5 Steps on How to Call Off Work

Chris is an employee at IHOP. One morning, he wakes up to water dripping on his face. He looks up to see a growing wet patch on his ceiling, and when he gets up for closer examination, notices that the entire ceiling is caving in. Just as he lunges out of the bedroom, the whole ceiling collapses, as the bathtub from the upstairs bathroom crashes down onto his bed. It turns out that his wife left the water running while she was blow-drying her hair, and the house’s foundation was already violating several building codes. Chris calls his boss at IHOP and explains that he has an emergency to address, and he will need to use a day of his paid time off (PTO) to hire a contractor and dry off the family cat.

By: Brad Nakase, Attorney

Email  |  Call 888-600-8654

Now and again, and employee will run into situations where he or she needs to miss work. Generally, employers understand when one of their workers needs to clock out early or miss a day on account of personal affairs, medical problems, or emergencies. While taking time off is okay and expected, there are ways to do so without antagonizing one’s employer or colleagues.

1. Reasons for Calling Out of Work

Medical

An employee can call out of work if sick with a cold, the flu, or a stomachache. Especially if contagious, it’s important for an ill coworker to stay home in order to keep the office healthy. Medical reasons for calling out of work also include injury or doctor’s appointments.

Example: Harry has come down with a bad cold. He has been treating it with TheraFlu and cough drops, and by Monday morning, he thinks he is okay to work. When he steps into the office, his boss sees his pale, clammy face and hears his wracking coughs that startle the other employees. His boss strongly encourages him to go home and rest by taking a sick day. Even though Harry would like to avoid missing work, he knows that it is the best decision for everyone in the office that he isolate himself.

Emergency

Sometimes an employee will need to call out of work for a non-health related emergency. Non-medical emergencies include home repair or death of a relative.

Example: Guinevere lives in Calabasas. When an autumn fire rips through the hills and burns down her house, she takes time off work to talk to her insurance company and salvage items from the wreckage with her two dogs, Arthur and Lancelot.

Personal

An employer might offer his employees personal days. These are days that an employee can use throughout the year for any reason. They may be used, for example, to do necessary personal tasks or simply to rest at home.

Example: Eunice has been working hard for the past few months and feels like she needs a break from the office. On Friday, she calls into work and tells her boss she would like to take a personal day to rest. Her boss agrees. Eunice takes a five-hour nap and then goes to a Slipknot concert, as she is perfectly entitled to do on her personal day.

How to Call Out of Work

1. Choose a Good Method of Contact

Depending on the workplace, some employers have preferred methods of contact. Restaurant managers or barbers, for example, may not use email often. For them, contact by phone is probably best. An office manager would be best reached by email, conversely. The exception to this is if a workplace has a standard method of calling out of work. For instance, a manager prefers to be contacted by text because he always has his phone on him.

2. Let the Employer Know in Advance

It is good practice to let an employer or supervisor know about a planned absence as soon as possible. For example, if an employee catches a cold on Friday and knows that he will not be coming into work on Monday, he should call, email, or text his employer, letting he or she know that he will be absent from work. Similarly, if an employee is planning to take a day off to attend her child’s school graduation, she should let her employer know a week or two ahead of time, to allow her employer time to accommodate her absence from the office.

3. Be Brief

An employee should keep it brief when explaining to an employer why he or she will miss work. For instance, when calling out sick, an employee does not need to give his boss a rundown of his symptoms or how he diagnosed himself using WebMD. All he needs to say is that he is sick and staying home to get better. It is also good practice to show an interest in getting back to work soon.

Example A: At breakfast time, Ian sends a message to his employer saying, “Hey boss, I think I have an infection. I have a fever and some kind of fungus growing on my toe. I looked it up online but can’t identify it. Reddit doesn’t know either. Anyway, I’m going to head to the doctor to get some meds and have a sample taken from my toe. Maybe it’s just a wart. Will let you know.”

Bad. TMI, Ian.

Example B: Gillian sends an email to her boss the night before work saying, “Hi Kerry, I’ve come down with a fever and am not feeling too well, so I won’t be in the office tomorrow. I’ve talked to Gemma and she knows what to do on the project until I’m back in.”

Good. Gillian is brief and considerate.

4. Have Solutions Ready

If an employee takes time off during a busy period, or if there is work to be completed in his or her absence, it is a good idea for the employee to plan ahead. He or she should make sure that responsibilities are under control and if needed, someone can cover his or her shift.

5. Prepare to Return

It is important that even while away, an employee stays in contact with his or her team. Staying in touch and keeping up to date with information will make one’s absence less impactful on the workplace.

When an employee returns to work, it’s important that he or she catches up on any missed work and puts in extra effort to not fall behind.

We want to hear your story.

2 + 2 = ?

At Will Employment

At will employment means that the employer or the worker may end the employment relationship at any time. When an employment is at will, the employer can terminate employees for no reason.

Can You Get Fired for Looking for Another Job?

Firing an employee for looking for another job is legal under California Labor Code § 2922. Employees in California are employed on an “at-will” which means the employee or employer can terminate the working relationship at any time for any reason.

Can an employee be terminated while on medical leave?

It depends on the reason the employee is on medical leave. Under the FMLA, an employee cannot be terminated simply because they take leave. An employee is free to take medical leave without fear of losing their job. However, if there is a reason unrelated to the medical leave, an employer does have the right to terminate an employee.

Can Slack Admins Read DMs?

Yes. Slack admin and employer can read every DMs, private channels, private messages sent between team members. Employers on either Slack's free tier or paid tier need to submit a request to Slack before they can access your private chats.

Four Hour Minimum Pay

Yes - under California employment law, when an employee is scheduled to work an eight-hour shift, and the work is canceled, the employer must pay a minimum of four hours.

How far back do PAGA claims go?

A PAGA claim is generally one year from the date of the last employment law violation on which the PAGA claim is based.

FICA Withholding: What is FICA tax on my paycheck?

What is FICA tax on my paycheck? FICA is a federal wage tax. FICA taxes requires withholding from an employee’s gross earnings: 6.2% for social security and 1.45% for Medicare. The employer matches these percentages for a total of 15.3%.

Why Does EDD Do a Benefit Audit?

The EDD conducts benefit audits to help pay Unemployment Insurance benefits to only eligible claimants only, prevents fraud in the UI program, and helps companies control UI costs. The EDD’s responsibility is to collect payroll taxes and conduct payroll audits of businesses.

What Does PAGA Mean in a Lawsuit?

The word PAGA is an acronym for the Private Attorney General Act, which is the Labor Code that authorizes employees to file a lawsuit to recover civil penalties for themselves and other employees. PAGA confers a private right of action to individuals to prosecute under PAGA and incentivizes the employee to keep 25% of collected civil penalties.

What does an employment lawyer do?

An employment lawyer help employers and employees understand their respective rights and obligations, such as wages, wrongful termination, overtime, PTO, disability, discrimination, harassment, etc.

Can my employer call my doctor?

Generally, yes, your employer can call your doctor; however, the questions your employer ask is limited and protected by HIPAA Privacy Law. Your employer has the right to contact your doctor to verify the authenticity of a doctor’s note but cannot ask about your medical condition or diagnosis.

Can I Be Fired for Work Restrictions?

State and federal laws protect employees from employers firing employees because of work restrictions. If you’re fired at work, please get in touch with our employment attorney for a free consultation on work restrictions ignored by the employer.

What Qualifies as an EEOC Complaint?

The EEOC is a federal agency that investigates workplace discrimination and harassment based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, medical status, and disability. There are time limits for filing a complaint with the EEOC.

EEOC Complaint Process

Before filing an EEOC complaint, employees should understand the entire EEOC complaint process. This article answers many Frequently Asked Questions on the EEOC complaint process.

Do guys get paid paternity leave?

A father is eligible for paternity leave if three conditions are met: 1) welcome a new child within the first twelve months; 2) Paid into the State Disability Insurance; 3) Has not taken more than eight weeks of paternity leave in the past twelve months.

California PTO Payout Law

California law declares vacation time to be earned wages, and vacation time is accumulated as work is performed. So, an employee who has the right to ten days of vacation per year will after six months of work earn five days of vacation time.

Suing For Unpaid Wages California

It is totally unfair for an employee to work and not get paid; employees have bills and rent to pay. Employees suing for unpaid wages in California can get help from an employment attorney.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Lawyer To Sue My Employer?

People often ask me how much does an employment lawyer cost? Employees generally have claims against the employer, and an employment lawyer typically works on a contingent fee - meaning there is no fee unless the lawyer wins the employee's case.

Employee Management

Employee management is the process of aid employees to do their best work daily to achieve the company’s goal. Employee management helps improve employee satisfaction and productivity to help a company achieve its overall goals.

© Copyright | Nakase Law Firm (2019)