How to call in sick, with examples (2023)

Employees expect to be ready for work every workday, but sometimes health issues can disrupt these plans. In these cases, you must notify your manager or employer that you will be out of the office that day.

but communicate the needspare timeStopping work because you are sick can be scary. There are many reasons for this discomfort: you may feel insecure about the security of your job, feel self-blame, worry about increasing the workload of your colleagues, worry that work will pile up in your absence, or worry that your employer won I don't think you're sick.

However, according to the psychologicalinvestigation, calling in sick when you need to is an important form of recovery to maintain your health and performance.

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(Video) Workplace Etiquette & Advice : How to Call in Sick at Work

7 reasons to call in sick

Calling, emailing or texting your boss to call in sick isn't limited to cold symptoms, although it's one of the main causes. In fact, there are many health reasons that can justify taking sick leave.

1You have contagious symptoms.

According to a survey of 2,000 American workers by career website Zippia, the number one reason employees call in sick is because they feel uncomfortable.

If you develop symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, fever or unusual rash, calling in sick (and seeing a doctor) can help you avoid spreading the disease to your colleagues.

2You have tested positive for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that even asymptomatic people can be carriers of the virus. If you test positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms, thenCDCSelf-isolation for five days is recommended.

If your job allows you to work remotely, that may be an option. However, if your occupation requires you to perform work on site, you may be required to call in sick to allow you to isolate yourself.

3You or a family member has a medical emergency.

When it comes to medical emergencies, the last thing you want to worry about is work. Taking time off to care for yourself or close family members is a compelling reason to take time off work so you can recharge without the stress of professional demands.

4You are recovering from a medical procedure.

Sick days are not only for unexpected illnesses, they are also for planned medical reasons. For example, you may need to request time off for a scheduled medical procedure and may need additional time for recovery.

5Your productivity can be affected by illness or injury.

avisMedical conditions can temporarily hamper your work performance. For example, if you suffer from chronic migraines and are sensitive to noise and light, even looking at a computer screen can be debilitating and affect your ability to work.

(Video) Calling in sick for work or class? Watch this video to know how to tell it to someone

In this case, you may need to notify your boss that you will not be able to clock in that day.

6You are on family leave.

SoAct on family and sick leave, In many companies, your job is protected by twelve working weeks of unpaid leave. However, you must still tell your employer about your leave plans.

Eligible reasons include providing childcare after a child is born or for a child under one year old; caring for the health of a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition; and more.

7You need a mental health day.

Employees and employers increasingly recognize that promoting mental health is an integral part of the workplace.

If you experience bouts of anxiety, depression, or emotional exhaustion, take time offseek professional help.

Regardless of the reason for your sick leave, you are not obliged to pass on your private health data to your manager.

how to report sick

regardless of youwrite a concise emailor the depth of your sick leave request depends on how much sick leave you need and your medical conditions. Regardless of the length of the email or sick leave, please include the following information:

  • Reason for your withdrawal:A general explanation of your reason for taking sick leave (eg feeling unwell, on maternity leave or for "private medical reasons"). You are not required to share information about your medical history or condition.
  • You have days off:Your best estimate of days away.
  • Regardless of whether sick leave is paid or unpaid:Clearly state whether you want sick leave (if your company offers it), PTO or unpaid sick leave.
  • How available is it: Indicate if you can answer questions while you're away, or if your team expects you to be completely unreachable. If the former, please describe the best way to contact you while you are on vacation.
  • Your pending items: If you have an urgent task to solve, let your manager or employer know about your ongoing projects or tasks. You can also share if you need their help delegating tasks to other teammates.
  • Medical certificate, if applicable:Some employers require a medical certificate for short- or long-term sick leave. Be prepared to attach a doctor's note to your sick email if necessary.

After notifying interested parties of your absence,write notice of absenceFor incoming email and messaging platforms such as Slack. This prevents potential communication and workflow bottlenecks while you are away.

(Video) How to Call in "Sick"

Always refer to your employee handbook to update your knowledge of your employer's sick leave agreement. Does it indicate anything specific?communication channelRequest a PTO.

Depending on the reason, here are some ways to write a sick email or message to your boss.

4 examples of how to take a sick day

Simple sick emails using PTO

Hi [Human Resources Manager/Contact Name],

I am sending you an email/message to let you know that I am out of the office today [date]. I am currently on [reason for sick leave] and would like to use my sick PTO to compensate for my absence. If you have an urgent question, you can contact me via 【Message】. During my recovery I will be available intermittently.

[your name]

Simple sick email for unpaid time off

Hi [Human Resources Manager/Contact Name],

This email is to inform you that I will be on unpaid sick leave today [date]. I have [reason for sick leave]. If you have an urgent question, you can contact me via 【Message】. During my recovery I will be available intermittently.

[your name]


call in sick when you have symptoms

Hi [Human Resources Manager/Contact Name],

I feel sick and have symptoms. [date], I am not at work today and am calling in sick. I will monitor my symptoms and keep you posted on my return to work. If you have any questions, please send me an email and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

[your name]

Communicate extended sick leave of one week or more

Hi [Human Resources Manager/Contact Name],

This email is to inform you that I am on sick leave with pay from [date] to [date]. I am going through [reason for sick leave] and need this time to focus on my health and recovery. Attached is a copy of my doctor's statement that I am on sick leave.

I currently have [tasks/meetings/projects] in my queue. I will reschedule the date [task(s) XYZ] returns to work. However, during my absence, I would appreciate your help with the following urgent questions:

  • 【Task 1】 Briefly share the status and how your manager can help you further.
  • 【Assignment 2】Briefly share the status and how your manager can help you further.
  • 【Task 3】 Briefly share the status and how your manager can help you further.

During my vacation, I try to check my email periodically. Please do not expect an immediate response. Thank you for your patience and understanding during my recovery.

[your name]

(Video) How to Call in Sick to Work or School | English Speaking Practice | Go Natural English

sick leave as soon as possible

Notifying your employer that you are on sick leave is the best way to show responsibility for your health, your work and your equipment. can feel uncomfortablestoryYour manager won't be in the office, but early communication can help them prepare for when you're gone.

Communicating key messages to your boss in a sick email helps you keep your day-to-day business running and also gives you time for some much-needed therapy.


How to call in sick, with examples? ›

Hello Joanne, I'm calling/writing to let you know I have a sore throat and am feeling achy. I'm not sure if I'm contagious, so I think it's best if I stay home today. I'll be on Slack and can help process requests for the marketing team as needed. I'll be back in tomorrow if I'm feeling better.

How do you politely call in sick to work? ›

How to Call in Sick
  1. Alert your supervisor as soon as possible. Let your employer know as soon as possible that you need to take the day off.
  2. Be brief. Avoid a long-winded explanation about your illness or any doctor's appointments you might have. ...
  3. Choose the proper mode of communication. ...
  4. Prepare for your return.
Nov 17, 2022

How do you call in sick with a cold examples? ›

Hello Joanne, I'm calling/writing to let you know I have a sore throat and am feeling achy. I'm not sure if I'm contagious, so I think it's best if I stay home today. I'll be on Slack and can help process requests for the marketing team as needed. I'll be back in tomorrow if I'm feeling better.

How do I tell my boss I call in sick? ›

When informing your boss about your sick leave, keep things to the point without over-explaining your illness and symptoms. Instead, briefly explain why you're taking a sick leave (e.g. contagious illness such as flu and cold, stomach flu or family issues) and state your approximation of the period you'll be away.

What's the best excuse for calling in sick? ›

12 good reasons to call out of work
  • Loss of a loved one.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Food poisoning.
  • Someone else is sick.
  • Last-minute doctor's appointment.
  • Caring for a pet.
  • Family emergency.
  • Lack of childcare.
Dec 2, 2022

How do you say I can't come to work today? ›

How to tell your boss you can't work a shift
  1. Confirm your schedule. ...
  2. Ask to have a conversation. ...
  3. Give as much notice as possible. ...
  4. Acknowledge your obligation. ...
  5. Provide a reason. ...
  6. Plan ahead for your workload. ...
  7. Offer to make up the time. ...
  8. Understand the consequences.
Dec 2, 2022

Should I call or text in sick? ›

If you normally text with your employer, texting in sick would be acceptable. However, if communication is normally done via the phone, sending a text might not be appropriate. Also, asking someone else in the office to pass along your message typically isn't appropriate.

What are the exact words to say when calling in sick? ›

"I'm feeling very ill, so I think it's best if I take the day off from work. I appreciate your flexibility and I plan to be back tomorrow."

Is it right to say I have a cold? ›

We say “a cold” but “the flu”. The flu (= influenza) will make you feel much worse than a cold.

Is a cold a reason to call in sick? ›

A sore throat is often a sign of contagious illness, including colds, strep throat, and influenza. 4 In these cases, you should stay home from work. However, if you often experience a sore throat due to allergies, acid reflux, or dry air, or if you overused your voice the prior day, there is no need to call in sick.

How do you say I am not feeling well today? ›

"I don't feel well." "I am feeling sick." "I am unwell." "I have been feeling very ill since I ate lunch."

How do you call in sick without getting fired? ›

So, if you're struggling with a serious health condition that's causing you to miss work and you're covered under FMLA, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to get well—and your employer can't fire you because of it.

How do you call in sick suddenly? ›

  1. Call in early, communicate clearly. You do not have to leave a voicemail for your boss at 5 a.m., but do get your absence on the record before 8 a.m. so plans can be put in place for your absence. ...
  2. Be vague if you must, but be honest. Do not concoct a lie. ...
  3. Offer to make up the work.
Jan 31, 2022

How do I call in sick to work last minute? ›

The best last-minute excuses to miss work include personal illness, family emergency, doctor's appointments, child care, mental health challenges, death of a loved one, and household problems. In fact, any unforeseen circumstance that requires your attention is among the best last-minute excuses to miss work.

How to fake call in sick? ›

Say you're contagious or that your symptoms would disrupt your work. Speak slowly so it sounds like you're exhausted and unfocused to make your symptoms sound more believable. Tell your boss that you're not feeling well and that you want to stay home sick since you could pass the illness to your coworkers.

Do I have to give a reason for calling out? ›

Emergency: Some urgent, non-medical reasons to call out of work may include an emergency home repair, like a flood or fire, or a death in the family. Personal: If your employer offers you personal days to use throughout the year, you can usually take them without having to give a specific reason.

Can they say no if you call in sick? ›

Yes, technically they can ask you to come in. They could be upset and write you up for not showing up, so make sure to understand company policy for sick leave and provided paid time off.

Should I apologize for calling in sick? ›

Yes, you should apologize for calling in sick.

While you shouldn't feel bad for taking a sick day, acknowledging that your boss and coworkers will have to cover for you is a courteous and professional thing to do.

How do you say I am cold? ›

If you feel just a little bit cold, you can say you are chilly. The sun's gone down and now I'm chilly. If you feel very cold, you can say that you are freezing or are frozen.

How do you say I have a runny nose? ›

Both terms are correct, but runny nose is much more common. Runny nose is the idiom that Americans use to describe what happens when your nose runs (that is, when liquid comes out of your nose because of a cold, allergy, or crying).

Is a cold considered sick? ›

The common cold is an illness affecting your nose and throat. Most often, it's harmless, but it might not feel that way. Germs called viruses cause a common cold. Often, adults may have two or three colds each year.

Can my boss ask why I called in sick? ›

Is it legal for an employer to ask why you are sick? No federal law prohibits employers from asking employees why they are out sick. They are free to ask questions such as when you expect to return to work. They may also require you to furnish proof of your illness, such as a note from a physician.

How do you ask for sick day? ›

I'm emailing/messaging you to let you know that I won't make it into the office today, [date]. I'm experiencing [reason for sick day] and would like to use my sick day PTO to cover my absence. If you have urgent questions, you can reach me by [communication method]. I'll be available intermittently while I recover.

Can you miss work because of a cold? ›

If you've had cold symptoms for 10 days or fewer and you've been fever-free for 24 hours, you're probably safe to go to work. Keep your tissues, over-the-counter remedies, and hand sanitizer close by, and try to remember that even though you're miserable now, you'll likely feel better in a few days.

How do you say you feel a bit sick? ›

Here are 7 different ways to say, “feeling sick” and how to explain specific symptoms.
  1. I don't feel so well.
  2. I'm feeling under the weather.
  3. I'm feeling out of sorts.
  4. I'm feeling a little ill.
  5. I'm feeling a bit off.
  6. Feeling woozy/lightheaded.
  7. Feeling queasy/nauseous.
Nov 17, 2020

How do you say I am taking a day off? ›

"I'm taking the day off" This is the most common way to say it. It is perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition in speech or writing.

Why am I scared to call in sick? ›

According to one Winnipeg psychologist, this anxiety to call in sick is likely related to social anxiety. “Many people who experience this may likely also experience other fears of letting people down or confrontation or general fear of negative evaluation,” said director of Clinic Psychology Manitoba Dr.

How do I call out of work sick last minute? ›

20 Good Excuses to Miss Work on Short Notice
  1. Email Template and Text Examples to Miss Work.
  2. 1 You're not feeling well.
  3. 2 You've got a sick child to take care of.
  4. 3 You have a last-minute doctor's appointment.
  5. 4 You've got food poisoning.
  6. 5 You've got a dental emergency or appointment.
  7. 6 You're coping with a migraine.

How long before your shift should you call in sick? ›

Anytime you need to call out you should give your supervisor as much notice as possible before your shift begins, when possible you should contact your employer at least 2 hours before your shift so that they can plan and prepare for your absence.

How do you call out of work what to say? ›

In no more than one or two sentences, let them know that you're too unwell to come to work, touching only briefly on what illness or condition you're suffering from. Avoid overdramatised language at all costs, as it'll only cast doubt on the authenticity of what you're saying.

What do you say when you call out? ›

Here's an example of what you might say if you're feeling too physically unwell to conduct your job duties:
  • "I was sick all yesterday evening and I'm still feeling nauseous this morning. ...
  • "I'm feeling very ill, so I think it's best if I take the day off from work.
Oct 23, 2022

How do I ask for a last minute personal day? ›

Be honest about your reason.

Most likely, they will want to help and provide any resources they can. Your manager should understand that you are a human being who has a life outside of work. Everyone needs a day off from time to time, even at the last minute, so you should feel able to be transparent about your reason.


1. Workplace English, Lesson 51, How to Call in Sick
(UW–Madison Office of Human Resources)
2. Great Excuses For Missing Work [With Examples]
3. What Your Employer Can Legally Ask When You Call In Sick? #sickleave #employee #employmentlaw
(Legal Leaders: South African Labour Law)
4. How To Call In Sick [Even If You're Not]
5. Working Faster, Working Safer: Call in Sick
(Alberta Workforce Essential Skills)
6. How to Call in Sick to Work | LIVE ENGLISH LESSON


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