How to Ask For a Sick Day at Work (+ Examples)

How to Ask For a Sick Day at Work
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Taking sick days is a fantastic way to balance your personal life and business responsibilities. Studies have shown that employees who take time off for illness are happier and healthier than their coworkers who never do.

Aside from vacations, sick days might be a lifesaver for avoiding burnout. It’s a good idea to take a break from your work if you’re always feeling exhausted.

You might take a few different routes when requesting a sick day. Others find it more effective to write a formal letter or even phone their manager instead of just sending an email.

Regardless of how you approach the request, this article will walk you through asking for a sick day.

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What are sick days used for?

Most people know about paid vacation days. But less well known is the fact that many employees also receive sick days, sometimes called personal days, that allow them to take time off work to rest, recuperate, attend doctor appointments, or simply spend quality time with family members.

While it might seem like a perk, there are good reasons why employers offer sick days. They help keep workers healthy, productive, and safe.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of American workers don’t have access to paid sick days. Workers often risk spreading illness to coworkers and customers, especially working alone.

In addition, studies show that those with access to paid sick leave are less likely to come into contact with the flu.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that about 7.8 million workers missed work in January 2022 because they had an illness, injury, medical problem, or appointment. If we assume that most people with the flu won’t go to work anyway, that number could easily reach 10 million.

In addition, according to the National Safety Council, over 300 workers die every day due to work-related injuries.

Many of these deaths could be avoided if workers had access to paid sick days, which provide time away from work to recover from accidents or illnesses.

So while taking time off work may sound nice, it can benefit your employer and yourself.

When to Call in Sick

If you are feeling under the weather, there are some things you can do to make sure your boss doesn’t think you’re faking it. You want to avoid getting called into work because you didn’t show up. If you don’t call in sick, you could risk losing your job altogether.

The best thing to do is to call in sick as soon as you feel something is wrong. Even if you aren’t completely sure what’s wrong, say, “I’m sick.” Your boss won’t ask questions unless he thinks you are ill.

You’ll probably notice that most people go out of their way to tell their bosses they’re sick. They use words like “tired,” “under the weather,” or “stomach bug.” But keep in mind that these terms are vague.

They sound like you’re just being lazy. So, if you’re sick, try saying something like, “I’ve got a cold” or “My stomach hurts.” This gives your boss more information about why you’re calling off work.

But even if you’re healthy, you should immediately let your boss know you’re sick. The longer you wait, the worse it looks. The best time to call in sick is right after you start feeling symptoms. When you call in immediately ill, you give yourself plenty of time to recover.

How many sick days are allowed for you to take?

In most cases, the answer to this question depends on whether you work for a privately held or publicly traded corporation. But regardless of the type of employer, the federal government requires employers to provide certain types of paid leave benefits to their workers.

The law does allow employers to establish different rules for how much paid leave they offer, depending on factors such as the size of the company and industry.

However, it’s important to note that the amount of paid sick days required under the law varies based on state laws. Some states mandate specific numbers of paid sick days, while others don’t specify what amount of paid leave is needed.

For instance, California allows businesses to offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. On the other hand, New Mexico doesn’t require companies to provide paid vacation.

According to the U.S Department of Labor, the typical American worker gets about 8 paid sick days per year. This includes both full-time and part-time employees.

However, the amount of paid sick leave offered by employers depends on the number of hours worked each week. For example, someone working 30 hours a week would receive three days of paid sick leave every month.

Reasons for requesting sick leave

If you’ve ever called out sick because you had a cold or flu, you know how hard it is to explain why you couldn’t come to work.

But even though most employers don’t want to hear it, calling off work due to illness is perfectly valid. You might think it’s just about getting paid, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons to take sick days. Here are some of them.

  1. You’re ill. You probably already knew this one, but calling in sick because you feel lousy is a good excuse. If you have a fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, or stomach ache, chances are you’ll catch up with work later.
  2. Your kids are homesick. This one is especially common during winter, but it can happen anytime. When kids are home sick, parents often miss work too. However, if you’re planning to call in sick to care for children, tell your employer ahead of time. Otherwise, you could face disciplinary action.
  3. A family member needs help. Whether it’s a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend, your loved ones deserve to know what’s going on. They may need to fill in for you while you’re away, or they may need extra support. Either way, letting them know you’re unavailable can prevent many problems.
  4. An emergency has arisen. Maybe you have car trouble or a broken appliance. Or perhaps you’re dealing with a personal crisis like a death in the family or a serious health issue. Whatever the reason, taking time off work when needed is a reasonable option.
  5. You’re pregnant. As long as you notify your employer before you start showing, pregnancy should not affect your ability to request sick time. Many women report feeling more productive after having their first child.
  6. You’re moving. Moving is stressful enough without adding in the added stress of missing work. Plus, relocating means packing up and unpacking boxes, which can be exhausting. If possible, schedule your move around your vacation days.

Examples and tips for sick email messages

If you’ve ever called in sick, you probably sent an email letting your employer know why you couldn’t show up. But did you think about what you wrote? Here are some emails that might help you craft a better one.

1. I’m feeling under the weather today. This is my second day off in a row.

2. I feel like I got food poisoning yesterday and haven’t been able to eat since.

3. I am out of town on vacation and don’t plan to return until next week.

4. My doctor says I should take off the rest of this week.

5. I had a terrible cold over the weekend and still feel weak.

6. I’m sorry to disappoint you; I can’t do my shift today.

7. I’m afraid I’m coming down with something.

8. I’m having a bad day and would appreciate a few hours off.


Subject: Sick Leave – [Your Full Name]

Hi [Name],

I had to start taking my prescribed medication today since I had [insert reason here, like a high fever] when I woke up this morning. Thus, I must take a few sick days off to relax and get better as soon as possible.

I promise to get everything was done that has been delegated to me by the end of the week or the beginning of next week. I may trust any pressing concerns to [Name of a coworker]. If you need any help, please contact me via email or Slack.

I want to return to work in a few days, and I’ll keep you informed of my progress.

Thank you for your patience.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]

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It’s not easy to ask for a day off work due to illness, but you should prioritize your health above everything else. The procedure may be simplified with some careful preparation and an optimistic outlook.

Keep in mind that your manager is not a mind reading. Clarify your requirement for a sick day and the steps you’ll take to maintain productivity. Offer to stay in touch with them by email or phone and be ready to answer any questions they may have.

Take care of yourself first and foremost. If you’re truly unwell, get lots of rest and drinks, and visit a doctor. You can recover quickly with just rest and care.

The above advice and examples might inspire you if you feel under the weather and need to request a sick day from work.

You may take several approaches when requesting time off, from being upfront with your supervisor to outlining a comprehensive plan for coverage in your absence.

Even if you’ve exhausted all other options, our professional resume writers are always here to assist you in getting your career back on track if you’re still having trouble.

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