How To Write A Sick Leave Email To Boss (With Examples)

By Caitlin Mazur
Jan. 16, 2023
Articles In Life At Work Guide

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Summary. To write a sick leave email to your boss, include the reason for your absence, how long you’ll be gone, and your availability for remote work. Add any information about doctor’s notes or other documentation you’ll submit, and mention anyone you’ve asked to help cover for you in your absence before signing off professionally.

Everyone gets sick, and sometimes your illness is enough to warrant a day off from your job. When this happens, it’s essential to communicate your absence to your team, your manager, and anyone else who may need to know if your absence affects their work.

Below, we outline some common practices on how to notify your boss about your absence at work.

Key Takeaways

  • Contact your boss as quickly as possible when you realize you need a sick day.

  • Contact any coworkers who will be affected by your absence to let them know you’ll be out.

  • Your sick leave request email should include the reason for and length of your absence, your level of reachability, and who you’ve asked to cover for you.

How To Write A Sick Leave Email To Boss (With Examples)

How to Ask for a Sick Day

Whether your company policy outlines this or not, it’s always a smart idea to put your notification for sick time in writing. This is important to protect you for proof if it is needed later, as well as make it easy for your manager to keep a record of your time off.

  1. Understand company policy. It’s important to understand company policy and what they offer as sick days. Some companies might offer sick days and personal days so it’s important to know the difference.

    • Sick Days: Can be used for any illness such as the common cold to anything more serious that could require a doctor’s visit.

    • Personal Days: Can be used to cover things like the illness of a child, death in the family, religious holidays, or jury duty.

  2. Notify as soon as possible. Let your supervisor or manager know as quickly as possible. If you can send a text message, email, or phone call to let them know, that is the best method for reaching someone. Again, understand your manager or employers’ preference on how it’s best to contact them in these types of situations.

  3. Notify other coworkers. Communicate with anyone else you work directly with and give them a run-down of the things you will miss during your time off. If there are time-sensitive items on your to-do list, be sure to make they are aware of them. It is best practice to try and have a game plan in case of your absence.

  4. Don’t forget to check your calendar. Chances are you may have meetings you will need to miss due to your illness. Be sure to in the meeting that you will not be in attendance. Do this as soon as possible so that they have the chance to reschedule in a timely manner.

What to Include in a Sick Day Email

Your sick day email should be straightforward and to the point. Here are the things you should consider including when writing your email or letter to your manager:

  • Reason for absence. This part can either be specific or vague, depending on the type of relationship you have with your boss and the cause of your illness.

    Write what sort of ailment you’ve come down with and what’s preventing you from coming to the office or logging onto your computer. If there are specific details you feel will help your boss understand better, be sure to include them. But a concise reason is perfectly acceptable.

  • How long you’ll be out. Depending on the type of illness you’ve come down with, you may be able to predict how long you’ll be out. For illnesses like the flu or a cold, you may be able to anticipate only being out for a few days.

    However, your condition may be more complicated than that, so if you’re not sure when you can return to work, give your doctor a call and ask them for an estimate so that you can provide that to your employer.

  • Address how available you will be. You should give your boss some insight into your availability, depending on how sick you are. If you can check through your emails, let them know. If you can give them your phone number to take emergency texts and calls, do that as well.

    However, ensure that you take care of yourself first. If you are too sick to take calls and emails, let your boss know and allow yourself time to rest.

  • Notify if you will work remotely. If you can work from home, let your boss know that you plan to log on for a while over your sick day. Senior-level employees may have difficulty getting an actual day off from work, as they’ll need to be available for their employees.

    However, if you require a full-day rest, ensure you have some type of plan to keep your projects moving.

  • Documentation. Let your employer know of any doctor’s notes or other documentation you will obtain to show to them once your sick time is over.

  • Name a point person. Choose a person from our team who can help take over some of the tasks for your current projects or meetings so that your manager and other employees across the organization will know who to contact with questions.

    Ensure you communicate with this person before you announce that they will be taking over your duties.

  • Professional closing. Be sure to end your note on a professional close with your name.

Sample Sick Leave Email

An example and template is provided below:

Sick Leave Email Example

April 16
Maria Reynolds
Marketing Director
Apple, Inc.

Dear Larry,

I am writing this letter to inform you that I will need to take two days off from work due to an illness I am experiencing. Luckily, I have visited my doctor, who has given me antibiotics, but he advised me to stay away from others for at least two days to ensure I am no longer contagious.

Attached, please find a letter from my doctor confirming that I must take these days off to recover fully. I apologize for any inconvenience that my absence may cause, but I have communicated with Dean, who will take over as the point person on our upcoming Apple Watch event. Additionally, I will plan to periodically check my emails over the next two days if I feel better and respond to any urgent inquiries. When I return to work on Thursday, I will do my best to catch up on what I’ve missed.

If you are able to record our Marketing Team Call, I will listen to the recording when I am feeling better. If anything urgent arises while I am out of the office, please feel free to call or text me at 235-324-2352, and I will do my best to respond.

Additionally, please let me know if you need any more information from my doctor. Should I need any additional time off, I will let you know as soon as possible. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about anything related to my workload or leave request.

Thank you so much for your understanding.


Sick Day Request FAQ

  1. When should you notify your boss of a sick day?

    When notifying your boss of a sick day, let your boss know as soon as possible. If you are feeling sick the night before, give your boss a call or text letting them know you won’t be in, then provide a formal letter as soon as you can.

  2. Do I need to tell my boss why I’m sick?

    No, you don’t need to tell your boss why you’re sick. No federal law prohibits employers from asking employees why they are sick. Employers may require you to provide proof of illness.

  3. Can your boss say no if you call in sick?

    Yes, technically they can ask you to come in. They could be upset and write you up for not showing up, so make sure to understand company policy for sick leave and provided paid time off.

  4. How do you say, “I’m sick,” professionally?

    A professional way to say, “I’m sick,” is, “I’m not feeling well.” It’s also courteous to provide enough detail to explain why you are going to take a sick day. This shows that you thought through this decision and aren’t just skipping out on work.

    You could say something like, “I wasn’t feeling well last night, and I’m even worse this morning. I don’t want to pass it on to anyone else, so I’m going to take a sick day to rest and recover as quickly as possible.”


  1. The HR Digest – How to Write a Sick Day Email (With Examples)

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Paid Sick Leave: What Is Available to Workers? (PDF)

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Caitlin Mazur

Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

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