Here's How to Call in Sick to Work in 2023

Here's how to call in sick to work. Sometimes it's necessary to call in sick to work. When calling in sick, it's important to follow a few professional steps to ensure that your manager and team are aware of your absence.

Paid Sick Leave Law is currently used in Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, California, and Illinois.

how to call in sick

Paid sick leave is frequent given to full-time, part-time, and temporary workers, too. Before deciding to take a sick leave, get the advice of your boss. And inquire about the company policies.

How to Call in Sick

Follow these steps to take a sick day at work.

Let your manager know early

It's best to let your manager know as soon as possible. Regardless of the type of industry, you're in, your manager is going to be your best resource. They'll be able to help direct who might replace your job duties temporarily. And assist in marking your sick day with the human resources department.

Failing to let your manager/boss know you're taking a sick day could result in a negative mark on your record. And could lead to termination, in some cases. It's considered a "no show" to work.

Email or text your manager/boss as early as you can. A message on Slack is also sufficient.

It's best to inform employers in the morning, as soon as you know you aren't feeling well.

Keep your reasoning short

A manager/boss isn't going to inquire much when taking sick leave. It's common. Simply provide a simple reason, like feeling you have the flu or a cold. Or even having a family emergency and needing to take a sick day.

It's not important to go into a tremendous amount of detail regarding your need to take a sick day. If you are deciding on trying to take a mental health day, it's best to say you're taking a sick day with your manager.

Inform your team of your leave

Be sure to email or message your team, letting them know that you're feeling ill. And that you'll be returning as soon as you feel better. Try to coordinate any work that needs to get accomplished before you decide to leave. Your team/employees don't want to be left wondering where you are.

Not informing your team/employees can result in a loss of efficiency or work. And can cause the trust to be lost with your team. Or your employer.

how to call in sick

Let them know you're too ill to come to work. And suggest when you might return so the team can plan their work accordingly.

Offer to make up any lost work

Make an offer to follow-up with any lost work. When returning, offer to work weekends if needed. Let them know that you're going to ensure that being sick doesn't impact any initiatives or projects that need to be completed.

Spend time asking your team what they need from you before leaving.

Follow-up with the manager and team

Either during or after your sick leave, follow-up with your manager and team. And let them know that you've returned. Try to gather as much information about what you might have missed when you called in sick.

Send everyone a thank you note for being flexible while you were out. And get back to work.

Calling in sick two days in a row

Calling in sick two days in a row is common. What illness resolves itself in a single day? None. In order to call in sick two days in a row, simply inform your manager/boss/team that you're really sick. And still need time off.

Go through the same steps listed above. Contact your manager/boss once more, informing them you need a few additional days. And let your team know that you're still sick and need to stay home or miss work.

Top Reasons for Calling in Sick

Here are good reasons for calling in sick to work (when you're actually sick).

Back pain

For those suffering from back pain, this isn't sufficient for anyone who can work from home. Or may work in the technology industry. Although, for those who work in construction. Or have to stand on their feed for long periods of time, having back pain is an okay reason to stay home.

It's best to inform your employer of the plan you have to resolve the issue. For example, going to see a chiropractor or trying to use a heating pad to make sure you're well enough to return to work as quickly as possible.

Feeling ill

When you don't know what you have. Either the flu or a cold. It's best to stay home. You don't want to risk someone else getting sick. It's okay to tell your manager/boss that you're simply feeling ill. And that you don't know the exact reason.

In this circumstance, following up and telling them the next day what illness you think you might have is a great way to communicate about your sick leave.

how to call in sick

Family emergency

A family emergency is an okay reason to call in sick. In some cases, your manager may suggest that you simply take a vacation day. Rather than a sick day. It depends on the company policies and employee handbook.

When suggesting that you have a family emergency, be sure this is a real reason and not fake. Many coworkers are going to ask if everything is okay. And many people will ask what happened to show concern.

Poor reasons for calling in sick

  • Needing a "personal day."
  • Not feeling motivated.
  • You feel hungover.

If you need an excuse to miss work, learn more about good and bad reasons to miss work.

how to call in sick

Email Messages to Call in Sick

Examples of sending emails or making phone calls to inform everyone that you're taking a sick day.

When really feeling ill

Good morning Randy,

I woke up this morning feeling terrible. I'm not sure what's going on. But I don't want to get anyone in the office sick. And I think it would be best if I took a sick day today. Is there anything pressing happening today that would significantly set everyone back?

I'll try to be available by email or phone for any emergencies.

Thanks so much Randy,


Taking a last-minute vacation day

Good morning Susan,

I woke up this morning not feeling right. I'm not sure if I'm sick or maybe ate something. It's unclear. I don't feel well enough to come to work. And I was wondering if I could take a last-minute vacation day? I'll be sure to make up any work that I might miss while I'm out, today.

And I'll be sure to sync up with everyone to make sure they know about my absence.

Thanks so much Susan,


Second day calling in sick to work

Good morning Ian,

I know I was out yesterday. But I woke up this morning still not feeling well. I wanted to send another email and see if it was okay to take another day off here and try to get well? If there is something pressing, I can certainly be available by email or by phone.

Let me know if it's okay to take another day off here. And then I will coordinate with everyone to make sure I make up for any lost work.

I appreciate your understanding Ian.

Thanks so much!


Family emergency email example

Good morning Ian,

I was informed early this morning of a pressing personal family matter that I need to attend to. I'm sincerely sorry that this might impact work that needs to get accomplished today. And this week.

If it were not a serious matter I wouldn't be asking to take time off. Would it be okay to take either a sick day or a last-minute vacation day to assist my family?

I'll keep you informed of the progress and whether or not I need an additional day to handle the matters.

Please let me know if this is okay. And I will try to coordinate with everyone to make sure that my absence doesn't impact anyone's work or current projects.

Thanks so much for your understanding and help, Ian.



Taking Sick Days When You Aren't Sick

A mental health day is a day where an employee decides that they want to take a day off work. And provide themselves a "mental break" from their jobs.

What is a mental health day?

Very few employers suggest that taking a "mental health day" is okay. Instead, they might provide longer amounts of vacation time. A mental health day allows an employee to recharge. And reset. Then come back to work refreshed.

Ask yourself, do you really need a day off? Could you ask to simply stay at home and work instead? Consider your reputation. And what situation you might be putting your colleagues in if you decided not to attend work that day.

Should you take a mental health day?

When you need a day to yourself, taking a "mental health day" isn't something that your employer needs to know. In addition, it might not even be a sick day.

Be sure to check how many sick days your employer suggests you have. It will be found in the company handbook and human resources policies.

To avoid any complications, instead of trying to take a mental health day and calling it a sick day, take a vacation day instead.

A single vacation day isn't going to do much in terms of using up your paid vacation periods.

And it won't cause any complication between you, your manager, your team, or anyone else.

It's okay to take a vacation day last minute. In order to do that, tell everyone by a phone call or email something like the following:

Morning everyone, I'm taking a last-minute vacation day today. Before I leave I want to check in with everyone and see if missing a few meetings today is going to set us back at all. Let me coordinate with each of you and we'll make sure this isn't going to be an issue. Thank you so much!

how to call in sick

Sick Day Tips

Here are some simple tips to follow to make it easy to take a sick day.

  • Don't lie. If you don't have to, don't lie to everyone. It's going to be complicated when you lie. If you need to take a day to yourself, simply take a last-minute vacation day instead.
  • Don't post on social media. When you do need to take a vacation day or sick day, don't post on social media. Posting pictures of yourself on a boat. Or doing some other type of activity can be cause for misconduct.
  • Don't brag about your day off. It's best to avoid speaking about your day off. Let it blow over once you return.
  • Consider the timing of your absence. Is it near a deadline? Or on a day where there is an important client phone call? Consider what you might be risking by taking a day.
  • Consider your performance. One thing to keep in mind is when you are sick, making sure you take the day off so that you don't risk doing poor work. Trying to "push through" the pain of being ill isn't going to bode well for your reputation.

Your relationship with your manager can be tested during these types of requests. It's best to consider your own reputation. If you just completed a big project. And have some "merit" behind your work, taking a day off isn't going to impact your reputation.

Although, if you're the type of employee who is constantly taking days off. And isn't meeting deadlines. How is this going to affect your employment status?

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more.


Help us by spreading the word