Family Emergency Excuses for Work - Good or Bad

Family emergency excuses or events to inform your employer. Regardless of your job or sector, there will be occasions when you must request time off due to unforeseen circumstances. While most companies recognize that certain events are unforeseeable, understanding how to seek leave for a family emergency is an essential professional skill to have, even during difficult times.

Employers will recognize your professionalism, and upholding high standards demonstrates that you love your job and respect your coworkers.

family emergency excuses

Are family emergencies good excuses to miss work?

It's never a great idea to use a family emergency as an excuse for missing work. A sick child, for example, is simply not a great way to explain to your employer that there were unexpected circumstances that prevented you from returning to work.

Instead, use excuses that are less serious. Good excuses are simple and honest. For example, a mental health day. Or dealing with a serious health condition. Skipping work is not a serious issue with an employer. Though, lying to them, certain can be.

Bad excuse: Unexpected surgery.

Good excuse: Needing a mental health day.

Related: Excuses to get out of work

What is a leave for a family emergency? (actual reasons for family leave)

Leave for a family emergency is time off work to care for a close family member who has been involved in an accident, has developed a sudden illness, or has had another qualifying medical emergency.

Among the circumstances that qualify as family emergencies are the following:

  • The birth of a child.
  • Recent adoption or placement in foster care.
  • An immediate family member was involved in a car accident.
  • A close family member has been diagnosed with a serious disease.
  • An immediate family member who has been affected by a natural catastrophe.
  • Death or preparing a funeral for a family member.
  • A situation or occurrence that can jeopardize a family member's mental health.

While each company will have its own rules and processes for seeking leave, there are certain industry-wide standards for requesting family emergency leave from work. According to the Department of Labor, in the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects an employee's right to take time off for defined family and qualified medical reasons.

family emergency excuses

Typically, an immediate family member is one of the following:

  • Partner or spouse.
  • Parent or step-parent.
  • Grandparent.
  • Parental or legal guardian.
  • In-law mother or in-law father.
  • Sister-in-law or brother-in-law.

Related: Excuses to leave work early

How to ask for leave for family emergencies

To assist in securing your job within a company, maintaining your professionalism and reputation, and easing your transition upon your return, you will want to submit your request and notice through the right channels. Positive business cultures will have an employee support structure in place and will have clearly defined certain actions to assist you along the path.

family emergency excuses

Depending on your situation, you can send a professional email or submit a formal letter together with any needed documents, such as a birth certificate, doctor's notification, or death certificate if your employer demands it. When writing an emergency leave letter to attend to a family emergency, keep the following points in mind:

family emergency excuses

Follow company protocol

Adhere to business policy and procedure: Many companies have an employee handbook or other manual outlining the procedure for requesting time off for a family emergency. Occasionally, information can be obtained via a human resources department or risk management officer. Contacting a superior or reaching out might assist you in adhering to business policies quickly and easily.

Mention the emergency

Identify the nature of the emergency: While you can not want to add excessive detail, providing a summary of the issue is prudent for openness. To protect your relative's privacy, avoid providing excessive personal details, but disclose enough to demonstrate the need for your abrupt exit.

Mention the date

Specify the start date of the leave: Even if your leave will begin immediately, specify the start date for documentation and clarity. The company must account for your absence and prepare for work to be assigned to others beginning on the first day you are absent. This will assist you in further documenting your time and will enable you to use any vacation days toward family emergency leave and, if feasible, allot some revenue.

Be specific

Be precise about the date you intend to begin your leave and the date you intend to return to work: When describing the date you intend to begin your leave, attempt to include the date you intend to return to work. Make certain to include a phrase such as "I intend to return to work on..." in your wording.

Trust others with your responsibility

Assign tasks to others: You will want to explain your plan of action, much more so if you are in a leadership position. Indicate who is anticipated to assume your tasks and to what degree in your absence. Discuss your strategy with your coworkers in advance to ensure they understand and are capable of assisting with any responsibilities that can arise during your absence. Collaborating with others can help alleviate the load on the business and your coworkers.

Leave contact information

Leave contact information: Even if you are unable to work, you should reassure your employer that you are accessible to answer any questions or give assistance. Demonstrating that you are still accountable during your absence demonstrates your leadership abilities and employee values. Provide an email address that you intend to check on a regular basis in order to offer assistance and answer queries.

This also serves as a method of communicating your position to your staff and requesting additional time if necessary.

Additionally, give a contact phone number where you can be reached in the event of an emergency that requires your immediate attention. Maintaining open channels of contact and being accessible demonstrates a commitment to your job.

Be professional

Speak in a professional tone when delivering the facts. Your tone should be professional yet convey an urgency. Throughout your communication, use straightforward language and state any concerns you have about your absence.

This enables your employer to plan for these challenges and demonstrates the critical nature of the function you perform inside the organization.

End with gratitude

Conclude with an expression of appreciation. Express your gratitude to your employer for their assistance and understanding in this circumstance. Recognize their efforts in assisting you and give professional politeness.

family emergency excuses

Template to ask for family leave

You want to be precise and unambiguous when structuring your family emergency leave notification or request. Graphics, as well as any other pictures or emojis, should be avoided. While you can convey emotion in your communication, it is a professional document that will be preserved in your work record. Pursue clarity in your message and address your letter to a direct supervisor or the person responsible for granting leave requests for family emergencies. The following is a sample format for your professional request for family emergency leave, whether through email or letter:

Your name



Greetings, [supervisor or human resource manager]:

Paragraph 1: Explain why you will require emergency leave and when you expect it to begin in the first paragraph.

Paragraph 2: Describe your action plan and who will be responsible for carrying out your responsibilities, as well as the extent to which you will be active, even in your absence. Indicate how frequently you will contact your company and when they can expect an update.

Paragraph 3: This section allows you to state when you anticipate returning and the measures you will take if further time is required. Remind them of your contact details and express gratitude for their cooperation.

Sincerely, [or another succinct, professional conclusion]

Your name

Job title

Emergency leave letter example

Dear Julie,

This morning, I received a troubling phone call informing me that my mother had been involved in a vehicle accident. She is being brought to a nearby hospital, but the extent of her injuries is unknown at this time. I will immediately take emergency family leave to respond to this family problem.

I've discussed this with my immediate supervisor and team members. In my absence, my employees will manage my clients, and my supervisor will contact me through email with any questions. I'll check my messages every day and communicate with my teammates. Additionally, I anticipate receiving an update on the health of my mother within the next few days, at which point I will be able to offer a more complete picture.

I anticipate returning to work within a week of today, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. I will maintain touch with the company and communicate any critical information to my immediate supervisor. If more information or documentation, such as a doctor's note or police report, is required from me, please contact me and I will send it as soon as feasible.

In the case of a severe problem or urgent question, I can be reached at 444-555-4443 or by email at [email protected]. I will react as quickly as possible given the circumstances. I recognize that the little notice is inconvenient, but I was unable to avoid it. I appreciate your patience, support, and consideration in this situation.


John Smith

family emergency excuses

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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