How To Write a Sick Day Email (With Samples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As a professional, your health and wellbeing are integral to your ability to perform at work. That's why it's important to send a sick day email so that you can comfortably recover from an illness or injury at your own pace. Sending a sick day email is crucial to maintaining business operations. It shows your respect for corporate conventions and your commitment to your work. In this article, we discuss what a sick day email is, how to talk to your boss about your condition and how to write a sick day email with samples for different situations.

What is a sick day email?

A sick day email notifies your supervisor about your intention to take time off work to recover from an illness or injury. The email usually contains the reason behind your sick leave, the length of your unavailability and any further instructions. It's a professional courtesy that allows business operations to run efficiently during your absence.

A sick day email is standard business protocol. Not only does it help your co-workers reassign your workload, but it's also an official Human Recourses record that determines whether you can access your employee benefits, such as paid sick leave and medical insurance. Your future employers can also ask for this record during a reference check. That's why following proper procedures is essential to come across as a considerate employee.

Related: How to Make Time for Self-Care While Working from Home

How to tell your boss you are sick

In Hong Kong, some professionals hesitate to take sick leave because they feel they are letting their boss and colleagues down. However, it's important to prioritise your health because it makes you a more productive employee. Supervisors appreciate your honesty and care for your wellbeing. Thus, the following are a few steps to help you tell your boss about an illness or injury:

1. Refer to your employee handbook

When you joined your company, your human resources manager should have sent you a welcome email with your employee handbook attached. Find this document to read through your company's sick leave protocol. This will give you a better idea of your boss's expectations.

2. Inform them as early as possible

The key to a sick day email is your ability to give your supervisor adequate notice to prepare for your absence in advance. For example, if you feel sick or get injured the evening before work, don't wait for the next business day to tell them. Of course, this is more of an ideal approach since illnesses and injuries can come up when you least expect them.

3. Have an action plan in mind

Before you call or email your boss, take a few minutes to think about how you want to approach them and any necessary information you want to share with them. Brainstorm a brief list of instructions for them to consider during your absence. For example, notify them of any key projects that need their immediate attention and how they can contact you in an emergency.

4. Give them a personal call

Your supervisor receives dozens of emails every day, therefore it's important to get their attention with a personal call or text message. If you need to call them outside of business hours, make sure it's not too early in the day or too late in the evening. This is an essential step because it shows your concern for your work and respect for others' responsibilities, too.

5. Send a sick day email

Send your boss and HR manager an official sick day email. You may also copy your colleagues in your email to keep them informed about what to do during your absence. Your email should follow the steps below.

6. Request for a doctor's note

In most companies in Hong Kong, it's mandatory to visit a doctor when you call in sick. Thus, remember to request the hospital for a doctor's note so that you can use it as evidence of your illness or injury. If you can get a doctor's note in time, attach a digital copy to your sick day email. Since sick days go on your official sick leave record, it's important to provide this information. You can also claim your benefits when you show your health insurance company your doctor's note.

How to write a sick day email?

Review the step-by-step guide to understand the important components you need to include in your sick day email:

1. Write a clear subject line

Most professionals simply scan through their email inbox so that they can prioritise the most relevant information. That's why it's essential to write a clear and concise subject line. Keep it short at less than ten words and highlight the reason for your correspondence. An example of an efficient sick day email subject line is 'Full Name - Request for Sick Leave'. This way, you can get straight to the point and your supervisor can make the necessary preparations.

2. Mention the reason for your absence

Mention the reason for your sick leave in your email without specifying your symptoms and other irrelevant information. You can simply state that you have the flu or met with an accident. This way, you can keep details you feel uncomfortable about private, while still ensuring your sick day email appears valid. If you are uncertain about how many days you will need off, stating a reason can give your supervisor an idea about what arrangements they should make.

3. State the dates of your unavailability

Provide your employer with a clear timeframe on the length of your absence. Don't use vague phrases, such as 'today' or 'tomorrow', instead mention the full dates to avoid any confusion. If you are expecting to be away for a longer period of time without concrete dates as yet, add a sentence to describe your situation.

4. Provide instructions for your colleagues

Create a list of instructions for your colleagues to follow. This shows your initiative to support their performance while you are away. It also ensures that they don't overlook important tasks during this time. You could even request a colleague to take over your duties in advance. Include their name in your sick day email to notify your supervisor about this arrangement.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Working From Home

5. Share your contact information

At the end of your email, share how your colleagues can reach you in an emergency. You can provide your personal phone number or another number where you will be available. Mention that there might be a delay in communication from your side as you rest and recover. If you anticipate being unavailable during a fixed time in the day, you may also share these hours.

6. Distinguish between paid and unpaid leave

You also need to notify your HR manager about your sick leave in your email. For them to complete the formalities on your behalf, mention if you would like to use your quota of paid leave or take unpaid leave instead. Being proactive with this will help you protect yourself from potential pay discrepancies.

Sick leave email samples

Here are a few sick day email examples for different situations that you can use as a reference for your own:

Sick day email sample

The following is a sick day email example for a short-term absence:

Subject line: An Wong - Request for Sick Day

Dear Mr Ho,

I wanted to let you know I will take a sick day tomorrow, June 2nd, as I have a chest infection. I went to the doctor last night and was told to monitor my health over the next three days. I will keep you updated should I need to take any additional paid leave to recover.

While I am away, I have requested Sherry Lam to take over my responsibilities.

Please find my doctor's note attached. Feel free to reach me at 98769876 in an emergency.

Thank you for your understanding.

An Wong
UX Designer

Extended sick leave email sample

Here's a sick leave email example for a long-term absence:

Subject line: Derek Lo - Request for Unpaid Sick Leave

Dear Miss Chan,

Unfortunately, I won't be able to report to work for the next week, from July 18th to July 25th, as I have injured my leg during a rugby match. Since I need to go in for surgery, my recovery will take a while. Therefore, please arrange for me to take unpaid leave.

During my absence, the team will need to pay attention to the following client accounts:

  • 'The Flower Professionals' content marketing proposal

  • 'Decadent Restaurants' social media campaign

As I will be in surgery tomorrow, I will be unavailable for the entire day. However, during the rest of the week, I will still have access to email. If any urgent work arises, please reach me via phone at 65436543.

Thank you for your support, team!

Warm Regards,
Account Manager

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