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Admin Pro Forum

The etiquette of calling out sick

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Question: "This might sound kind of absurd, but one thing I've never done well is call out sick—by which I mean actually getting through the call convincingly! Maybe it's the guilt I feel about letting people down, maybe it's uneasiness on the phone ... but I always feel awkward and never quite know what to say to my boss. Anyone have any tips on the phrases I should use to make the conversation short and convincing and stress-free?" - Emma, Postal Processes Assistant

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol January 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

I simply say, “I will not be in the office today.” Sometimes, I might add “I’m not feeling well”.


D. Jones January 25, 2019 at 11:30 am

I agree with Cindy above. My best advice is just BE HONEST, it truly is the best policy, As women in the crazy 9-5 work world regardless of your position, we may have different reasons to be out, family, kids, etc… if your sick say “your not feeling good”, if your stressed & just need that ‘Mental Health Day’, say so, if your boss is a straight person they will respect that. If you respect your boss and like your job, just BE HONEST.


Lisa January 25, 2019 at 9:49 am

If you are truly sick, your boss (and coworkers) do not want you to come to work to pass on your germs and illness. So, there is no need to feel guilt or like you are letting anyone down. Your boss should respect that you are calling in sick for a valid reason. There is no need to state your symptoms or how you are feeling. Just keep it short and say you are not feeling well and that you will not be in.


Carol January 24, 2019 at 4:40 pm

Whether you call, e-mail, or text, I agree with Cindy, you only need to inform them that you are sick. I know that my manager will notify others in our office but if there is someone in another department that I am with on a project, I try to remember to send them a message so they know I am out. And know what the employee handbook says OR what company policy is regarding returning to work.


Pam H-J January 24, 2019 at 4:28 pm

I send my boss a text. Less stressful and I only say what needs to be said: “Not feeling well, will not be in today.” “Not feeling well, out sick today.”


Judith Waits January 24, 2019 at 4:13 pm

We text and/or email because there are a number of people who need to be informed well before the beginning of the day. Given that I make it very clear to my supervisors and fellow team members that I only call in sick when I am contagious or so ill I cannot function, I have no issues calling in sick. I refuse to “share the joy” or charge the Diocese money for days when I’m not functional.


Melissa Hunter January 24, 2019 at 4:08 pm

I don’t call, I e-mail. That way, I can send the information to more than one person, and I have a copy that I sent notice. Plus if my manager does not come into the office, other people are aware I won’t be in.


Cindy Stuttler January 24, 2019 at 4:07 pm

If you are truly sick then you don’t have to feel guilty – a simple, Hi – this is ____, I’m not feeling very well and will not be in today. I expect to be in tomorrow. Even if you need a “mental health” day you can say the same thing. You do not need to justify or go into detail. Also, if you have paid sick days to use, that is what they are for. As long as you aren’t abusing the system, you should not feel bad – just keep it short and simple…no need to elaborate.


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