Skip to Content

8 of the Best Excuses to Get out of Working Night Shift

8 of the Best Excuses to Get out of Working Night Shift

Getting scheduled to work the night shift can be a real bummer, but what choice do you have? Either you work it, or you come up with good excuses to get out of working night shift!

Instead of dreading the night shift and downing two cans of energy drinks to get through it, pay attention to these excuses to get out of work.

These are the best excuses to get out of work and are sure to be successful once you follow our instructions carefully!

Now, there are some things you need to pay attention to before you even think about using excuses to get out of working night shift. Let’s discuss those, then we can get into the excuses and how you can use them.


Things to pay attention to before making up excuses to get out of working night shift

Someone has to end up doing it, but once you pay attention to these things, it surely won’t be you!

01Work image/reputation
Are you a slacker or are you a hard worker? Do you always have excuses and show up late, or are you always on time and ready to work?
If you are a good employee, you are more likely to receive a positive response from your boss. However, if you’re not, your excuse has to be rock solid to even be considered!


young man looking at the woman in front of him talking about work colleagues
Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA under pexels license


02Boss’ personality
What is your boss like? Is he/she easy-going and understanding, or strict and inflexible?
If your boss is cool or chill, he/she will likely approve as long as there is someone to fill the role. The opposite boss will require a life/death situation to budge!


03Validity of excuse
You can’t ask for the night off because your girlfriend is mad at you, or if you want to watch your favorite show premiere.
The excuses to get out of working night shift must be extenuating circumstances that would prevent any employee, even the boss, from being able to work.


2 excuses about blaming family/home to get out of working night shift

Sometimes, your family or home life can get in the way of work. That is understandable since everyone can relate to being inconvenienced in some way by their personal life.
This is something you have no control over, and your boss will let you get the night off, or completely omit the night shift from your schedule if you have good excuses to get out of working night shift. Check these out:

01Death of loved one
The death of a loved one can come very suddenly, and most people are unable to function in the aftermath.
Asking someone to work after having a loved one pass is unethical and is an unestablished day off at most companies.
In fact, all that is required is for the boss to be informed and you should be good to go. Here’s what you can say to your boss when you use this excuse:
“Joe- my grandmother passed this morning and it’s hitting the whole family really hard. I’m not going to be able to come in tonight but please keep us in your prayers.”
An excuse like this is simple and to the point, but it MUST be true. It is downright unethical to even think about using this as a lie. If you get caught lying, it will ruin your reputation at your workplace and you may even end up getting fired!


death funeral coffin mourning

Photo by carolynabooth under Pixabay License


02Sick relative
This excuse may be used for both short and long-term illnesses.
For instance, if you live with your spouse, and he/she suddenly comes down with an illness that requires monitoring, you may call in and ask for the night off until you can find someone to stay with him/her.
Similarly, if you have a relative who is terminally ill and you are his/her night-time caregiver, you may request to be omitted from night shifts as you are needed at home.
This is an example of what you can say:
“Good morning Nicole, I notice you have me scheduled to work nights next week. As I indicated to HR, my mother has been diagnosed with [insert name of illness]. She requires around-the-clock care.
During the day, she has a nurse, but at nights it’s up to me to care for her. I’m sure this was an error, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me”
Most bosses would trust you to be honest in this situation. However, it’s still possible that you may be required to provide proof of this to the company to avoid having your hours cut or so you can retain your position.
If you are found to be lying, you will not get the nights off and you may even lose your job.


sick boy oxygen hospital bed

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on unsplash



2 excuses when you blame yourself

The excuses to get out of working night shift may also be personal. This doesn’t include things like not being in the mood, or just preferring the day shift. They have to be credible as well.
Here are some you can consider using:

03I’m sick
You can use being sick as a way to get off working the night shift but note that not every sickness will work. If you have a headache, surely you can take a painkiller.
If you have a sore throat and don’t require your voice to work, don’t even bother using this excuse! It is not a good idea to turn up to work with a sore throat, or anything contagious, even if not in a pandemic situation. People’s immune systems may not be as robust as yours.
The sickness must be something that is both short-term and will prevent you from working that night.
Things like diarrhea, food poisoning, or a cold/flu can be debilitating and contagious, so are more appropriate illnesses.
Here’s what you can say:
“Hello George, it’s Dan. I seem to have had something bad to eat and I have the runs. I might have to call it a night.”
This is a good excuse because your boss can’t prove whether you’re lying or not, so try to sound like you’re in discomfort! And don’t do anything stupid like going out partying and getting caught!


shallow focus of a woman wearing pink shirt sick day work leaning at the door
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio under pexels license


04Car trouble
Car trouble can happen to anyone, especially at the most inconvenient times. If you live in an area where the transportation system is unreliable or you have a long commute to work, it can ruin the entire workday for you.
So, this is what you can say:
“Hi, this is Nina. My car just won’t start and the car company says the earliest anyone can come by is 8 am tomorrow, and it’s too expensive for me to get to work any other way; I’m so sorry.”
This is a good excuse if your car isn’t a newer model, but if you are caught out driving you could face disciplinary action.


flat car tire black car

Photo by Sebastian Huxley on unsplash


4 excuses when you have scheduling conflicts/emergency

Other times, there are other plans in place that may prevent you from working a particular night shift or working at night in general.
Here are 4 excuses to get out of working night shift because of scheduling conflicts/emergency

05Scheduled for an early shift
If your shift changes every week or two, it is more difficult to coordinate a schedule where everyone works a balanced schedule.
However, the person in charge of scheduling generally ensures there is enough time between shifts for employees to rest.
If your shift disallows this- for example, you have a night shift, then a midday or morning shift- you can use it as an excuse to get out of night shift.
This is what you can say:
“I noticed you scheduled me to work the overnight shift on Tuesday, but remember I’m scheduled for 11 am the next day. I wouldn’t have enough time to rest and get here since I live outside of the city.”
This is a fool-proof excuse since a sleepy employee is useless to an employer and he/she will try to accommodate a schedule change as best as possible. Don’t attempt this unless there’s a problem since he/she will actually check.



06Spouse works nights
If you have children, and your spouse works the night shift, you can use this as an excuse to never work the night shift again. Surely you aren’t expected to leave your kids at home!
This is how you say it:
“Nights are no good for me. My wife/husband does nights at the hospital and someone has to be there to look after our children.”
If you lie about this, your employer is unlikely to trust you again and will not believe any excuses you have in the future. You may also put yourself in a position to be terminated.


woman wears yellow hard hat holding vehicle part woking
Photo by Chevanon Photography under pexels license


07Part-time evening job
You can’t possibly be in two places at once, so if you have a part-time evening job, it serves as a bulletproof excuse!
This works best when you have proof of employment from your other job, and your employer can afford to fill the spot without having to shorten your work hours. Here’s what you can say:
“I have picked up a few shifts at the cafe on Beverly Street at night, so I can’t do any slots.”


08Child custody arrangement
When you have a child custody agreement, you can be in serious trouble if you do not fulfil your responsibilities. In most instances, you will be able to work some night shifts, but not others.
This means your employer will have to work around this pre-existing schedule.
It’s good to use with a boss who is understanding and won’t see this as an inconvenience. After all, you can’t bring your child to an overnight job and you definitely can’t leave him/her home alone.
Here’s one way this excuse can be used:
“Hi Kelsey, we just finalized the custody battle and I have my daughter on weekends and every other holiday. Is there a way we could adjust my schedule for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights?”
Your boss will likely know about any ongoing custody battles and should expect an impact on your work life.

woman carrying her baby and working on a laptop

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva under pexels license

If you do not have a child, this will not work and you will still have to work; that is, if you don’t get fired!



Remember to analyze your situation before you choose any of these excuses to get out of working night shift.
Be careful of what you are lying about (if it is a lie). Some excuses work better than others, and some should be avoided if they can easily be disproven.