How to call in sick?

When calling in sick to work, be direct and concise, stating your inability to come in due to illness. Inform your supervisor or HR the nature of your illness and when you expect to return.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Calling in sick for work requires professionalism, clarity, and consideration. Communicating clearly and respectfully to your employer about reasons for calling in sick to work shows professionalism. You may call in sick to work by telephone and always document your communication with an clear and concise email to your supervisor or HR your inability to work; communicate your commitment to resume work duties upon recovery is crucial for maintaining professionalism and managing work expectations. In this article, our San Diego employment attorney discusses the steps you should take to call in sick to work.

Step 1: Let the employer know as soon as possible that you absent from work

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.

Step 2: Choose a Good Method of Contact Work to Call in Sick

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.

Step 3: Be Ready to Give A Good Reasons to Calling in Sick for Work

You should always be honest and genuine when calling in sick to work. Here are are 1o legitimate reasons for calling in sick to work:

  1. Illness: Sickness or contagious conditions that could affect coworkers is a valid to call in sick.
  2. Recovery: Recovering from a recent medical procedure or surgery is a good reason to call in sick.
  3. Injury: An injury that impedes the ability to work is a good reason to call in sick.
  4. Medical Appointments: A good reason to call in sick is necessary medical appointments that cannot be scheduled outside work hours.
  5. Contagious Illness of Love One: You should call in sick to work when caring for a sick family member to prevent spreading illness at the workplace.
  6. Mental Health: Your diminishing mental health is a valid reason to call in sick if the condition prevents you to perform you work effectively.
  7. Childcare: You can call in sick to work for unexpected childcare issues, such as a sick child requiring supervision.
  8. Emergency: Dealing with a household emergency or unexpected personal situation is a good reason to call in sick to work.

Step 4: 10 Things you must say when calling in sick to work

  1. Plan Ahead: Call in sick to work as early as possibly by contacting your supervisor or HR.
  2. Be Clear and Concise: When calling in sick to work, communicate your illness and inability to work due to being unwell.
  3. Provide Details: Offer relevant information when calling in sick for work, such as the nature of your illness or symptoms, if necessary.
  4. Follow Company Protocol: When calling in sick for work, you must follow the the company’s policies and procedures for reporting absences due to illness.
  5. Offer Solutions: When calling sick be prepared to suggest how your workload can be managed during your absence or propose a plan for catching up on missed tasks. 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.
  6. Be Honest: Always be honest and transparent when calling in sick for work.
  7. Express Regret: Apologize for any inconvenience caused by you calling in sick for work and express your intention to return to work as soon as you feel better.
  8. Confirm Next Steps: When you call in sick for work you should if the company wants a doctors note a doctor’s note or completing any necessary forms upon your return.
  9. Stay Available: Remain reachable when you call in sick for work just in case your employer needs further information or updates regarding your illness or return to work.
  10. Follow Up & Prepare to Return to Work: 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. Consider checking in with your supervisor or HR after you call in sick to confirm your return date and ensure a smooth transition back to work. 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.

Step 5: 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.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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