How To Write An Excuse Letter For a Work Absence (With Examples)

By Amanda Covaleski
Dec. 12, 2022
Articles In Life At Work Guide

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Summary. To write an excuse letter for a work absence, follow business letter format, explain why and how long you’ll be absent, and include any information that will help them plan for your absence. This includes how your teammates can reach you and who will be covering your duties.

Sometimes you need to miss work for a doctor’s visit, a sick day, or personal reasons. It happens to everyone. You shouldn’t stress about needing to take a day off every once in a while, but it’s important to tell your boss or supervisor.

In this article, we’ll give you tips and tricks on how to write an excuse letter for work absence, as well as some example letters.

Key Takeaways

  • Explain when you’ll be gone and for how long so your boss and your team are prepared for your absence.

  • Double-check any company guidelines or policies before you write your letter.

  • Generally, companies will accept a short excuse letter, so keep it brief.

Excuse Letter For Work Absence

How To Write An Excuse Letter for a Work Absence

When writing your letter, make sure to follow the business headings format and follow any applicable company guidelines. Above all, try to keep your letter short, so your boss (or whoever you address it to) doesn’t have to spend hours trying to figure out when and why you’re leaving.

You only need three paragraphs to communicate all of your information.

  1. Start with an opening paragraph and state that this is an excuse letter for a future absence. You should list your reason and the dates you’ll be out of the office in this first section.

  2. Next, give more details about the absence, like who will cover your duties or how you’ll be available for your teammates to reach you. If anyone has agreed to help you with your projects, make sure to name them.

    Sometimes it can be helpful to include your co-workers’ information, too, if they’re covering for you.

  3. Finally, thank the person you’re writing to for being understanding and include any additional information and offer to help them plan for your absence. With these three easy steps, you’ll have a perfectly professional absence excuse letter for your boss.

Tips for Writing an Work Excuse Letter

Like any professional letter, you can follow a template and keep the content short and sweet. Employers don’t need an entire essay on why you have to miss work, but they do need the basics. These letters are just meant to let your boss know when and why you’ll be absent.

Here are a few tips for writing a good absence excuse letter for your job.

  • Reference your employee guidelines and policies around sick days. Usually, companies have defined process for time off. Consult your employee handbook or double-check what the process is with someone before drafting your letter. Your company should indicate what information they need in an excuse letter or who to deliver your letter to.

    Some companies make a distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Make sure that when you submit your absence letter, you’re leaving work for an approved reason. It depends on your company, but typically pre-planned events like doctor’s appointments, religious holidays, jury duty, or helping immediate family members can be considered excused absences.

  • Follow business letter format. This is a professional letter, you’ll need to write your excuse letter like any other professional letter. You don’t have to share all of the details of where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing while you’re out of the office.

    It’s better to keep things short and concise since these letters often go on file for future reference. We’ll give you a template and business letter samples at the end of this article if you need help.

  • Don’t abuse your leave. Of course, some employees need to take time off, but that doesn’t mean you should be sending an absence excuse letter once a week or extending your absence past the necessary window. You should think about your reason for leaving before you write and send your excuse letter.

    The more leaves of absence you take, the more likely it is that you’ll end up in a conversation with your boss if you leave all of the time.

  • Talk to your teammates. You should coordinate with your team before you draft your letter so you have an idea of who can cover your work if there’s anything that has to get done while you’re gone. This will not only make you look good as a proactive employee, but you’ll also feel better while you’re out knowing who’s got your tasks covered.

  • Offer to work remotely if possible. In today’s world, telecommuting or working remotely is easier than ever. If you’re planning an absence because you can’t physically make it to the office instead of being unable to work, think about requesting to work remotely instead of taking an absence.

    Often, you can save your allotted time off by asking to work remotely temporarily.

  • Make time for your co-workers to reach you. Even if you’re out of the office, it doesn’t mean your company stops working. You should provide a way (like phone, email, or text) for your teammates to reach you and general hours when you’ll respond. Most likely, your colleagues won’t need to contact you, but it’s good to be prepared and offer this anyway.

  • Get your letter written as soon as possible. The more notice you give someone your absence letter, the better. They’ll have more time to coordinate with you and your co-workers to figure out what needs to get done before, during, and after your absence.

  • Offer your help. Include specific ways you can help your team while you’re gone or offer to brainstorm ways to help in your letter. Your boss and your teammates will thank you for being flexible and helpful before you leave

  • Cover your bases for unexpected absences too. There comes a time when something unexpected comes up. It happens from time to time. You should still send a message as soon as you can. It will look good for you if you follow up on an unexpected leave with a formal letter explaining why you were out and how you’ll make up the work you missed.

    First, contact someone at your office to let them know you’re not coming in, then send a follow up formal absence excuse letter within the next 24-48 hours. For those letters, you can follow our general tips, with a few extra apologies for missing work without notice.

Two Sample Formal Work Excuse Letters

Here are two examples of how you can write a formal absence excuse letter for work. While you can be absent from work for many reasons, we’re giving you examples of the most common work absences – jury duty and a medical procedure.

Sample Jury Duty Excuse Letter for Work

Jane Doe
Account Manager
ABC Company
123 Main St
City, State 12345

October 20, 2020

Karen Smith
HR Director
ABC Company
100 Street Rd
City, State 12345

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing to inform you of my intent to be absent from work starting Monday, November 2nd, until Wednesday, November 4th. I have been summoned for jury duty, so I will be unable to be in the office or work remotely.

I will be checking my email and scheduling phone calls in the morning and evening, outside of jury hours, while I am out. I expect to be available between 7 am and 9 am as well as 5 pm to 8 pm for work matters. I’ve arranged for my colleague, Ron Miller, to handle any communication outside of the company for me.

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can provide you with or help arrange extra support while I’m out. Thank you for understanding.

Jane Doe

Sample Medical Excuse Letter for Work

John Smith
Sales Associate
Number 1 Company
123 Main St
City, State 12345

October 21, 2020

Mary Williams
Director of Sales
Number 1 Company
100 Company Rd
City, State 12345

Dear Mrs. Williams,

Please accept this letter as my formal excuse for absence from work. As I mentioned previously, I will need to undergo a small operation on Friday, October 30. I’ve attached my doctor’s note for your reference below. I expect to be out of the office both Friday, October 30, and Monday, November 2.

I have spoken with my team, and Joan Anderson has agreed to cover the weekly reports that I am responsible for drafting. Bill Doe will check in with me and send over any urgent work that I need to address at the end of each day.

Thank you for understanding, and please let me know if I can help arrange anything else while I’m out of the office. I’d be happy to help you in any way that I can.

John Smith

Excuse Letter FAQ

  1. How do you apologize for being absent at work?

    Apologize for being absent at work by being honest about why you were absent, not making excuses, and apologizing. You can also explain what you’re going to do to prevent it from happening again.

    The key is to own your mistake — which means not blaming anyone or any circumstances but yourself — and apologize.

  2. What’s a good excuse for being absent?

    A good excuse for being absent is sickness (for you or a family member), family emergencies, appointments, or home maintenance problems. Having to unexpectedly provide child care or experiencing a mental health challenge are also good reasons for being absent from work.

  3. How do I write a letter of excuse for work?

    Write a letter of excuse for work by explaining the details of your absence, communicating any arrangements you’ve made for your absence, and thanking the person for their understanding.

    Be brief but thorough, describing how long and why you’re going to be gone, as well as who will be covering for you. You can also invite the recipient and any coworkers to contact you during your absence — just remember to provide the information they need to be able to do this.

  4. Why should you write an absence excuse letter?

    You should write an absence excuse letter because it’s courteous and it serves as a record of absence. Even if it’s in the form of a quick email, an excuse letter gives your manager a heads up that you won’t be in to work. This gives them time to prepare for your absence.

    Your excuse letter also serves as a permanent record in case you need verification of your absence and the reason for it in the future.


  1. Purdue University – Writing the Basic Business Letter

  2. Terry Katz and Associates, P.C. – 8 Acceptable Reasons To Miss Work

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Amanda Covaleski

Amanda is a writer with experience in various industries, including travel, real estate, and career advice. After taking on internships and entry-level jobs, she is familiar with the job search process and landing that crucial first job. Included in her experience is work at an employer/intern matching startup where she marketed an intern database to employers and supported college interns looking for work experience.

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