How to Call in Sick When You’re Truly Ill

Call I Work SickFlu season in the U.S. usually begins in November and lasts through March, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite preventative efforts, you’re still vulnerable to illness. If you feel under the weather and determine you’re too sick to be productive at work, it’s time to call in sick. But, what is the proper way to call in sick without sounding like a knockoff Ferris Bueller looking to play hooky? Following these tips for proper call-in-sick etiquette will help you stay on your boss’s good side while recovering at home.

  • Speak to your boss directly. To prevent red flags going up, don’t send an e-mail or text message, or leave a voicemail when calling in sick because it’s too informal. Also, unless you’re physically unable to talk on the phone, never have your spouse call in sick for you. This makes you look unprofessional. Plus, your boss might suspect you really aren’t under the weather if you don’t speak to them directly and may require a doctor’s note.
  • Always be truthful. If you’re too sick to come in to work, just simply say so. There is no need to go into great detail about your symptoms unless asked. Doing so will make you sound like you planned it all out.
  • Stop with the act. Unless you have an Academy Award in hand, don’t purposely add coughs and sneezes to try to convince your boss that you’re sicker than you are. You can’t be that good of an actor and your boss will only become more wary.
  • Call before you’re scheduled. Try to inform your employer as early in the day as possible. They will appreciate that you gave them time to prepare for your absence. Even though they’ve lost you for the day, your boss might be able find someone to cover your shift with enough notice or cover your projects in the office.
  • Contact your staffing agency. If you’re a temporary employee, you should follow the same tips and notify your staffing agency as well. If they can find a replacement for your shift that day, your employer won’t be short a worker and it will lessen your chances of repercussion.

When calling in sick, remember to be honest, talk to your employer directly, and give them proper notice. Showing that you respect the company will help build your value to the employer. Good employees are hard to find, and your employer will remember that, even when you’re sick.

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