8 Best Reasons to Call in Sick

Employees often feel judged by others when they take leaves. We can’t avoid getting ill or the unforeseen circumstances that will happen to us, personally and in the family. You are not obliged to work when you are sick or have an emergency to attend to. But what is the best reason to notify your boss that you will be taking some time off? Here are eight best reasons to call in sick.

1. Personal problem

You can use the personal problem reason if you are not comfortable disclosing or giving the full details on why you are unable to report at work. If your boss asks further questions, you can add more details. 

On the other hand, you can politely say that your personal problems prevent you from being productive. You can also say that you are hoping that they respect your privacy because you are not comfortable explaining your personal problem at the moment.

2. Family emergency

A family emergency could refer to different circumstances. If you have a family member who is really sick, such as your spouse, child, sibling, or parent that needs your care and attention. This is one of the legitimate reasons to call in sick.

3. Death in the family

It is difficult to concentrate on anything the job you are required to do when you are emotional due to the death of someone, especially of a family member. 

If you are dealing with a family member’s death, you can speak to your supervisor, boss, manager, or human resource department and schedule the appropriate time off and when you will return to work. 

Employees are entitled to call in sick for bereavement or death in the immediate family and sometimes extended family. Bereavement leave allows you to take approved time to attend the funeral and deal with your grief. 

4. Doctor’s appointment

When you have a scheduled doctor’s appointment, check your company’s policy regarding absence and leave for a doctor’s appointment. A week prior (written) notice is usually required by your employer, or they may ask for a letter from your doctor. 

If you didn’t inform them in advance because it is an emergency appointment, you may send an excuse letter with supporting documents as soon as you return to work. 

Some employers require you to present written documentation when you call in sick because of a doctor’s appointment to verify if you were, in fact, sick or really went to see a doctor.  

5. Hospitalization

Requiring to be treated in the hospital by a medical professional is one of the valid reasons to call in sick. Your absence at work can be covered by your sick leave allowances, or your employer can offer unpaid leave for your hospitalization.

6. Pregnancy or delivery

Informing your employer sooner that you are pregnant (or if your spouse is pregnant) is a good idea, especially if you have a physical job. This will help you plan your maternity leave or antenatal leave in relation to your pregnancy. Pregnant women (and their spouses) are allowed to call in sick or take time off from work because of pregnancy.  

7. Legitimate sickness

No employer would want any forms of illnesses spread around the office. That is why there are no better reasons to call in sick than a legitimate sickness, most especially if you have a contagious illness, such as:

An employee is not productive when he or she is sick. So do yourself a favor to stay at home until you feel better. 

8. Mental health day

It is an acceptable reason to call in sick if you need a day to watch out for yourself. According to a study of 1,136 employed U.S. adults, more than three-quarters (76%) of U.S. employees are currently experiencing worker burnout. 

Sometimes, people are not aware that they are burning out until they reach their breaking point. You can recognize the early signs of burnout in the article 10 Signs of Burnout You Should Watch Out For

If you feel like you’re experiencing burnout, you can take a mental health day to help you relax and come back to work fully recharged. You can also take the Stress Management: 40+ Easy Ways To Deal With Stress online course to learn about how to deal with stress based on science.

Tips to effectively communicate reasons to call in sick

It is essential that you take the necessary actions when calling in sick. Companies usually have guidelines, so make sure that you follow these. There are few things you should do when you call in sick. 

Be prompt in notifying the necessary party

Make sure to give as much advance notice as possible that you will be out of the office. However, if you are unable to report to work on the same day you need to take your leave, then you must inform your supervisor or boss as soon as possible. You can notify them of their preferred method of contact.  

Let your team know as well

You can also inform your colleagues and inform them why you can’t report to work, so they can also notify your boss or manager if they failed to receive your message. This also gives them a chance to plan the tasks that they need to cover while you are on leave.

Keep it brief

There is no reason to provide detailed information or get down to the nitty-gritty of your illness or why you called in sick. Keep your message short and direct to the point. Just prepare your answers for any questions your boss may ask. 

Offer a solution

Your health and your family’s health should always be your top priority and taking time off from work is reasonable. However, you can show your dedication to your work by offering a solution or how you can make up the lost work. This is especially applicable if you are taking a planned sick leave. 

By offering a solution or backup plan, you will ease the pressure caused by your absence not only to your boss but with your colleagues as well. One solution is to write up a handover report.


Whatever your reasons may be, whether you have colds, are burned out, or feeling under the weather, it is okay to call in sick to work, especially if your reason is legitimate. Bosses and managers usually don’t have follow-up questions, but you need to prepare answers if they ask for further details. 

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