How to Call in Sick From Work (With Email Examples)

How to Call in Sick From Work (With Email Examples)

As an employee, we sometimes cannot always go to work for different reasons. For one thing, we may have one of our close relative pass away. Another reason, we also sometimes have to attend our family's special moments such as wedding party etc. Also, sometimes we have to rest in bed due to our health conditions. For that reason, we have to call in sick.

Employees call in sick by phone, email or text when they are too unwell to report to work. To do this, they should use their employer's preferred communication method before their shift starts to communicate their absence. Be specific about the reason for the absence, a potential return date and who will cover the workload in the message.

It all happens so fast. First, there is a slight sniffle, then a scratch in your throat. Suddenly, it feels like a truck has hit you, and you can barely bring yourself out of bed. You realize there is no way you can make it to work.

People call in sick all the time because, unfortunately, we can’t control when sickness takes over. And sometimes it happens on workdays. 

Maybe you’re feeling ill today and want to call in sick, or you’re just curious about the best process to use in the future. Either way, knowing how to remain professional when calling in or emailing for a sick day is essential. The boss expects their employees at work, so communication must be clear when that cannot happen. 

When is It OK to Call in Sick?

Whenever an employee doesn’t feel well enough to do their job effectively, they should ideally call in sick. Further, if dragging themselves out of bed to go to work would worsen their illness, calling in sick is the better option. 

Some people don’t mind working while sick, but it is a personal judgment call. It may depend on the type or severity of the illness. 

Also, we must consider the work setting. An employee who can concentrate on their work and works from home is in a different position than a contagiously ill employee who works in a busy office. However, just because someone works from home doesn’t mean they should feel obligated to work when they don’t feel up to the task. 

Use your best judgment when deciding whether calling in sick is appropriate. 

Emailing vs. Calling into Work for a Sick Day

While we call it “calling in sick,” most work environments find it entirely acceptable to email when sick. In more casual workplaces, even a text may be appropriate. 

Employees should take note of the notification preference their employers have for sick days — some bosses like calls more than emails (and vice versa) when they have a sick worker. 

It may help to consider the relationship you have with the boss before choosing the proper method of communication. A text is likely appropriate if you usually text your boss instead of emailing. However, a phone call is better if most communication happens over the phone. 

When to Send a Sick Day Email

It is best to send a sick day email as soon as possible. Always send the email before the start of your shift or during regular work hours. When you let the boss know sooner rather than later, they may find it easier to adjust the work plan for your absence. 

Information to Include in a Sick Day Email

No one can control the reactions of colleagues or employers when they call in sick. However, including the right information in a sick day email or call is vital to ensuring the reaction is more positive than negative. 

What is the Reason for the Absence?

Always explain the reason for the absence immediately in the sick day email. 

Feel free to be specific with symptoms but spare the gruesome details. Alternatively, employees don’t have to report symptoms and may say they are ill if they want privacy.

However, keep in mind that no laws prohibit employers from asking employees about their illnesses. However, there are some exception to this and it's covered under an Act of law.

How Long Do You Expect to Be Out of Office?

Tell the employer how long the illness may last and when you’ll return to the office. This information allows colleagues and employers to better plan for the absence.

Who Should People Refer to for Work Coverage?

Having a backup person available to help when calling in sick is essential.

Even though the employee knows they are sick, calling in as ill may surprise colleagues or employers. They probably didn’t realize that the employee was going to fall ill. As a result, suddenly missing a vital team member can cause hiccups in the work operation. 

If the work position requires work coverage when an employee is gone, it is often their responsibility to find this coverage before taking a sick day. Employees who struggle with this should communicate with their boss regarding coverage and explain the situation. The boss may be able to help find support or extend deadlines.

Sick Day Email Examples

Using a sick day email example as a template may help workers draft the perfect notification for their boss. Here are some examples of different scenarios that anyone can modify and use.

Example 1: General Notice

Hello Sir,

I’m sending this email because I cannot make it to work today, July 7, 2023, due to illness. I want to use a paid sick day. 

I will be available by email if you need me for anything urgent. However, for anything else, please refer to David Smith, who will manage my workload today to meet deadlines. I plan to return to the office tomorrow, but I will let you know if that changes.

Thank you,


Example 2: Doctor’s Note Requirement

Hello Mr. …, 

I will not be at work today (September 15, 2023) because I am experiencing fever, nausea, fatigue and other symptoms. I went to the doctor’s office, and they confirmed that I have the flu.

The doctor suggested I take off at least four days due to the contagious nature of the flu and the necessity of rest. If something urgent occurs, I can access my emails and phone. However, Julia Whitman has agreed to oversee my workload during this time. 

I have a doctor’s note I can send you via email or provide when I return to work. I plan to return to work on September 20, 2023. Thank you for understanding. 


Example 3: Uncertain About Illness

Hi HR,

Despite my efforts, I have come down with some type of illness. I woke up feeling terrible this morning. I hope I will feel better by tonight, but if not, I will not be able to come to work tomorrow (08/11/23). 

I will keep you updated on my condition and send a follow-up email this evening to let you know about tomorrow’s schedule. Olivia has agreed to take over my meetings if I am absent and ensure we meet deadlines. 

Thank you for your understanding and support,

Final Thoughts

While the focus when sick should be on feeling better, recovery time must wait until after sending the sick day email or calling the boss. Letting your employer know you’re ill and will not be at work is courteous and professional.

When sending a sick day email, keep in mind that the note should contain the following elements:

  • The reason for the absence
  • The predicted length of the absence
  • Any coverage necessities

Keep the email short, leave out unnecessary information and maintain a professional tone throughout the message. 

Top Takeaways

How to call in sick (with email examples)

  • Employees can “call in sick” by phone, email or text. 
  • The employee-employer relationship should dictate the best communication method, but employers may have a specific preference.
  • It is best to call in sick as soon as the employee knows they will be out of the office.
  • In a sick day email, employees should explain why they are absent, when they will be back and who will cover their workload.
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