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How To Email Sick Leave – How To Write A Sick Day Email (+ A Template)

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You wake upfeeling terrible and you realize you can’t report to work today.

Đang xem: How to email sick leave

Tellingyour boss that you can’t come to work is scary, even if your office has a laxpolicy on absences. You don’t want your boss to think you’re slacking off, butyou also don’t want to divulge so much information that the conversation getsawkward.


When you can”t come to work you need to write a sick day email. (Image Source)

Thistutorial covers everything you need to write a professional sick day email,plus easy-to-edit templates. You’ll also find tips for writing a sick day emailfor recurring or invisible illnesses.

1. Follow Company Protocol

Follow theprotocol for absences in your employer’s handbook or go with your manager’spreferred communication method. For some people, this means you’re required toinform your manager at least two hours before your shift. Some companies mayrequire you to call in sick instead of sending an email or text. You may also needto inform your colleagues and clients that you’re out of the office.

Someemployers need a doctor’s note for leaves that will last longer than three days. But thereare also strict companies where you need to submit a doctor’s note even if you”llonly be absent for one day. Ask your manager or check your employment contract ifyou’re not sure where your employer stands on doctor’s notes.

2. Do it Early

Email in sick orcall ahead of time, as soon as you realize you can’t come in to work. Suddenillness and trips to the emergency room can put work out of your mind. But it’sstill your responsibility to call your manager as soon as you”re able. Youdon”t want to leave them clueless about your whereabouts.

3. What to Include in YourSick Day Email

Keep youremail clear and concise. Below is a list of what you need to include when youcall or email in sick:

Reason for yourabsence. Keep thispart clear without going into too much detail. Write the specific illness andthe main symptoms that prevent you from coming to the office. You don’t haveto list everything.How long you”ll beabsent from work. This is predictable for many illnesses, such as flu or a cold, where the worstis over in one or two days. If you’re not sure when you”ll be back, ask yourdoctor how long it might take you to recover. Address youravailability to communicate. Inform your boss about whether you can answer questions via email. You mayalso include an emergency phone number in case they need to reach you. If you’re too sick to respond to emails,be honest and make it clear that you’ll be unreachable during your absence. Clarify whether you”ll work or not. Thisapplies to telecommute, remote, or senior-level employees expected to continueworking even while on leave. Your supervisor may allow you to telecommute ifyou”re contagious, but not too ill for a full bed rest.Doctor’s note andother documentation. Mention any doctor’s note, prescription, or medical certificate that you canprovide to back up your request for a sick leave. Name your pointperson.

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Mention whowill take over your current projects and meetings, so your manager will knowwho to approach for questions about your tasks. You can simply write, “Ben will take over my client meetings thisafternoon, and he’s also up to date on my projects with Client X.”Professional Closing. End your sick day email with asimple closing and your name.

You canalso email your team with an abridged version of this email that doesn’tinclude details of your ailment and doctor’s note.

Sick Day Email Sample for Your Team


Sorry, but I can’t make it to work today. I”ve got a (flu/cold/stomach ache, etc.), soI’m going to take the day off. I’ll be available to (answer emails/workremotely).”

It’s also a goodidea to set up an out-of-office email to keep everyone else you work withinformed.

4. Sick Leave Email Templates

Here are differenttemplates to show you how to email in sick, depending on your circumstances: 

1. Simple Sick Day EmailSample

Use this template when you’ll onlybe absent for a day. It’s short and doesn’t include a lot of details because aone-day absence doesn’t need five paragraphs to explain. 

“Hi(Manager’s Name),

I’memailing to inform you that I can’t make it to work today, (Date), as I’ve comedown with a (your illness). I”ll be available to answer emails if you needurgent help, but (Co-worker’s Name) will handle my workload today to ensure alldeadlines are met.

Thankyou for understanding,


The phrase“urgent help” is there to suggestthat you won’t be checking and replying to emails the whole day. Think of it asa subtle way of saying that you need time to rest, but you also honor yourobligations and will be available to step in if a situation arises that only youcould fix. Remove the phrase “urgenthelp” if you plan to answer emails like you would on a normal day at theoffice.

2. Sick Day Email Sample withRequest to Use Paid Leave

Use thistemplate if you”ve got a doctor’s note and if you’ll be using your sick leave to cover the absence.

“Dear(Your Manager’s Name),

Iwon’t be able to report to work today because I’m under the weather and have a(symptoms you’re experiencing). I went to the emergency room last night and thedoctor confirmed that I”ve got (doctor’s diagnosis).

Thedoctor prescribed (X days off from work) as I (need to rest, am contagious), soI asked (Co-worker’s Name) to take over my meeting with (Client’s Name) thisafternoon. They”ll also handle my pending tasks while I”m away. I”ll beavailable via email for your urgent needs.

I’vealso attached the doctor’s note to this email. I”d appreciate it if you would forward this email with the attachment to HR so they can process my sick leave.Thank you for your help.



Remove thephrase about going to the emergency room if you didn’t, or just switch it to “visited the doctor” if you went tothe doctor after coming home from work.

Note that U.S. Federal law doesn’t require companies to offer a paid sickleave according to the Department of Labor. Other countries may have their own labor laws regarding sick leave. Check your employment contract before using this template.

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Human Resources (HR) isn’talways responsible for approving sick leaves. Sometimes your manager has thefinal say, so you may want to tweak that part of the template according to youremployer’s policy.

3. Out Sick Email Templatefor Indefinite Leave

Use this template if you’re not sure when you can report back to work.

“Dear(Manager’s Name),

I’mwriting this to let you know that I can’t come to the office today. I’ve beenfeeling (sick, light headed, etc.) since (last night, yesterday, etc.), andonly saw a doctor yesterday.

They diagnosed me with (your illness) and prescribed medication that will last for(X days). I feel a bit better now that the first dose of medication has takeneffect, but I was advised to stay home because it will take time for me tofully recover.

I”lldo my best to inform you if I can’t make it to work tomorrow, so that we canmake some temporary arrangements for my workload. In the meantime, (Colleague’sName) has agreed to look after my tasks for the day.”

For more general information on how to write professional emails, refer to the following tutorial:

5. Arrange for Someone to CoverYou

Have you noticed that all the email samples above include a hand-off of yourtasks to a trusted colleague? You should already have a predeterminedarrangement with that colleague way before you need to be absent, so you canjust call on that favor when you need it.

Your colleague’s lack of consideration isn’t the only reason for apredetermined arrangement. Your colleague needs to know how to do your work,where to look for certain files in your computer, and who your contacts arewith clients or vendors. Otherwise they”ll look clueless while filling in foryou.

You don’t need to prepare a textbook’s worth of information about yourjob. Just compile some notes on your tasks, such as:

reports you write and when they”redue, so your colleague can do them in case your sick leave coincides with adeadlinecontacts at other departments andcompanies you work with, including their names, emails and job titlesrunning list of pending projects andthe people involved in each oneinstructions on how to handle tasksonly you can do, so that someone else can do it if you’re too ill to work fromhomerelevant sources, such as websites,books, or people

6. Set Up an Out-of-OfficeMessage

If you haven’t done it already, set up an out-of-office message to inform peoplethat you’re not at work and are unable to answer emails. You only need to activatethis message if you called in sick and also informed your boss that you won’tbe able to answer emails at home.

This isn’t like the sick day email you wrote for your boss andco-workers though. You’re not required to inform people outside your team aboutyour illness, much less your symptoms. They probably also don’t want to hear the details.

Below is a simple out-of-office message you can set-up on your Gmail, Outlook, or other email provider.


I”llbe out of the office from (start date) until (end date).

Pleasecontact (Name) at (email address) or (phone number) for your urgent concerns.Otherwise, I”ll attend to your emails upon my return. Thank you.”

7. Special Cases: Sick Day Emails for Recurring & Invisible Illnesses

A few years ago, I called the workforce hotline to call in sick, astandard procedure for my job back then. After explaining why I couldn’t make itto work, the person on the other line berated me because this was the thirdtime in six months that I called in sick for the same reason. My reason was an invisible illness–one of the many ailmentswhere the person seems fine unless you see all the prescription medicines they’retaking.

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Lots of invisible and recurring illnesses exist, some of which aremanageable enough it’s possible to have a job. Based on my research, it lookslike I’m not the only one who feels guilty and scared of awkward conversations whencalling in sick. This section is for people looking for advice on how to handlethis situation at work. 

Julia Esteve Boyd, an Etiquette Consultant with an international background in corporateetiquette, says, 

Recurring illnesses areproblematic, but most employers are understanding when they know all theimportant facts.”

Disclosing your recurring or invisible illnessat work may trigger further scrutiny from your boss or HR. That’s why it’s inyour best interest to research your employer’s policies regarding absencesbefore you broach this topic. If there’s nothing in your contract or employeemanual about recurring absences, ask your coworkers if they know someone with asimilar situation within the company. Then talk to that person to see how theyhandled previous sick leave requests, and how their boss and HR handled it.Their experience will give you a clue on what you can expect.

Eva Doyle, a manager with morethan 20 years of experience, advises employees with recurring illness to talkto their manager about their condition before they need to take a sick day. Shecontinues,

“Come prepared to discuss your plan to manage your condition andits effect on your work.” 

Doing this allows you to collaborate with yourboss in creating a contingency plan for your tasks, while minimizing badsurprises, like if you email in sick multiple times in one month.

As for possible awkward conversationsregarding your illness and symptoms, Boyd and Doyle both agree that you onlydisclose the important details of your condition. You can disclose what yourillness is and a general explanation of how it prevents you from working, suchas migraine, pain, or fever. Leave out the finer details about what you’regoing through. Your boss will be happier not knowing about them.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees of covered U.S. based employers up to 12weeks of unpaid sick leave for specific medical conditions, which they can usefor themselves or a member of their immediate family. Check if your employer iscovered by the FMLA act, so you can use this benefit if you need a sick leaveeven if your boss is reluctant to give you one.

Wrapping It Up: Email in Sick the Right Way

You many not remember everything on thistutorial when the time comes that you need to email in sick. That”s okay. If you think you might need this information, bookmark this article so you can refer to it later.

One thing youshould remember though is to follow your company’s sick day policy. Followinginstructions ensures your sick day doesn’t earn you a scolding the next day youreport to work. 

Discover great email signature templates on Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.

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Editorial Note: This content was originally published on January 12, 2018. We”re sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.

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