffee ran out.” No, if you tell your boss that a zebra stopped traffic or that a powerful typhoon hit your home, he won’t believe you.

If you are running behind schedule, please provide a good explanation. You might have to put on your best act and tell a small white lie, but at least you won’t get your boss’ approved nod.

While punctuality is crucial in the workplace, it’s important to acknowledge that unforeseen circumstances can occasionally cause delays. Instead of relying on the same excuse of spending 30 minutes, these alternative explanations provide a variety of valid and acceptable reasons for being late to work.

By diversifying our explanations, we can maintain professionalism and avoid repetitive excuses. Remember, open communication and honesty with your employer are always key when dealing with tardiness.

Checkout for 20 Best Excuses for Being Late to Work (Updated)

1. ‘There was too much traffic’

Sorry for the delay, but a lane closure resulted in a severe traffic jam. Those annoying road workers, huh? This is a fairly simple and transparent justification for being late for work. It’s not your fault, and there’s no way to demonstrate that hitting the snooze button was the real reason you were late. Stupid, I know.

2. ‘My babysitter let me down’

A little late for work? It would be perfectly reasonable to claim that your babysitter let you down that morning if you have children. Finding a substitute at eight in the morning isn’t simple, and it will inevitably cause your day to be delayed. Your boss has no reason to challenge this justification because you cannot leave the kids home alone.

3. ‘A family member was sick’

No one is harmed by the occasional white lie, right? If you’re late to work, it would probably be simple to inform your manager that your child or partner needs medical attention at 8 a.m. Additionally, your manager probably will show some compassion (oops).

4. ‘My pet ran away’

The morning hairdryer just doesn’t want to work sometimes. If that’s the real cause of your tardiness, it’s time to come up with a better justification to give your manager. Let’s say your dog Benji escaped your gates, and you had to spend a half-hour chasing him down the street. This justification will work well if your manager has a soft spot for animals.

5. ‘My car broke down’

Having to drive to work has drawbacks. Sometimes unfortunate events occur, and your car simply won’t start in the morning. In classic Friends fashion, tell your employer that something was wrong with the “left phalange” and that your vehicle was to blame for your tardiness. Let’s hope they have no knowledge of automobiles.

6. ‘I was stopped by the police’

Blame the police if you get into trouble. You will undoubtedly accrue additional time if you are stopped on the highway. Particularly if you have to submit all of your personal information and then get stuck in additional traffic. However, never tell your boss that you were pulled over for speeding because they will demand proof. Just mention that there were sporadic checks on the road (lying hurts, I know).

7. ‘I felt very ill’

Each of us has experienced mornings when we felt like death had warmed up. Your boss has, too, we’re sure. So, you can cite this as a justification for your tardiness. You can avoid your manager’s disapproving look by using plausible excuses when you call in sick, such as “I feel dizzy” or “I’m projectile vomiting.”

8. ‘The weather was terrible’

It’s best you come up with a more plausible excuse for your boss if waking up from a terrible nightmare left you too frightened to get to work on time. Describe how the snowy or rainy weather caused your car to become stuck or the closure of the roads. This could even be the best justification for taking a day off work.

9. ‘My water pipes burst’

Use justifications that will win your boss’ sympathy, such as claiming that your water pipes burst. There is no way to prove it didn’t happen, and it will also explain why you appear frazzled this morning (when in reality, you were prevented from getting out of bed by a spider in the bedroom). Your work had to wait because you had to mop your house while you waited for the maintenance man to arrive.

10. ‘I lost my bag’

You stopped on the way to work to pick up a bottle of milk for the office (bonus points for being kind to your coworkers), but then you realized you had left your bag in the store. It was already 9.30 by the time you realized what had happened and returned to the store. A good way to avoid getting reprimanded by your employer is to pretend that your bag was stolen.

11. ‘I was held up at the doctors’

You scheduled your appointment well in advance of the time you were expected to arrive at work, but due to the crowded waiting area and lengthy wait time, you missed your appointment. That justification will make your boss feel better, I tell you. Your employer is always worried about doctor’s appointments, so this excuse for being late might even win you some brownie points. Remember to fake a cough.

12. ‘I was called to school’

Another untruth that will pass as a valid excuse for being late. If you have children, inform your manager that the headteacher called you to pick up your child from school because they were being disruptive or because they were ill. Add, “As a fellow parent, I really hope you understand,” to play the fool on your boss. Kids these days are ugh!

13. ‘The subway/bus was out of order’

This defense will be simple for those who commute to work via public transportation. Simply call in late and inform your supervisor that the subway is closed because of maintenance, or that your regular bus didn’t arrive due to a drivers’ strike. This is the ideal justification for arriving late.

14. ‘There’s been a death in the family’

This justification is pretty dramatic, but if arriving late to work jeopardizes your job, it’s time to call the devil and concoct a terrible lie. A plausible excuse for your tardiness is that a family member passed away late last night or early this morning. No boss will inquire about this private matter. Just be sure to tell the tale while maintaining your poker face.

15. ‘I had a car accident’

When you show up for work on a Monday morning an hour late, this cover-up makes perfect sense. You only need to tell your employer that while you were driving to work, someone struck the back of your car, and you had to wait for insurance to arrive and handle the situation.

16. ‘I have bad cramps’

There are benefits to being a woman sometimes. You can soften your boss’ heart by explaining that you are running late because of excruciating menstrual cramps. If your manager is a man, he’ll probably feel awkward talking about it, but if it’s a woman, she will sympathize with you. We have got the Trump card, ladies.

17. ‘I got splashed in a puddle’

Those insignificant drivers, ugh. You have to walk to work in the rain, and as you do, a car passes by, and suddenly you get splashed. That just means you have to return home to change into a different outfit. This justification is preferable to claiming you were abducted by aliens.

18. ‘It’s personal’

You don’t always need a full-fledged cover story to justify your tardiness. You need only explain to your manager that you were delayed due to “personal reasons.” Mention that you’d prefer not to discuss a delicate issue that just came up. If your boss doesn’t press you for an explanation, “it’s personal” sounds like a pretty good excuse to let you off the hook.

19. ‘I lost my car keys’

One of the best ways to demonstrate professionalism at work is to arrive on time. But kids do happen occasionally. You’re running late because you enjoy snoozing in? Use the justification that you spent a half-hour looking for your car keys before the commute to work because your unruly children misplaced them.

20. ‘My house got burglarized’

Yes, this is dramatic, but it’s preferable to tell your boss that you wasted time on the phone with your friend. Use your best Meryl Streep impression to explain that you had to wait for the police to show up and take fingerprints because your home had been broken into early in the morning. Tragic.


Because of the events of life, you are late. Even the best of us experience it. Just don’t make it a habit, and instead, make being on time a part of your professional conduct. With our list, we hope you won’t run out of justifications if you can’t help being late.

Have you ever used a legitimate justification for being late to work? Please share them with us in the comments section below.