10 Other Ways to Say “Family Emergency”

The thing about emergencies is that we can’t plan for them. Consequently, you might be forced to call your workplace and let them know that you can’t make it in because you have things to deal with back at home. 

We hope your family emergencies are minimal but, for when they do occur, here’s a list of what to say instead of “family emergency.”

Other Ways to Say “Family Emergency”

  • Urgent family matter
  • Family stuff
  • Family business
  • Household matter
  • Family problems
  • Family troubles
  • Personal issues
  • Domestic problems
  • Family crisis
  • Domestic troubles


  • “Family emergency” is a grammatically correct phrase that’s appropriate to use in professional settings.
  • If you’re looking for a formal alternative, try using “urgent family matter.”
  • If you’re seeking a more informal option, we recommend “family stuff.”

We’re not done yet!

Now that you have a great list of synonyms that will leave you linguistically prepared for all your family emergencies, we’ll be telling you a bit more about our favorite formal and informal synonyms, including how to use them in a sentence.

After that, we’ll consider what counts as a “family emergency” in the professional world.

Urgent Family Matter (Formal)

When you call off for a family emergency, you don’t normally want to provide too many details, as it’s a personal issue.

As such, you need to use a phrase that will quickly convey the urgency of the situation to your employer.

“Urgent family matter” is a formal synonym for “family emergency” that you can use in a professional setting.

The addition of “urgent” emphasizes your need to leave work ASAP

However, family emergency” is still the best option. This is just a great alternative for when you want to diversify your language or ensure that your employer understands the urgency of your situation.

We’ve created some example sentences using this phrase:

I’m afraid I won’t be able to come to work today due to an urgent family matter. Thank you for your understanding. 

Voyo isn’t going to be able to lead the meeting today due to an urgent family matter.

Family Stuff (Informal)

Another word for a “family emergency” is “family stuff.”

This is a much more informal phrase and therefore wouldn’t be appropriate to use as an excuse for missing work unless you have a very casual relationship with your boss.

Nevertheless, it’s not just when you’re at work that you need to excuse yourself for family reasons.

In social scenarios, you might also need to leave early or cancel plans for personal reasons that you don’t feel like explaining.

We’ve written some handy example sentences including “family stuff”:

I have to head home now because of some family stuff. I’ll explain it to you tomorrow.

I’ve had some family stuff come up, so I’m not going to be able to make it this weekend. Sorry!

“Family emergency” is still a more versatile phrase, as it can be used in a professional setting. However, “family stuff” is a great option when you’re in more casual settings.

What Is Considered a Family Emergency for Work?

What constitutes a “family emergency” will differ from person to person. It depends upon your personal situation and family dynamics. Some workplaces may have their own definitions for a “family emergency” that they should inform you of. 

Whether an employer can ask for proof of a family emergency or not depends on the country you live in, so this is worth checking. In the UK, you’re not obligated to provide written proof, but, in the USA, employers can ask for this.

However, hopefully, your employer should respect you enough to trust your judgment on matters of this nature. 

Additionally, you need to trust your own judgment when deciding if something is an emergency that requires time off work. If it impacts you emotionally to the point where you don’t feel comfortable working, then that’s an emergency for you.

Finally, you technically shouldn’t fake an emergency, but you’re in charge of your own moral compass.

In conclusion, you can use the phrase “family emergency” in both professional and informal circumstances. What amounts to an emergency according to your workplace can vary, but it’s always good to trust your gut and take time off as needed!

If you find our list of synonyms useful, bookmark this page so you can come back whenever you like!