We have a question on our online application that goes like this, “What would you consider an acceptable reason to call out of work?” We ask the question to try to gauge the potential employee’s attitude and overall approach to calling out. If they are someone who thinks it’s OK to call out because their uncle’s cousin’s niece has a cold or because Fluffy needs a mani-pedi, they probably aren’t going to be a good fit for our clients. 

In fairness, nobody I’ve seen has admitted to anything that off-base (so far!), but they have provided some funny lines over the past couple of years.

So, without further ado, here are a few real life answers, provided by a sampling of last year’s applicants, to our “What would you consider an acceptable reason to call out of work?” question. 

There are more than 10, many more actually, but I just had too much good, or bad, material to edit them down that far. 

For comedic purposes, I have left them unedited, with spelling errors intact. Additionally, for privacy and impartiality I sorted the spreadsheet I got these from by this question alone, leaving the names and other information entirely off before I even printed it to view.

To be fair, the vast majority of the answers to this question and others were completely normal, and it cannot be said enough that we appreciate ALL of our applicants!

But, it sure is hard to resist sharing some of the funnier ones with our Staffing Talk readers!

(My comments are throughout the post and will be italicized.)

From the “I watch waaay to much TV” category

Contagious illness as per CDC directives

Broken leg / LOL or a gunshot wound?(red flag anyone??)

There are a few. Death, being sick, and being held captive

Earth ending…

Something catastrophic like my car blowing up or house burning down

From the “So, how often DO you plan to be in court?” category

Legal obligation stating that you have to be in a certain place at a certain time by court order (hmmmm….)

Seeing probation officer…

Court ordered classes

Legal problems…

If you absolutely have to go to the doctor, or legal reasons

Death in the family, broke bone, court ext.

From the “That’s the spirit but you’re trying just a bit too hard!” category

If you were physically too sick to work which for me I’d have to almost be dead for that to happen.

I never and have never left my duties (job) for anything

I grew up farming/working. Farmers don’t take sick days!

I work regardless but death would be a reasonable call in

Honestly there is none for me unless you are on your death bed

Coma or impending death

Being sick and when I say sick I don’t mean just a sore throat!  (Oddly enough, this is actually a pretty good approach!)

Baby deadly sick Grandmother and if I’m so sick I can’t move no matter what u make u get to work just be happy to have a job!

No acceptable reasons

Don’t call out

Baby being born or very close to dying. Nothing less

Act of God

Being dog sick  (At least they’re not saying because their dog is sick, but we’ve had those before!)

Not sure I have never done it  (yeah, right…)

You better be dying to call out

Your dead  (Hard to argue with THAT logic!)

From the “just…. Wow…” category

Missing leg

Limb detachment

Lost limb

Bleeding from the eyeballs…

From the “Sad state
of America’s schools” category

Ill only if you were incompassitated


A deth in famliey


A bad econamony

A death in the family such as your kids or ammidiate family

Being sick where I am contagis to others

A family matter that couldn’t be avoid it

103 temp, throwing up or very sick, car blows up and can't find aride on some occurrences

I beter be ded 

If u are running a temperature! Don’t wanna spread garms

Being in the hospital or a family member pasting a way  (sigh…)

If I am very sick or severe incriminate weather

Any sickness that would keep you from proforming the tasks of the job

Baby doctor apportionment

The flu, streptacocus, or any other infectious sickness, a
broken bone, death in the family, house burned down, or winning the lottery

Family member pasted  (Yeah, we’ve probably had a few call out for this before, but this is the first to admit it on the question!)


Pheumonia  (phew!)

Near death sitiuations…

If you have a decease that could affect your co worker’s health.

Immidate family passes away or extremely sick walking ammonia for example

Family death – that be it. Notthing else

Rick ur car

Car reack

Car brakes down…

I wouldn’t because I’m a had worker

Having broken bones or so sick ya cant get outa bed or if my car was to quit running but probably an hopily wont

Destin family

Being in the hospital and your woman having berth

Sick or deaf in your family

From the “Please, oh please make students correctly spell “emergency” before they get their diploma!!” category

Family emerngie

Family emergenty

Family emergency’s


Life threating emergancy’s



Family death or emergansy…

Family emergies or sick

From the “Ugh, club female on head and drag to cave” category

Being in the hospital and your woman having berth

From the “TMI”
category – (folks, this isn’t for the faint of heart)

Sick like throwing up or caint get off the toilet (this one could have made the speller category too!)

Death can’t stop puking

If I’m throwing up and can’t move

If you are running a fever or puking

Throwing up on both ends

Uncontrollable bowel movements

Vomiting squirts or on death bed

Well just like Gatorade you couldn’t work with an upset stomach.

Being sick that you are constantly in the bathroom or having to lie horizontal to feel better

From the “Whuuut?”

Only multiple broken bones or SEVERE flu symptoms (if contagious). And well… death qualifies I suppose. Just imagine the roaming fees for a call like that…  (OK, points for creativity here!)

It is very detrimental for employees to be punctual and have excellent attendance.  (Please don’t use big words unless you know how to use them!)

Never work if you are sick or not 

Usually there isn’t one, but things do come up  (Yeah, just how often do “things come up” for you?)

Something that is hindering you from working… runny nose  (Wow,
what else would hinder you from working? A broken nail?)

Any  (There were a few who answered this way – needless to say if they were hired we questioned them a bit more than usual!)

Being layed off  (OK, you got us there.)

Dental so forth

Car broke down, death, or for  me my horses are lose or brke the fince but that only takes aminet so I never misss work I work no matter what I live by myself and no one to take care of me. 

I do not know the appropriate answer to this question (This isn’t really designed to be a right or wrong kind of question, but this is definitely the wrong answer!)

From the “Please, oh puhleeeeze give me a job” category

I just need to make some money my husband is not working at the moment and we need the money he is waiting on unemployment from his employer and have not got it yet…

From the “Juuuust a teensy bit too specific” category

To attend my mothers funeral

If my mother just passed away, but nothing else

6 to 7 inches of snow (So,
4 inches and you’re good, right?)

A cracked rib and a hospital note

And finally, an example of an ideal response (Again, most of our responses, to be fair, were actually just fine!)

Calling out should be reserved for true emergencies such as illness or family emergencies


Feel free to add some more of your very own favorites in the comments section!