Unfortunately for me, I had to leave my job at midday last Monday. I thought it was a normal case of flu, until today I had a fever and infection.

My question is how and what should I write in a quick email to my supervisor?

It is very unlikely that I will be able to go to work tomorrow.

  • 6
    What have you told your employer for the last eight days? Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 21:57
  • Agreed with @PhilipKendall, if you haven't called in for that long, they probably assume you've quit.
    – New-To-IT
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 22:05
  • Trying very hard not to point to one of the many lists of forged sick notes submitted by grade-school students...
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 16:29

5 Answers 5


Keep it short and sweet. Don't go into personal details, as they quite simply don't concern your boss.

Say that you're sick, that there may very well be complications, and that you won't be able to come in to work:

Hi boss, I have to call in sick today/won't be able to come in tomorrow, as I'm feeling even worse than Monday. What I thought was a flu is actually a little more serious. I'll keep you posted, and please let me know if you'll need me to bring in a doctor's note.

The important thing is not to apologize, or sound like you're afraid to ask for time off. You're sick, need to take care of yourself and your boss should understand.

  • 4
    The procedure for calling in sick is often, in my experience, defined in the Company Handbook and it can often proscribe that an employee must phone in to specified roles or levels (i.e. "you must call your immediate supervisor"). The OP should check whether this applies in this case in order to comply with their company's requirements.
    – Marv Mills
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 9:55

Good morning,

I am not feeling well and will not be able to make it into the office today.

I will see you, or follow up with you tomorrow.



The end.


In large part, this is going to depend upon the rules in your office and the laws in your area.

In the United States, the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, could potentially be in play here. In the State of Washington, the Washington Family Care Act imposes additional rules when it comes to sick leave.

Unless you are say going to be out for an extended period of time, because of either a planned or unplanned major medical issue, it's generally accepted most places to call in each and every day you are out sick. If it were me, I would have called in sick each and every day that I was out sick.

The means of notification will also vary from one organization and supervisor to the next. Some will insist upon a live human being speaking to another live human being over the phone. Others are fine with voice mail or Email notifications.

Increasingly, I see Email notifications as superior as I routinely see instances of people calling in sick, getting voice mail, and the person who gets the voice mail is themselves out of the office--either for sick or other purposes. I personally send an Email to the Team Email Distribution List, which includes both my supervisor and my coworkers. In my view, this provides for the greatest possibility of someone who needs to get hold of me getting the message that I won't be in the office that day.

As for what to say, as a Union Shop Steward I tell people to be brief and not go into details. This is especially true with FMLA, but it is serves everyone best if the information is brief. "I am out sick today." "My child is sick today." "My elderly parent is sick today."


You need to get some backup if you are really sick there is a normal and easy way of doing this, and it should be done as soon as possible.

Email your boss that you have a health issue and cannot make it in to work. Explain that you will be seeking medical help and will furnish a medical certificate as soon as you can.

Then go to a doctor and get a medical certificate.


First of all, since you have not mentioned where you live, you will have to follow local laws. Be aware that some offices both in the USA and in Europe require a doctors note for every sick day you take, on the same day. So make sure you comply with legal requirements first.

Then, if you send a quick mail to inform your supervisor, make it as short as possible. He wants the information and only the information, and you don't want to write a novel while sick.

Something like

Good Morning,

Due to sickness I will not be able to come into the office today. I will follow up with the team tomorrow.

Greetings, [name]

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