HOW TO CALL OUT OF WORK: Requesting for Leave of Absence

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No matter what field of work you are in, you will inevitably have to call out of work due to unforeseen circumstances, such as mental health, family emergency, or being sick. Most employers understand that some things cannot be planned, but knowing how to call in sick or any unexpected circumstance at the last minute is a valuable professional skill to have, even in stressful situations. However, if you need to get out of work at the last minute or call in sick, here are some good reasons you can use to call in sick.

Do You Have to Give a Reason for Calling Out?

The best course of action is to politely and succinctly explain to your boss why you require time off. Legally, there are federal restrictions on what an employer can ask when an employee calls in sick, unless the employee is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

How Soon Is Too Soon to Call Out of Work?

If you need to call out, you should tell your boss as soon as possible before your shift starts. If you can, call your boss at least two hours before your shift starts so they can plan for your absence.

Good Reasons to Call in Sick to Work?

To be transparent, the following unexpected reasons might make you call out of work. Despite the fact that you are free to use them, you should still have a backup plan in place for returning to work and delegating your duties while you are away.

#1. You Became Ill

The average person gets sick twice a year, so missing work because of an illness that can’t be explained shouldn’t be too suspicious. (unless, of course, you miss work excessively for this reason). This is because symptoms of a cold, fever, or body ache may not appear until the morning. This, however, could be one of the reasons to call out for work. Inform your manager that you are not feeling well and when you intend to return.

#2. There Is No One to Keep an Eye on Your Child.

If no one is available to watch your child, or if your child’s daycare has just closed, you’ll have to stay home to watch them, and that’s a perfectly reasonable reason to miss work. Simply notify your boss that your childcare provider will be unavailable on the day you choose to miss and have a backup plan in place for your return.

#3. There Is a Family Emergency

Reasons for using this excuse to call out of work range from an ill parent to a tragic accident. If you feel safe, you can use the fact that this excuse is time-sensitive to get out of work or even stop working in the middle of the day. Simply notify your boss that you will be unable to come in because of it, and feel free to elaborate when you return.

#4. You’re Having Mechanical Issues

You won’t be able to get to work if you get a flat tire or your engine dies off. Even if this does not occur, it is a compelling reason to pass up the opportunity. Inform your boss that your car needs to be towed or that you need to see a mechanic.

Of course, if you have the option to work remotely or entirely from home, this excuse isn’t always valid. However, car problems can be urgent and require you to miss some of your workdays, regardless of whether you need your car for work.

#5. There Is an Issue With Your House

You have an urgent reason to miss work if you need to fix a leaky pipe, hire an exterminator, or have your roof cave in. If this is indeed the case, you should feel free to send a picture of the situation to your boss to serve as evidence. If it isn’t, an email (with some advance notice, if possible) will suffice.

#6. Your Pet Has a Scheduled Appointment

Being a pet mom can be just as demanding as being a parent. Pets may require similar attention, but they may also require medical care, which is a good reason to miss work, arrive late, or leave early. However, because it is an appointment and not an emergency, giving advance notice makes the most sense.

#7. You Are Anticipating a Significant Delivery

Large purchases, such as a new couch or bed frame, will necessitate your presence to sign for it and set it up in your home. In short, you must be at home for that. Moving companies may also provide a rough time frame for arrival. They may require you to be available for hours at a time, making this a good reason to skip work.

If you already work from home, this isn’t a strong enough reason. Especially if the delivery is more drop-and-go than full setup.

#8. You’re Going to Donate Blood

If you have a scheduled blood appointment, you’ll know about it ahead of time. This can be a refutable reason to miss work. In reality, you’ll need some time to recover, so it’s a good reason to go early and take off in the afternoon and the next day.

#9. You’re Celebrating a Religious Holiday.

Always request an actual religious holiday that people will believe you are celebrating. Then, notify your boss ahead of time that you intend to miss work in observance.

#10. You Should Take a Mental Health Day

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s critical to ensure you can do your job well. While taking a day off won’t completely improve your mental health, taking extra time for yourself can help you refresh and recharge. So you can show up for yourself and work.

Can an Employer Say No When You Call in Sick?

Many workplaces provide paid sick leave . If you have it, you should use it. Whether they like it or not, bosses should not deny your request for sick time off. However, you may not need to comply with your boss’s work obligations.

Can I Text Instead of Call in Sick?

Texting is a casual way to talk, but when you send a call-in-sick text message to your boss, you need to be professional. You should use full sentences and correct punctuation.

How to Call in Sick to Work

When you call in sick, keep in mind that your work for the day does not simply disappear because you are unable to complete it.

Unless you can find someone else to do the work. It’s either going to be pushed back a day, or it’s going to go unfinished and can’t be made up by anyone else. It’s not your fault that you were sick, but depending on the nature of your work, your absence could hurt someone you work with. Because of this, there are a few things you should do when you call in sick to work to show your boss and coworkers that you care:

#1. Choose the Appropriate Person to Inform.

While employee handbooks and corporate policy documents may provide a specific answer, there’s probably no need to sift through all that material. Most jobs at most companies require you to notify your boss that you will be leaving. Some businesses may also have online portals where you can log your sick day requests for administrative purposes. If this is your first time calling out of work sick, and you’re not sure if this is important, just include it in your call or email to your boss. “Is there anything else I need to do on my end to log this sick day with HR?” will suffice.

#2. Inform Them as Soon as Possible

If you wake up feeling ill, email, call, or send a Lax message (or however your workplace communicates) as soon as you realize you shouldn’t come to work. If you are sick the day before, notify your boss and inform them that you may be absent from work the next day.

#3. Notify Your Team as Well

Your absence will have an impact on more than just your boss. It’s important to inform your coworkers that you’re out of the office for the day, especially if your job requires a lot of teamwork and collaboration.

#4. In Any Way, You Can Offer to Make Up for the Lost Work

Offer to work from home if you’re healthy enough and the work can be done remotely. If you can’t, make sure you have a plan for getting the work done later or by someone else.

#5. Check Up

Make sure you have proof of absence if you need it. If you’re just taking a mental health day, don’t use a doctor’s note-worthy illness as an excuse. This can get you into trouble.

What to Say to Call in Sick?

Here’s an example: I began feeling ill last evening, and this morning I feel more worse. I’m not feeling well enough to come to work, and I don’t want to expose others to any illnesses.

How to Call Out of Work for a Family Emergency

If you want to keep your job, reputation, and ease of transition when you return from a leave of absence, you’ll want to use the proper channels for making your request and notice. It’s important to have a strong company culture because it provides employees with resources and lays out a path to success.

Depending on your situation, you can send a professional email or a formal letter along with any necessary documentation, such as a birth certificate, doctor’s notice, or death certificate, if your company requires it. When writing a call out of work letter to attend to a family emergency, keep the following points in mind:

#1. Observe Company Policy and Procedure 

Most companies have a procedure in place for employees to follow if they want to call out of work for a family emergency. Human resources or a risk management officer may also have access to this data. Contacting a superior or reaching out can help you quickly and easily adhere to company guidelines.

#2. Specify the Type of Emergency 

While you may not want to include too many details, providing a summary of the situation is recommended for transparency. To respect privacy, try not to provide too much personal information about your relative. Instead, provide enough to justify the need for your unexpected leave.

#3. Specify the Start Date You Want to Call Out of Work 

Even if your leave will start soon, specify the start date for documentation and clarity. As soon as you miss even one day of work, the company must start keeping track of your absence and allocating your duties to others. This will allow you to better document your time and use any vacation days to call out of work for a family emergency, as well as allocate some profit if possible.

#4. Be Specific About the Date You’ll Return 

When describing your leave, try to include the date you intend to return to work. Make a point of saying something like, “I intend to return to work on this day.”

#5. Delegate Responsibilities 

Especially if you are in a position of leadership, you will want to detail your plan of action. Explain who will assume your responsibilities in your absence and to what extent. Discuss your plans with your coworkers ahead of time to ensure that they understand and can assist with any duties that may fall due during your absence. Working as part of a team can help to alleviate the burden on the company and your coworkers.

#6. Leave Contact Details 

Even if you are unable to work, you should assure your employer that you are available to answer any questions or provide guidance. Demonstrating that you are still responsible during your absence will demonstrate your leadership abilities and employee values. Provide an email address that you expect to check regularly in order to offer assistance and answer questions. This will also allow you to communicate your status with your employee and request more time if necessary. In addition, leave a reliable phone number where you can be reached in case of an emergency that requires your attention. Maintaining open lines of communication and being available demonstrates your commitment to your work.

#7. Communicate the Information Professionally

Your tone should be professional while also conveying a sense of urgency. Throughout your correspondence, use direct language and state any issues you believe your absence is causing. This allows your employer to plan for these issues and demonstrates the significance of your role within the company.

#8. Conclude With Gratitude

Express your gratitude to your employer for their assistance and understanding in this matter. Once you call out of work for a family emergency, you’re granted a leave of absence. You can show your appreciation for their efforts by thanking them.

See Also: Our article on Excused Absence

Can You Get Fired From Calling Out?

The at-will employment status of California permits employers to terminate employees without warning and for virtually any cause. In areas where employment is at-will, it is permitted to terminate an employee for excessive absences, especially since attendance is typically vital to work performance.


I hope this essay has helped you think of some solid reasons to call in sick.

How To Call Out of Work FAQs

How do you say I am not coming to work today?

“Hello (Manager’s Name), I’m emailing to let you know that I won’t be able to make it to work today, (Date), due to (your illness). I’ll be available to answer emails if you need help right away, but (Name of Coworker) will take care of my work today to make sure that all deadlines are met.

What is a good last minute excuse for work?

What are some valid reasons to call out of work?

  • You become ill
  • There is no one to keep an eye on your child.
  • Your child is sick.
  • There’s a problem at home
  • You’re having car trouble.
  • There is an issue with your house.
  • Your pet has a scheduled appointment.
  • You’ve been poisoned by food.

How do you call for a personal day?

Notify someone as soon as you know you will be unable to attend. For example, “Something personal came up, and I’m sorry I can’t talk about it.” I’ll be back tomorrow.

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