Sample Apology Letter for Being Late for Work

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Writing a letter of apology to a boss is not an uncommon occurrence. With most of our waking hours spent at work, it's inevitable that you'll make a mistake at some point and show up late either to work or to an important meeting and need to apologize.

Why You Should Apologize

Realizing when you’ve made a mistake at work and taking the initiative to apologize to your employer is a sign of professionalism.

If the mistake went unobserved by your employer, it is especially important to confess to it rather than hoping it won’t be noticed, since there may be trouble-shooting that needs to be done in order to remediate the situation. A good manager who receives a sincere apology will generally use the opportunity to constructively advise the employee how to avoid the error in the future

How to Write a Note of Apology for Being Late

If you have been late to work, try to write your note of apology as quickly as possible. Try to keep your tone professional while accepting responsibility for your tardiness. However, you should not be overdramatic or self-abasing in making your apology. Keep your tone and your content simple and direct.

  • Apologize and lay out a specific account of the situation. Start with a general description of the infraction along with the details about the time and place. (e.g., ​Please accept my deepest apology for showing up a half hour late to the presentation with Smith Corp. on Monday morning. It was a serious mistake on my part and very unprofessional.)
  • Acknowledge the damage that resulted and any implications or consequences for the business. (e.g., I know this greatly inconvenienced our client and caused a delay in making important decisions about their strategy for next quarter.)
  • Take responsibility and acknowledge that you were at fault. (e.g., I made a mistake, for which I am sincerely sorry.)
  • Describe your role in the situation by accounting for what caused you to be late without offering excuses. (e.g., I failed to allow myself extra time in traffic and to anticipate that the freeway might be blocked by an accident, as in fact did unfortunately happen).
  • Promise that it won't happen again. (e.g., Please know that I've taken the necessary measures to ensure that this won't occur again and I will stand by my promise.)
  • Include a simply-expressed statement of regret. (e.g., I let you and the client down as well as myself, and I deeply regret putting you in this situation.)
  • Provide some way of easing the pain caused and end with a willingness to do whatever is necessary to correct the situation. (e.g., I've emailed Smith Corp. expressing my regret and asking to reschedule the meeting for tomorrow or at their earliest convenience.)

Sample Apology Letter to an Employer for Tardiness

The following is an example of a written apology letter to a supervisor for being late to a client meeting.

Dear Ms. Winters,

I am extremely sorry for my late arrival at the important sales meeting with The Star Agency last week. My tardiness almost lost us a valuable client.

I understand that, as a sales team, we need to always present ourselves as professional and reliable, and timeliness is a large part of that professionalism.

I, therefore, let down the entire sales team with my behavior.

I am currently taking steps to ensure that I am never late for a client meeting (or any other work-related event) again. I was late due to my car breaking down, so I am getting my car serviced. From now on, I will also be sure to leave for meetings even earlier than I already do, so that even in the case of an emergency, I will still be able to arrive on time.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to ensure you and the rest of the company that I greatly value my position on the sales team, and that I will not let the team down again. Thank you so much for your consideration.


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