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How to call in sick

How to call in sick

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  • Editor’s Note: Aw, I’m sorry you don’t feel well! But thank you for not spreading germs.
  • Check out this big list of things to do while you’re stuck with a bug at home.
  • Be timely. Don’t send them a text two hours into the workday (not a good look).
  • Be clear but don’t go into the gory details. If you find yourself talking about bowel movements, you’ve gone too far.
  • Give them an estimated time of return. You can’t really know how long it will take you to get over an illness, but giving them a rough idea shows them that you’re already thinking about getting back.
  • Be apologetic. While you absolutely have every right to take time to rest and recover during an illness, know that it does often create a strain on your colleagues who have to back you up.
  • Acknowledge their support and understanding.

Talking Points

  • I’m terribly sorry, <name>, but I’m unwell and unable to work today. I know this puts a strain on the team, and if there was any way to avoid it, I would. Thank you for understanding.
  • Good morning, <name> apologies for the early text, but I wanted to let you know that I’m unable to report for work today due to a <terrible migraine/case of food poisoning>. Of course, please feel free to reach out to me if anything urgent pops up. Thank you for understanding!

Excerpt from A Guide to Calling in Sick, US News:

What Your Boss Is Allowed to Ask

Your boss’s natural reaction may be to ask what is wrong, but you are under no obligation to provide details of your illness. Many times, employers ask partly out of concern for your well-being and partly to gauge how long they will need to cover your shifts or workload. To address the latter concern, let your employer know when you expect to return, if possible.

“Organizations do have the option of asking for a doctor’s note,” Pruitt-Haynes says. For instance, some businesses use a three-day rule and request verification from a doctor after three days’ absence.

If you need to take an extended medical leave, you may have to fill out paperwork to qualify for the job protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act, more commonly known as FMLA. However, even in these situations, medical information should be kept confidential by your company’s human resources department and does not need to be disclosed to a supervisor or coworkers.

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