I went on an international vacation for 2 weeks. I went from Canada to the UK. 3 days in I came down with a horrible flu. My flight home is in a couple of days but this flu is still holding strong and I feel wretched. I doubt I'll be good for my first day back to work.

How would you tell the manager since asking for sick days right after the vacation looks bad?

Would you just request to work from home until recovered? I work from home 2 days per week anyways.

I've no choice but to go back to work since I won't have enough money survive longer or buy new tickets.

  • 11
    Just tell the truth. In companies I've worked in, you can even take sick time while on vacation if you are legitimately sick and not able to participate in activities. Never tried to use it that way, but that is the policy, and may be the case for you too.
    – David K
    Jun 11, 2015 at 18:41
  • 6
    Get a doctor's note. This may or may not be helpful, depending on what your manager thinks of your destination's medical system, but it can't hurt. Especially since you sound like you should see a doctor, anyway. Jun 11, 2015 at 18:51
  • 5
    It may "look bad" to take sick time immediately after a vacation, but it is far worse to show up at the office with the flu and potentially spread the disease. See how you're feeling when you get home and call in sick if you need to. Your manager is human (I hope); they should understand.
    – alroc
    Jun 11, 2015 at 18:54
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    By my calculations you have been sick with the flu for 9 days, that is a medical emergency and it is highly likely to be something other than the flu and you should probably be in a hospital. You certainly should not get on an internaltional flight if you are contagious.
    – HLGEM
    Jun 11, 2015 at 18:59
  • 6
    You're planning to fly back despite being seriously ill? Thus exposing all your fellow passengers, and people at the airport, to your probably contagious virus? Yet another reason I don't fly commercial!
    – jamesqf
    Jun 11, 2015 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


You're clearly back from vacation since you're calling from home.

Tell your manager that you're back from vacation and that you're calling from home. Tell him that you caught a nasty case of the flu while on vacation, that you are feeling absolutely miserable and that you are requesting several days to recover from the flu. As others including @StephanKolassa and @Formagella have commented, state that you are wiling to provide a doctor's note on request.

Flu is no respecter of timing. If you were not on vacation and you caught the flu between Monday evening when you leave work and Tuesday morning when you are supposed to report for work, you're still eligible for sick days. If you were back from vacation and you caught the flu five minutes before you are supposed to report for work, you are still eligible for sick days. Your justification - and mine and everyone else's - justification for taking sick days is that taking sick days is what we all do when we are sick and we're supposed to report for work, IRRESPECTIVE of how or when or where we first got sick or whether our being sick is our fault, somebody else's fault, nobody's fault or everybody's fault.

If your manager has any good sense, he knows better than let you show up for work, cough and sniffle all day and distribute multiple doses of your flu to everyone around you including him.

If he makes you show up, make sure that he gets full credit if your coworkers drop like flies.

  • 1
    You can get forced to go to work when you are sick? Not sure about all the countries but here in the NL you should call in sick during your holiday so that your vacation days get invalidated and you keep those days. Being sick means you shouldn't go to work anyways though.
    – Mathijs
    Jun 12, 2015 at 8:10
  • @MathijsSegers I am giving the advice from the perspective of US employees. Unfortunately, we are a country where a restaurant manager can force their wait staff to show up for work even though they are sick In Western Europe, workers have more rights. Jun 12, 2015 at 9:46
  • 1
    I was not aware of this, that's rather strange especially in a restaurant health inspection wouldn't like this! Thanks for the info.
    – Mathijs
    Jun 12, 2015 at 10:16
  • @MathjisSegers Restaurant inspectors in the US are charged with health inspection of the food not of the workers who handle the food, except that the workers are required to wear gloves and mouth masks so as not to contaminate the food. Jun 12, 2015 at 10:22
  • @MathijsSegers Also, they check if workers wash their hands and if adequate hand-washing facilities exist for workers. I've seen it on the health report, at least in GA. But yes, restaurant managers are a different breed. Make the servers come in while sick. The SERVERS. Touching every plate and piece of silverware.
    – 9Deuce
    Jun 12, 2015 at 15:10

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