Excuses for Being Late to Work

Many people have often given out excuses for being late to work and the reason may be due to avoidable or unavoidable circumstances.

The common reason why many people are late to work is because they oversleep and end up being stuck in a crazy traffic. Sometimes setting that alarm is not good enough to make many get up from the bed. Little snoozing of the alarm leads to morning laziness that eventually make one to get late to work.

Many people get away with their mistakes by giving excuses and since some cannot be verified or sometime following them may lead to time wastage, the Human resource officer decide just to blindly believe.

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It’s funny how people give fake excuses for being late to work. Many human resource persons have given accounts of some of the excuses such as failure to hear the alarm, muted alarm clock’s sound, sleeping late, power failure, disturbance by the kids and many more.

Below we have looked at the best excuses many people have tried to give their boss on the day they find themselves unexpectedly late for work.

Excuses for Being Late to Work


One the most common excuse given by many employees for being late to work is that the traffic was unbearable. Many go ahead and give the cause of the huge traffic like an accident, interruption by certain activity, car break down along the highway etc.

People try to give explanation why they had to be late due to traffic since in most cases heavy traffic is normally expected especially during peak hours. So to make it look like more extra ordinary many lie there was unexpected interruption that made the traffic worse.

Circumstances to give and when not to give traffic as an excuse for being late to work

Not always does this excuse work, a good number of people have been fired for being late to work. Be careful when to give out this excuse

When to give out the excuse of traffic as reason of being late to work

If you had given out the same excuse in the recent time. Your boss will expect that you understand the routine of traffic in your area and hence expects you to adjust to it and be able to report to work on time

Do not give out an excuse of traffic if you come from the same area with your boss. Chances are that he may have reported early than you, so you have no reason why you couldn’t do the same.

On the hand you can give an excuses of traffic as reason for being late to work if:

  • There was unexpected interruption of traffic flow,
  • there was an accident,
  • unexpected weather condition that interfered with traffic etc.
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On a normal circumstance these situations are expected to affect traffic and if you base your excuse on these facts then you are likely to get no blame for your lateness.

Car breakdown

Another good excuse you can give for being late to work is that your car broke down. This excuse may actually work because no one can predict when a car will malfunction. Unless you are sure that no one will buy your idea, if you have a car and one day you find yourself late to work then you can always pull out this excuse

Circumstances to give and when not to give car breakdown as an excuse for being late to work

The most obvious reason not to give out this excuse is when everyone in office knows that you do not have a car.

The other one is when you recently bought a good car that has less chances of breaking down

However, if you have a car that has been having mechanical issues then you can use the car break down as a cover up.

Not feeling well

It is expected that at one point our body can take a toll on us, although it’s not the best excuse to give, when you are out of excuses you can try out this one. Try to inform your boss or supervisor of your delay to report to work due to minor illness that you are trying to find a solution to.

Times not to use illness as an excuse for being late to work

If you have recently given out that excuses then forget about it the next time you are late, it may look like a habit you have formed.

If you have a health condition that often need attention and makes you to take your off days, then do not use sickness as a scape goat even when you are well. It may create an image that you are unable to deal with your work

To be safe when using this excuse ensure that your work policy does not require proof of sickness as one reason for being late or taking off days.

Delay in public transport

If you use public transport as means of getting to work, then you can pull out this excuse. It could a delay in arrival of train or bus. Everyone know that the public transport can be predicable but at times it can have delays.

When to use this excuse

If there is no way for your boss or supervisor to check out the reality on the ground. For instance, a delay in a public bus will less likely be detected than a delay in a train station or airport.

On the side you cannot use this excuse if the area you are living in has no public buses, trains or cabs.

Unfavorable Weather condition

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One of the best excuse to give for being late to work is the bad weather condition. Depending on the season you can for instance say it rained and flooded in your area, or the road were impassable due to the heavy snow etc. Use the most appropriate excuse favorable to you.

Situations when not to use Unfavorable Weather condition as an excuse of being late to work

Do not say it was flooded during a season when rain is not expected chance are that it will come out as lie.

Another one is if you come from same area with other employee who were on time

However, if the weather forecast has predicted bad weather condition in certain areas then you can use this excuse and it will come out as true.

Urgent matters related close family member

Many employees base their lateness to work to problems related to family. It could be an illness of close family member, accident, or any problem such as addiction, hospitalization, schools bus delay to pick my kids, discharge of my mu from hospital etc.

You can easily get away with this excuse but if you know that your boss is likely to meet with any person where he/she can mention the matter then it is good to avoid it. Chances are that you will get discovered and the next time you actually get into a real problem no one will believe you

Pets problem

Another atypical confession many people use is in regard to their pets. For instance, the pets might have got stuck in a hole, roof or even in a window grill. The pet might have run out and got lost or simply it may have become ill.

Being locked indoors

You can also say that you got locked inside the house by your children and you had to look for an alternative exit. Although this is an excuse that may is less convincing it can still work.

Other excuses you can use for being late to work

  • As a new employee you can say you had problems of getting alternative route since the one you are used to was closed
  • If you are a pregnant lady, you can actually say that the morning sickness had a good part of your morning and you did everything possible to feel better so as to get to work on time
  • You can also say that a thief’s tried to get into your house but you informed the police early so the criminal run off before they were caught
  • My eye glasses broke and had to take them for repair since I cannot do much without them
  • My son who has an addiction problem, nearly overdosed and had to take him to a hospital
  • My car keys got lost and had to find a replacement
  • I realized my car insurance was expired and had to pass by my insurance agency to renew it
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Points to remember before giving out any excuses for being late to work

Before giving out any excuses of being late it would be prudent to:

  • Inform your boss as early as possible, do not wait until time has passed then you start calling him/her. It is advisable you inform him/her of your lateness before your reporting hours are passed
  • Try to give to less excuses as possible even your boss is human and will likely get tired of your excuse and it can get you fired
  • Do not give a lot explanation for your excuse, it may make it look like a lie that you are trying to cover
  • In a situation where you have a reasonable reason for being late then give it instead of giving another excuse
  • Where necessary try to cover up for the time wasted
  • Apologize for being late and acknowledge that you know it portrays a bad example and even affect team work since your team members have to either wait for you or waste time giving you updates.
  • Do not make lateness a habit, such a chronic habit may raise eyebrows

Apology for being late for work

It is good to apologize for being late for work, your boss and team members need to see that you are really sorry for the time you have delayed them in one way or another.

As mentioned previously, do not make it habit for you to be always late to work, it may not portray a good picture especially where you have other junior employees looking up to you

Another clear way of acknowledging your mistake is by correcting it and even go a step further and looking for extra time to cover all the time lost


Some excuses for being late to work can be outrageous, and many employees think that their employers are too vague to believe them. Truth be told, in most cases your boss knows when you are using excuses as a cover up. The best solution for being late to work is reporting to work early. Plan your schedule in a way that you beat that traffic. This will ensure that when you are actually late no one will judge you since you are always on time in most days.

The above excuses for being late may work or not, so it’s up to you to know when to apply them. Take the necessary action to ensure that all will be well.