We all have gone through days where we just want to stretch our legs at home or go out with friends and take a break from work. We have no choice but to call in sick to do that.
Suppose, one owned a billion-dollar company, right? You’d be the boss and have the right to, well, not go to work one day! Without daydreaming about being billionaires, let’s focus on the matter at hand here.
Anyway, here’s a nurse’s opinion about when it’s okay to call in sick when you’re not sick. But, there may be a situation when you genuinely need leave to rest, or not.
Statistics say that a majority of workers fake it and make an excuse to call out of work. According to a leading website for data analysis and reliable information for careers, around 42 percent of people call in sick for leisure or other recreational activities. Further, one out of three respondents applies for sick leave after a vacation. A break for a break, sure, why not?
Jobvite.com has published in their 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey report that 34 percent of the employees opt for sick leave without being sick.
A Career Builder report stated that 40 percent of the respondents call in sick without any sickness. Calling out sick as an excuse is more frequent in women (43 percent) than their male counterparts (35 percent). Out of the total respondents, 28 percent opine that they have to make excuses to get leave, even when eligible for a couple of paid leaves.
These statistics prove that we all go for sick leave with valid reasons to call out of work. The reasons might be sickness, leisure time, or just the need for a day off from meeting deadlines constantly and complaining about your boss.
What to Consider Before Calling in Sick for Work?
The Company’s Sick Leave Policy
If you are going to apply for sick leave, go through the company policies on sick leaves. Most companies follow a set procedure for leave approvals. You need to go through this process for sick leave approvals. Make sure that you have all information about whom to contact for leave inquiries and when to contact them.
It is advisable to clarify all the terms and conditions of your company’s leave policy. I know you’re not gonna read a 40-page document, well, maybe just jump to the “leaves” section. New hires should talk to HR and get familiar with the company’s leave policy. The best way to call out of work is to make sure that you are adhering to all rules and regulations.
You’re doomed if you work in a hospital because, well.
Sick Leave during COVID
Before moving further, it is important to note the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic and the new normal for the last two years. Given the new norms, such as social distancing, the risk of getting infected and workplaces reopening you may consider taking leave for family emergencies or taking care of personal health. In addition, taking leave due to COVID is one of the valid reasons to call out of work.
All offices have some leave provisions over and above regular time off for COVID. If you find that you need to take time off because you’re ill or someone from your immediate family is, speak to HR. There will be additional leave provisions to make your life easier.
The Federal Status on Sick Leave
The US Government provides options to get sick leave per specified laws and regulations. There are multiple leave options available to help employees call in sick.
At present, there is no federal legal regulation for paid sick leave. However, for companies registered with Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), an employee can get unpaid sick leave for up to 12 weeks. Eligibility criteria for sick leave under the FMLA are employment for at least one year and working hours of a minimum of 1,250 hours.
Mostly the options available on the federal level are to unpaid time off, do check your state’s leave allocation requirements. Some states do mandate paid time off.
Calling in Sick when You’re Actually Sick
The steps for calling in sick for work, whether you are genuinely sick or faking it, are, well, the same because you’re gonna lie anyway, right?
Inform as soon as possible
If you feel sick and need to inform HR, do it as soon as possible. Make sure to inform the management a day before or the night before. However, if you feel sick in the morning, don’t worry. Message or email your boss immediately. You can also call them and express your inability to attend work for the day.
Keep it short and effective
The message should be clear, short, and to the point, whether you are sending a calling in sick via text, email, or even a call. If you are unsure of what to say when calling in sick over the phone, text or email is the perfect way to convey the message.
Inform the team
After informing your boss that you are calling in sick for work, it is time to intimate the team and department about the sick leave. Department heads can reschedule work at the start of the day if they have prior information. Oh, most people just skip this part entirely, and it doesn’t affect the work for the day. Except it does, and you shouldn’t skip this part.
Informing beforehand is especially important if you are involved in a team project and the client’s deadline is approaching. This is important because calling in sick should not leave an impression of negligence and a casual approach towards work.
If something needs to be shared with the boss and team during your sick leave, inform them first thing in the morning. This will help them make other arrangements with some meetings, project work, client briefing, etc. For instance, you could say, “I am extremely sorry for not being able to attend a client meeting today at 4 p.m., but Alex has all the data and will share it with you in some time, as discussed in the morning”.
Sometimes in the case of longer absences, HR may mandate a doctor’s script for calling in sick. If you aren’t sure, do reach out to HR and clarify their stand.
We have seen the steps for calling in sick when you are genuinely ill. But how to call out of work if you need a day off only to rest and relax?
Ways to Call in Sick when You want to Relax
If you are not sick and need a day off to relax at home or enjoy some time with loved ones, you need to be extra careful and mindful of certain things. Here are some clever tips for calling out sick for some leisure time.
Sick leave timing
It is much easier to get sick leave on weekdays, especially Tuesday to Thursday. However, it is advisable not to apply for leave on Monday and Friday, after and before the weekend, as it can seem suspicious and be considered an extension for a weekend vacation.
Convey the message smartly
Call in sick for the day through a phone call, text message, or email.
Call your boss or senior-only when you feel confident about faking the purpose of the sick leave. If not, make sure to convey the message via email and text. You know what? Stick to text messages; it leaves no room for suspicion.
Call in sick text
Send a short and to-the-point text conveying your message. For example, the text is effective if you don’t want to get involved with the boss about reasons for calling out sick for work. Stick to “personal reasons” because they do work wonders.
Call in sick email
Most companies prefer email as an official mode of communication. You could email the application for sick leave and follow up with a call.
Keep it short and brief
Messages for sick leave should be short and to the point to be truly effective. This is vital when you are faking it in front of the boss or HR. The more you talk, the higher the chances of making mistakes and the need to frame new stories. Think about the most genuine excuses for calling in sick and add them in a message or email.
Keep a lid on it
Please, do not talk about your sick leave for leisure time with your colleagues and give them room to snitch on you. It could spell trouble for you if anyone opens their mouth about your lie.
People talk, and if you express your lie about calling in sick with them, they might purposefully tell your boss and act like the good guy. Do not take any chances and keep a lid on it.
We know, time off is fun when you call in sick. You get to go to that cafe your best friend has been raving about and have that amazingly flakey croissant. You pull out your phone and click a quick picture for the ‘gram.
No! Bad idea.
One of the most common mistakes people make is using social media without thinking about the repercussions. What if one of your co-workers sees this and casually shares it with your boss? Busted!
Be careful of this incredibly common faux pas. If your boss or management sees you partying after calling out of work, you’re in big trouble.
Work-extra-hard the next day
The day after the sick leave should be your high-performance day. Work with gusto on pending projects all through the day. Firstly, be thankful that your organization is kind enough to offer time off for sickness. If it’s paid time off, all the better.
Management should get the impression that you are trying to make up for the day’s leave. It may be powered by a little bit of guilt but it will help you get sick leaves more easily in the future.
How Not To Call In Sick?
We have explained the best ways for calling in sick, when genuinely ill and when a break is needed. However, some hilarious excuses that people made to call in sick without thinking. These are real-life examples, by the way.
- My smartphone exploded and injured both hands.
- There is a wild animal in the yard, and I’m scared to come out for work.
- I accidentally ate a toothpick in a nearby restaurant.
- I do not have enough gas to reach the office.
- My fake nail fell off in the shower and so I have an appointment with my manicurist.
Okay, we may be pulling your leg with these. But excuses like these are pretty common. Steer clear of silly excuses for calling out of work.
Fake that Odd Sick Leave but Not Too Often
Taking time off is never bad, especially if it’s a mental health break you really need. Calling in sick to work can rejuvenate employees and improve productivity. Everyone gets sick every now and then, there is nothing wrong in calling in sick. But remember to keep your communication clear, concise, and in line with the company’s rules.
Follow the procedure, and help your team members out with any work that requires your involvement. Taking sick leave is beneficial for you, your family, and the people around you. So, do not hesitate to call in sick and take some rest.