What Are Some Good Excuses for Being Late?

Common excuses for being late to work include vehicle breakdowns, heavy traffic, forgetting something at home, illness, issues with getting children ready for school or day care and lack of sleep. Whether or not an excuse is acceptable is specific to an employer and company policy.

The most common reason for a worker to be late is traffic. While a worker could be late due to reasons such as taking care of a sick family member or finding a lost pet, employers tend to doubt unusual excuses. The worker's personality, work ethic and past performance can also determine whether the excuse is convincing. Hiring managers may overlook late workers, as long as they don't miss deadlines. Other lines of work, such as manufacturing and retail, rigorously enforce punctuality.

Some employers find excuses to be irrelevant, because some legitimate excuses, such as sleep issues and childcare, are too personal. Instead, their concern is whether their employee is becoming chronically tardy. This negative trait harms work relationships, and can lead to termination of employment. To remedy chronic tardiness, the employee must learn better time management, and defer other commitments at a more convenient time. Chronic tardiness can also be psychological, in which case the employee must examine and change his thoughts and perception on punctuality.