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How to Call in Sick to Work (The Right Way) in 2022

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Read Time: 10 mins

Have you ever wondered, "how to call in sick to work?" Whether you're actually sick, you've got a doctor's appointment, or just need a personal day--you need to call. 

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If you're sick, you need to call in to let your boss know. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Whatever the reason may be, there's a right and a wrong way to call in sick to work. No one wants to damage their relationship with their boss and coworkers or get fired from their job. This makes it important for you to have a strategy for calling in sick to work if you're actually sick. 

You can also review this related tutorial on how to write a sick day email if you choose to write an email instead of making a call:

In this tutorial, we'll provide a guide for you on how to call in sick to work the right way. Here are some things to consider as you 

Will I Get Paid If I Take a Day Off?

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You should consider pay when taking a day off. (Image source: Envato Elements)

First consider if you'll get paid for the time you're out sick. You'll need to check your company's policy on sick leave to find out if you'll get paid. Each company is different. Some companies may or may not offer sick leave. 

Your company's sick leave policy and your financial situation should be considered before you plan on taking a day off if you aren't actually sick.

If you're sick then you don't have a choice and will need to take the day off, especially if you're contagious. 

If your company doesn't offer sick leave, you can try and talk to your boss to see if you can work from home and get paid. 

Acknowledge Your Job Responsibilities

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Calling in sick in the responsible thing to do if you're contagious. (Image source: Envato Elements)

If you're actually sick or need a personal day off, it's important to think about your current responsibilities.

Do you have projects that other coworkers rely on you? Are there any specific deadlines that are coming up? If you're calling in sick, it's important to relay this information to your boss and coworkers.

Not only should you tell your boss and coworkers that you're sick, but you should also give them an update on how you plan to handle your current job responsibilities. If you can work from home during your sick day, you should mention this.

If you won't be able to work, then give your boss and coworkers an update. This includes clients as well. Make sure you're giving everyone a heads up about the time off you'll be taking. This will make the whole process much easier to deal with as well as keep your coworkers and boss from resenting you.

How to Tell Your Boss & Coworkers Your Sick

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Remember that your absence will also affect your co-workers. (Image source: Envato Elements)

You first need to consider what form of communication to use when you let everyone know you're sick. 

This will largely depend on your bosses or supervisor's preferred form of communication. There are three main forms of communication through, phone, email, and text. 

If you aren't actually sick, you should always opt for the email and text option. Calling in when you aren't actually sick can backfire on you. Many people aren't comfortable with lying and it might not be believable if you do call in. The simplest form of communication where you don't have to act as if you were sick in real time is best to use if you aren't actually sick. 

If you don't have an option to text or email when you aren't actually sick, try calling your boss early in the morning or late the night before. Chances are, they won't be available at this time and you can just leave a voicemail. 

In all other cases, you should let your boss and team know as soon as possible. This will allow your boss and coworkers to plan for your absence. 

When you're in contact with your boss and coworkers, always offer to make up the lost work in any way that you can. This will show that you're dedicated to your job and are willing to stay on track with your work regardless of time off. Again, this helps maintain positive relationships with your company. 

Sometimes, you'll need to provide proof of your absence to your boss or supervisor. If this is required, do it as soon as possible. Failing to provide this in a timely manner can raise suspicions of your absence. 

One more important note on calling in sick. Taking too much time off can be a reason for your boss to fire you. If you've got a history of calling in sick in the past, then it's best not to take personal days. We all get sick at some point and need to take time off. A personal day here and there is perfectly fine. Just don't overuse the personal days. 

Good Reasons to Use When Calling In Sick

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There are many good reasons for calling in sick to work. (Image source: Envato Elements)

In this section, we're going to cover some reasons for why you would want to call in sick. If any of these pertain to you, then use these reasons when calling in sick. 

  • You've got disruptive symptoms. If your symptoms will disturb your other coworkers, then no one will fault you for staying home. Examples of disruptive symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive coughing, etc.
  • Your illness is contagious. If you're contagious, please stay home. The last thing that anybody wants to do is get sick. This will make your work situation even worse if you get other coworkers sick as they won't be able to perform their jobs. Even if your symptoms aren't too bad, stay home to avoid spreading your illness.
  • You need a mental health day. Mental health is incredibly important. More and more attention has been focused on being healthy mentally in recent years. Most employers will understand if you need a day to yourself to recharge. 
  • You don't have the energy. Depending on your sickness, you may not have the energy to complete your normal tasks. Take the day off and let your body heal. 

Excuses to Avoid When Calling in Sick

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Avoid bad excuses when calling in sick. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Now let's have a look at some excuses to avoid when calling in sick. Refrain from using any of these when calling in as they're sure to raise suspicion. 

Excuses to avoid include:

  • Any claim that's got a long-winded story behind it. Long excuses are usually a tell that the story is a lie. 
  • Any claim that sounds obscure. Excuses like my dog ate my keys or I got stuck in another state aren't really believable. 
  • Giving too many small details about your sickness. 
  • Talking about how other employees were able to get time off.

As long as you avoid these types of excuses, you'll give yourself the best chance to get this time off and maintain a healthy relationship with your boss. 

Tips for Calling in Sick 

In this section, we'll go over a few very important tips that should be followed when calling in sick to work. Remember, the goal when calling in sick to work is to maintain your relationship with your coworkers and boss and maintain your employment.

  • Keep it brief. This is one of the most important tips. Whether you're actually sick or not, you'll want to keep your message short when you're calling in sick. If you're actually sick, there's no need to go into detail about your illness. Nobody wants to hear about these specific details. 
  • Call ASAP. As soon as you're sick, make the call or send a message to the appropriate people. If you're feeling sick the night before, send a message or call that night. 
  • Give a timetable for return. While you may not know exactly how long you'll be feeling sick, it's important to give some sort of timetable. Again, this is important so your boss and coworkers can plan accordingly. 
  • Offer to work. If you aren't feeling too ill, then you should always offer to at least do some work from home if possible. Don't feel the need to force it if you're too sick. Do your best for the current circumstances. 

Tips for Calling in for a Personal Day

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You may need to call in sick for a personal day. (Image source: Envato Elements)
  • Don't tell anyone. Don't tell anyone that you lied about your sickness just so you could take a day off. There's no upside to telling your coworkers and they might not take kindly to this and can tell on you.
  • Put in extra work. When you do come back to work, give it your best effort. Taking days off can put your company in a stressful situation which can then be reflected in your relationships. If you're able to put in extra work to catch up for the work you missed, your coworkers and boss will appreciate it. This will also make it easier for you to call in sick in the future as they know you'll make up the work.  
  • Don't provide details. You should always keep your sick message or call brief but keep it especially short if you're just taking a personal day. The more you lie, the greater the chance you might get caught. Only provide details about your situation if asked. 
  • Know your boss. If your boss has turned down people for sick days in the past, then calling in sick when you're just taking a personal day may not be a good option. Be sure to know how your boss classifies sick days. 

If you're calling in sick and you aren't actually sick, you'll want to keep your message short so you don't get caught lying. The more information you give out, the greater the chance that you'll get caught.

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Now let's get started with our guide on how to call in sick to work!

If You Call In Sick, Do It Right!

At some point we get sick and have to call in to our job. There's a right and a wrong way to call in sick. Even if you're looking to take a day off and you aren't sick, there are certain guidelines you'll want to follow.

In this guide, we went over how to call in sick and also detailed helpful tips and examples. By adhering to this guide, you'll be able to call into work and maintain a positive relationship with your bosses, supervisors, and coworkers. And most importantly you'll keep your job!

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