It is necessary to know how to call in sick to work. When you call in sick, it’s critical to take a few professional steps to ensure that your manager and team are aware of your absence. Here are some tips to guide you.
How to Call in Sick?
Follow these steps to take a sick day at work.
1. Inform Your Manager as Soon as Possible
It is best to notify your manager as soon as possible. Regardless of the industry, your manager will be your most valuable resource.
They’ll be able to point you in the direction of someone who can temporarily take over your job duties. In addition, assist in registering your sick day with the human resources department.
Failure to notify your manager/boss of your absence may result in a negative mark on your record. In some cases, it may result in termination. It is regarded as a “no show” at work.
As soon as possible, send an email or text to your manager/boss. A Slack message is also sufficient. It’s best to notify employers first thing in the morning, as soon as you know you won’t be able to work.
2. Keep Your Reasoning Brief
When taking sick leave, a manager or boss is unlikely to ask many questions. It’s quite common. Simply state a simple reason, such as feeling ill with the flu or a cold. Or perhaps you have a family emergency and need to take a sick day.
It’s not necessary to go into great detail about why you need to take a sick day. If you decide to take a mental health day, it is best to inform your manager that you are taking a sick day.
3. Notify Your Team of Your Absence
Make sure to email or message your team to let them know you’re sick. And that you’ll be back as soon as you’re feeling better.
Before you decide to leave, try to coordinate any work that needs to be done. Your team/employees do not want to be left in the dark about where you are.
Failure to notify your team/employees may result in a loss of efficiency or work. And can lead to a loss of trust in your team. Or even your boss.
4. Be Truthful
Be honest if you feel the need to stay home for a day to protect your mental health. Sometimes you need to take a break to recharge, especially if you’ve just completed a large project.
You may only need to run personal errands or attend to personal responsibilities. This could spark a discussion that benefits both you and your team.
5. Follow Up
Check to see if your employer requires any type of documentation, such as a doctor’s note, before you return to work. If you are absent for more than three days, some employers may require documentation.
The nature of the illness will not be disclosed for privacy reasons.
6. Get Ready to Go Back to Work
When you become aware of an impending illness, think about how you can help your coworkers function without you in the coming days. Inform your team of your absence, outline upcoming tasks, and leave detailed instructions.
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How to Call in Sick Two Days in a Row
It is common for employees to call in sick two days in a row. What illness can be cured in a single day? None. To call in sick two days in a row, simply notify your manager/boss/team that you are extremely ill. And still, require time off.
Follow the same steps outlined above. Contact your manager/boss once more, informing them that you require a few extra days. Also, notify your team that you are still sick and must stay at home or miss work.
How to Request a Mental Health Day
When you need time off but are not sick, you must notify your employers offer and coworkers in the same way that you would if you were physically ill. However, there are several other factors to consider.
1. Be Truthful
When you contact your boss, be upfront about the fact that you require a day off for yourself. You may require time to attend personal appointments, meetings, or make deliveries. You might need a break to catch up on your daily activities.
If taking a personal day off isn’t an option, don’t lie or exaggerate about a false illness. Keep your communication simple, such as “I’m not feeling well today.” Because I don’t believe I can give you my best work, I’ll be absent today.”
2. Inform the Team
If you were sick, you would notify your team that you would be absent. The same is true for personal days. Your coworkers must be aware that you will be absent and that they may be required to fill in for you.
However, if you had to notify your boss that you were sick, don’t brag to others about your absence.
3. Avoid Using Social Media
If you need a day off, take it as needed, but don’t brag about it on social media. This is especially true if you called in sick when you weren’t sick. If you are in a social setting, be aware of what other people may post about you.
What to Do if You’ve Called in Sick
After you’ve contacted your boss, don’t forget to:
1. Contact Coworkers
Inform your team that you will be absent. This is especially important if you’re working on a group project or have a tight deadline. Inform them if they need to cover any meetings or phone calls in your absence.
Inform them if you will respond via email or work from home.
2. Set Up an Out-Of-Office Message System
Set up your email autoresponder or recorded phone messages. This will notify anyone attempting to contact you that you are unavailable, but that their call or message is important to you and that you will respond when you return.
When returning to work, make returning those calls or messages a priority.
3. Rest and Refuel
No one will begrudge you your time off if you don’t take advantage of it. After all, an employee who is happy and healthy is always valued.
When You Get Back to Work
When you return from sick leave, be ready to re-enter the workplace. You may feel behind for a short period as you learn what happened while you were away.
Speak with your coworkers or supervisor about the best way to gather information and approach your responsibilities, especially if you have been out of the office for more than a day or two.
Turn off auto-notifications so that emails and phone calls come to you directly.
Return phone calls and email messages as soon as possible. This will also aid in meeting current and future job demands.
Check-in with your coworkers to see if there are any questions or concerns that need to be addressed. Tell them how much you appreciate their assistance and that you would be delighted to return the favor.
Consider sanitizing your desk and surroundings if you were absent due to illness. Take precautions to prevent the spread of any lingering germs.
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The Most Common Reasons for Calling in Sick
Here are some good reasons to call in sick (when you’re sick).
1. Back Ache
This is insufficient for anyone who can work from home and suffers from back pain. Alternatively, you could work in the technology industry. However, for those who work in the construction industry.
Back pain is an acceptable reason to stay at home if they have to stand on their feet for long periods.
It is best to notify your employer of your plan to resolve the problem. Going to see a chiropractor, for example, or attempting to use a heating pad to ensure you’re well enough to return to work as soon as possible.
2. I’m Sick
When you’re not sure what you’ve got. It could be either the flu or a cold. It’s best if you stay at home. You don’t want to risk infecting someone else.
It is acceptable to inform your manager/boss that you are simply feeling ill. And that you are unsure of the precise reason.
In this case, following up the next day and informing them of the illness you believe you may have is an excellent way to communicate about your sick leave.
3. Emergency in the Family
It is acceptable to call in sick due to a family emergency. In some cases, your boss may suggest that you simply take a day off. Rather than taking a sick day. It is determined by the company’s policies and the employee handbook.
When claiming a family emergency, make certain that it is genuine and not a ruse. Many coworkers will inquire as to your well-being. And many people will be concerned and wonder what happened.
Some reasons for calling in sick are inadequate.
- I’m not feeling inspired.
- I require a “personal day.”
- You’re hungover.
When to Call in Sick for Work
Knowing what to do when you need to call in sick for work. But you also need to know when you need to do it.
1. When You are Truly Sick
If you are truly ill, you should take the day off. Explain what’s going on in a nutshell without going into too much detail. You don’t have to tell your boss that you’ve been puking all morning.
However, you must inform them that you are genuinely too sick to come to work without risking infecting the rest of the team.
Try this: “I awoke today feeling quite ill, and I believe I’m developing a fever. I don’t want it to get any worse, and I’m afraid of infecting my coworkers. I believe I should take the day off and rest so that I can return tomorrow.
Thank you for your patience, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
2. When you Have a Job Interview
It is sometimes acceptable to use a sick day even if you are not sick. When you have a job interview and want to use a sick day for it, keep your phone call or email as vague and brief as possible.
You don’t want to start lying about having a fever or a head cold and then show up to work the next day looking, feeling, and acting fine.
Try this: “I’m not feeling well, so I’ll be taking the day off. I’m hoping to be recharged by tomorrow.”
3. When You Have a Doctor’s Appointment
If you have a doctor’s appointment, whether you’re sick or just getting a checkup, notify your manager ahead of time.
Plan your day around the appointment, delegate any work that you will miss, and complete any projects that your appointment would have otherwise interfered with.
Let your manager know as soon as possible, preferably days or weeks before the appointment, that you’ll be out for the day or a few hours, but that you’ve already taken care of everything.
Try this: “I informed you a few weeks ago that I have a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, so I’ll be out of the office then.
I’ve filed the documents due to EOD early so you don’t have to wait on me, and I’ve kept my assistant up to date on what’s going on with the campaign in case anyone needs immediate assistance while I’m away.”
4. When there’s an Emergency
Nobody expects the unexpected, but sometimes life just happens.
If you need to take a sick day to deal with an emergency, such as a loved one’s illness, a surprise flood in your bathroom, a fender bender, or worse, explain what’s going on and why your call or email is so late.
Try this: “I apologize for any inconvenience, but X occurred this morning, and I need to be present for Y. I’ll be there as soon as possible today or tomorrow.
I don’t have any deadlines today, but I’m working on Z and will finish it later/tomorrow.” Alternatively, “I have Z due today; is it possible to push the deadline back a day? I appreciate your patience.”
Now that you have a better understanding of unpaid versus paid sick leave, be sure to research your state’s laws and understand your rights.
Inform your manager that you will be exercising that right, but give them as much notice as possible and do your best to delegate or address any work that you will be missing.
5. When You Need A Mental Health Day
According to the World Health Organization, one in every four people will suffer from a mental or neurological disorder. Mental disorders affect approximately 450 million people worldwide, making them one of the leading causes of illness and disability.
You are not alone in needing a mental health day; in fact, you have most likely had coworkers who have done the same. Employers, however, do not always treat mental and physical health in the same way.
Say something like, “I need to take a personal day to recharge so that I can return feeling revitalized and productive.”
6. When You’re Hungover
You shouldn’t be coming into work hungover or getting hungover at all during the workweek. But it does happen from time to time.
It could even have happened as a result of a work happy hour or an office holiday party (though calling out sick after a company party is a no-no). If you truly cannot make it into the office after a night of drinking, take a sick day — but do not make it a habit.
Don’t bring up the hangover, but don’t lie about it either. Just keep it brief.
Although there is no federal bereavement leave law, some businesses do have a bereavement leave policy.
If you’ve used up all of your bereavement leave, you may need to take a sick day to grieve for a longer period — or even a week — if necessary. However, if you know you will need a day to grieve, you should plan your sick day ahead of time.
Try this: “I’m taking a sick day to grieve so that I can return to work tomorrow with my full attention. I’ve already delegated today’s work to my assistant, and I’ve completed all of my assignments ahead of schedule.”
7. When You Need to Care for Someone Else
Every state that has a sick leave law requires employers to allow employees, such as working parents, to use their sick leave to care for sick family members.
Try this: “This morning, my son became ill, and I need to take him to the doctor. I’ll be back in the office as soon as possible, or I’ll take a sick day and return tomorrow. I appreciate your patience.”
8. When You Need More Vacation Days
You may need to use sick days (assuming you have them and they’re separate). If you’re calling in sick at the last minute, make sure your reasoning is sound. Otherwise, talk to your boss ahead of time to see if you can combine your vacation with a sick day.
Try this: “Because of X, Y, or Z, I won’t be able to return in time to get to the office or go online. I’ll have to take a sick day today and return to work tomorrow.”
What Your Boss is Permitted to Ask
Your boss’s natural reaction may be to inquire as to what is wrong, but you are not required to provide specifics about your illness.
Employers frequently ask this question, partly out of concern for your well-being and partly to determine how long they will need to cover your shifts or workload.
To address the latter concern, if possible, let your employer know when you expect to return.
If you are absent for several days, you may be required to provide a doctor’s note confirming your illness, depending on your company’s policy.
According to Roland, many businesses follow a three-day rule and require verification from a doctor after three days of absence.
“We decided (at solved) to request a doctor’s note for (absences of) 5 days or more,” Mosher says. Employees may also provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 test.
Alternatively, those who are caring for a family member who has COVID can sign an affidavit stating that.
If you need to take an extended medical leave, you may need to fill out paperwork to qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA.
Even in these cases, medical information should be kept confidential by your company’s human resources department and should not be disclosed to a supervisor or coworkers.
Can You Be Fired for Calling in Sick?
Workers who belong to a union may have additional protections, but for the majority of people, the answer is determined by state laws.
“If you work in a state where employees are fired at will, they can fire you for anything that isn’t illegal,” Augustine says.
That means that unless you qualify for legal protections under FMLA or the Americans with Disabilities Act, your employer can fire you for calling in sick.
Employers may not fire an otherwise good employee who calls in sick on occasion, but if they suspect you are faking an illness, they may be less understanding. “Abusing sick leave can result in termination,” says Camacho Moran.
Can You Be Forced to Leave Work if You’re Sick?
If your boss believes you are ill, he or she has the authority to send you home. In that case, you might have been better off calling in sick in the first place. “It’s just proper etiquette to stay at home and take care of yourself,” Roland says.
COVID-19 Impact Pandemic on Sick Leave
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have made immediate changes to their sick-leave policies, such as additional days off or paid leave for those staying at home with sick relatives. However, it may have ramifications in the future.
“I think we’ll be sensitive to coughing for years and years,” Mosher predicts. Employers may be more willing to allow employees to call in sick as a result of this.
Now that remote work has proven to be successful for many jobs, companies may be willing to offer it to employees who are sick but not so sick that they require a day off.
For the time being, however, employers may be more understanding of employees calling in sick, and employees may be more aware of the need to stay home when they are ill.
Don’t be afraid to call in sick if you need to. Just make sure to give your boss as much notice as possible and to follow any instructions he or she gives you.
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You’ll wake up nice and healthy one day at work, but for whatever reason, you’ll feel compelled to call in sick.
There will be no good reason for you not to go to work that day — at least, none that your boss will accept.
1. Your Previous Experience
It’s also important to know if you’re the type of person who frequently takes sick days, whether for legitimate, fictitious, or outright false reasons.
The more time you take off, the more likely your boss will suspect you’re doing so for illegal reasons. If you truly need those days because you get sick frequently, using them for no reason will only cause you problems.
2. Your Boss
You should also consider your boss’s perspective on mental health days. Some people believe they should be classified as sick days, while others believe they should be classified as vacation days.
3. Know the Risks
Above all, remember that using sick days for non-sick reasons is a risk — how big a risk depends on you and your specific work situation, and your decision to use sick days in this manner should be calculated accordingly.
4. Corporate Policy
For starters, it is determined by how your company classifies time off. Some employers combine sick and vacation days, in which case calling in for any amount of time off is essentially the same process.
If this is the case, there’s no need to lie about being sick; after all, the process will be the same either way.
Calling in sick at work isn’t as difficult as it seems, with the right guide it it can be done right. But know being able to calling in sick is no ground to lie to your boss as this will adversely affect your productivity and erode your boss’ confidence in you.