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How to Call in Sick: A Guide for Employees With Examples

Calling in sick is a necessary part of workplace culture, ensuring that employees can take the time they need to recover from illness without compromising their work or the health of their colleagues. However, the process can sometimes be stressful or confusing. This article provides a straightforward guide on how to call in sick, emphasizing professionalism and consideration.

What to Do When Calling in Sick?

When calling in sick, it’s important to communicate effectively and professionally. Here are the key elements to include in your sick call:

  • Immediate Notification: Contact your supervisor or HR department as soon as you realize you want a day off and you cannot attend work. Timeliness is crucial to avoid any disruptions in the workplace.
  • Clarity and Conciseness: Be clear and concise about your situation. You don’t need to provide detailed medical information, but you should communicate the general nature of your illness and its impact on your ability to work.
  • Professional Tone: Maintain a professional tone throughout the call. Even if you have a casual relationship with your supervisor, it’s important to handle sick calls with professionalism.
  • Expected Duration of Absence: If possible, give an estimate of how long you expect to be absent. If you’re unsure, it’s okay to say so, but provide an update as soon as you have more information.
  • Work Handover Plan: Briefly mention any urgent work or projects that might need attention during your absence. If you’ve arranged for a colleague to cover certain tasks, inform your supervisor.
  • Availability for Follow-Up: Let your supervisor know if you’ll be completely unavailable or if you can be reached for urgent matters. However, prioritize your recovery – do not feel pressured to work while sick.
  • Thankfulness for Understanding: Express your appreciation for your supervisor’s understanding. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in maintaining good relationships.
  • Compliance with Company Policy: If there are specific protocols or forms required by your company’s sick leave policy, acknowledge them and commit to complying with these requirements.

Call in Sick Examples:

Example 1: Email Notification

Dear [Manager’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. Unfortunately, I woke up feeling quite unwell this morning with a high fever and a persistent cough. After consulting with my doctor, I’ve been advised to rest and recover at home to prevent the spread of illness and to facilitate a quicker recovery. Given these circumstances, I am unable to come into the office today, [Date]. I have reviewed my schedule and do not have any pressing deadlines today. However, I have informed [Colleague’s Name] about my current projects, and they have kindly agreed to monitor any urgent matters in my absence. I will keep you updated on my health and plan to return to work as soon as I am able. Please let me know if there is any additional information I need to provide. Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Example 2: Text Message to Supervisor

Hi [Supervisor’s Name], I wanted to inform you that I am feeling quite ill this morning with flu-like symptoms. Following the company’s sick leave policy, I will not be coming into work today to recover and to avoid spreading illness. I have emailed the team to reschedule today’s meetings and will keep you updated on my status. Thank you for your understanding. Best, [Your Name]

Example 3: Email for Extended Sick Leave

Dear [Manager’s Name],

I regret to inform you that due to a recent medical diagnosis, I am required to take an extended period of sick leave. Per my doctor’s advice, I will need to be absent from work starting [Start Date] until [End Date]. I understand this may cause inconvenience, and I apologize for any disruption this may cause to our team’s workflow. I am prepared to assist with a handover of my current projects. I’ve compiled detailed notes and have coordinated with [Colleague’s Name] to take over my responsibilities during my absence. I will remain in contact and provide any necessary updates regarding my health and expected return date. Please let me know if there are any forms or additional information I need to submit for this extended leave. Thank you for your understanding and support during this time.

[Your Name]

Example 4: Voicemail Script

You: “Hi [Manager’s Name], this is [Your Name]. I’m sorry I missed you. I wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to make it to work today. I’ve been experiencing some pains since last night and need to seek medical attention. I will send an email with details about my current projects and their status. I will also ensure to update you on my condition and expected return to work. Thank you for your understanding.”

In these examples, the key elements are timely and clear communication, respect for workplace policies, and a plan to manage work responsibilities during the absence. These examples provide a template for various situations, including sudden illness, mental health days, and extended leave. Remember, the aim is to inform and reassure your employer about your absence while taking care of your health.


Call in sick is a part of maintaining a healthy work environment. It’s important to handle this process professionally and responsibly, respecting both company policies and personal health needs. Remember, your well-being is paramount, and a responsible employer will understand the importance of taking sick leave when necessary.