A close relative is in really bad condition. I can't show up to work for the next few days.

I am planning on emailing my supervisor right now and informing him that I cannot be at work next week.

When dealing with a family emergency like this, what is the appropriate way to approach my supervisor to inform them of the time off, and ask about any requirements to justify the time off?

  • 1
    Hey user, and welcome to The Workplace! I think you have a good question here, but to make sure it doesn't get closed I'm going to make a small edit. If you think it can be improved, or that it doesn't match what you're asking, feel free to edit yourself as well. Welcome again, and thanks in advance!
    – jmac
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 3:41
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    You got to do what you got to do. Just go and call your boss and explain to him later.
    – Nobody
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 3:49
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    Tell your superviser exactly what you told us, there's no need or use for beeing subtle or lying. It's a genuine emergency and any respectable superviser would understand. Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 8:25

2 Answers 2


In my experience this is just life and most people are reasonable because you have to deal with a family emergency. Just pop in ask for some emergency time off. Tell them that you really need to sort this as time is of the essence.

Edit: Sorry I misunderstood. Since you're leaving earlier - I'd call him if I had his number, but if not then email him.

I would say:

(Person's name)

I'm sorry for such short notice, I've just received news of car accident involving a close relative in (location). I really need leave right away now to assist them and I'll be back on xxx/xxx/xxx. if you need further info my contact details during the next two days will be: .......

I'll contact you as soon as I have more info. (your name)

in essence just be direct and tell him the details he needs.

  • wait, pop in? I plan on tomorrow early morning, I won't have time to make a detour to work. That's why I was planning on emailing my supervisor right now but I don't know what to say in the email.
    – user17183
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 2:20
  • IT is far better to call than email if you have the phone number.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 14:45

You should of course follow @preet-sangha's answer and send a nice mail explaining the situation. Just know that he/she is under no legal obligation to accept this, and could even fire you for not showing up to your job. This is not reasonable or likely; it borders on the insane to refuse this to an employee. However, the law does give him/her that power.

Therefore, just for completeness:

In Belgium, there are some situations where your employer cannot deny you vacation time. When a family member dies, or when you get married. The complete list is below, and it is highly likely that other countries have similar laws (link in Dutch):

Death of a spouse or child: 3 days

Death of a close family member: 2 days

Death of a family member: 1 day (the funeral)

Marriage (your own): 2 days

Marriage (of a close family member): 1 day

Holy confirmation (growing-up ritual of your child): 1 day

Civic duty: as much as is required

Inauguration as priest of a close family member: 1 day

Recruitment into the army, or as a conscientious objector: as much time as required

Going to the peace court: 1 day

Civic duty as a juror: as much time as required

Taking care of a sick family member: min. 1 month, max. 3 months

Anything else can be refused by your employer, but would certainly stress the professional relationship you have.

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