No hardworking employee enjoys presenting his or her boss with a leave of absence letter. Yet doing so is a necessary formality if you need to take time off work for health reasons. Whether you’re suffering from a prolonged illness or medical emergency, let your employer know. Take time to thoughtfully compose your letter. If you create a thoughtless or inconsiderate sick leave letter, you leave your boss with a bad impression that could potentially affect your future employment.You can request time off for health reasons without negatively affecting your relationship with your employer. The key is to craft a professional, considerate letter that uses respectful language. Our sick leave letter templates and writing tips can guide you in writing a compelling document to help your boss understand and respect your need for a leave of absence.

Sick Leave Letter Template

Carter Bowers works a physically demanding job that requires him to be generally healthy and energetic. Unfortunately, he has developed severe pneumonia and is in the hospital. His doctor insists he should not return to work for at least two weeks. Carter does a great job writing a respectful and courteous sick leave letter, included below, to inform his boss of his current situation.

Dear Mr. Copeland,

It is with sincere regret that I need to request a leave of absence due to sickness, beginning immediately. I sincerely apologize that I was not able to provide you with more ample notice, but my health worsened rapidly and unexpectedly.

As you know, I was feeling unwell at work this week and struggled to perform my job duties in an acceptable manner. Over the weekend, my condition worsened dramatically and developed into severe pneumonia. I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital, where I am currently writing this letter.

I have strict instructions from my doctor to take at least two weeks away from work. I have enclosed a copy of my doctor’s note with this letter. I expect that I will be fully recovered and ready to return to work with vigor on Monday, the 22nd. If anything changes between now and then, I will keep you informed.

Please feel free to contact me via email if any pressing issues arise that require my attention. I will do my best to take care of any important matters during my absence. I am currently unable to speak for prolonged periods without coughing severely, but I will let you know when I am well enough to take phone calls.

Thank you for your generous understanding during this challenging time.


Carter Bowers

How To Write a Sick Leave Letter

The purpose of a sick leave letter is to inform your employer that you need to take time away from work due to health concerns. Medical emergencies, prolonged sickness, and any other conditions that make it impossible for you to fulfill your professional responsibilities require a sick leave letter. Be sensitive when crafting the letter, since your absence puts your boss in an inconvenient and potentially difficult situation.

Begin by relating your current health situation in an honest and open manner. Always omit unnecessary or embarrassing details. If your illness requires you to stay away from work for a certain period of time, specify how long you will be away. Request a doctor’s note and enclose it in your sick leave letter. If possible, say that you will be available to address pressing work issues by email or telephone while you are away from work. If you are too unwell to work from home, inform your boss in a clear and apologetic manner. If you can, recruit a fellow employee to manage your most pressing responsibilities while you are gone. Your boss will appreciate your efforts, forethought, and professionalism.

Close your letter by thanking your boss for understanding and being sensitive to your current situation. Let him or her know when you expect to return to work full-time, and state your intent to keep him or her apprised of any changes to your health situation or planned return date. Use our sick leave letter template to help you create a respectable document.

What To Avoid in Your Sick Leave Letter

The biggest mistake you can make when drafting your sick leave letter is to use wording that sounds insensitive, demanding, or insincere. No matter how sick you are, make sure your boss understands you are sorry for putting him or her in a challenging situation. If you come across as haughty, entitled, or angry, you will negatively impact your relationship with your boss and potentially jeopardize your future employment.

If you have no choice but to take a leave of absence, make sure you let your supervisor know right away. Don’t wait until you have already been absent from work for a day or two before notifying him or her of your situation. Waiting to inform your employer is irresponsible and may bring your honesty and sincerity into question. If you are too sick to draft a letter yourself, have a family member or someone you trust do it for you.

How To Follow Up After Sending Your Sick Leave Letter

It may not be necessary to follow up with your employer if you only plan to be gone for a few days. However, if your illness requires you to be away from work for a week or longer, send a follow-up letter. Keeping your boss informed of your situation is considerate. If possible, confirm your plans to return to work on a certain day. If you need to extend your sick leave, let your supervisor know why.

You may not receive a response, and that is okay. As long as your employer understands why you are gone and when you will return to work, you have done your part to remain courteous, respectful, and communicative during your unexpected absence.

Top 5 Sick Leave Letter Writing Takeaways

1. Be prompt

Don’t wait until you have been absent from work for a few days before sending your sick leave letter. Send the letter as soon as you can so your employer knows exactly why you aren’t there. Recruit someone else to write and send the letter for you if you are incapable of doing so.

2. Be courteous and sincere

While you have every right to take a sick leave, it is still important to acknowledge the inconvenience your absence poses to your employer and fellow employees. Don’t be smug or rude about requiring time off. Instead, be kind and respectful in your language.

3. Communicate your expected timeline clearly

Don’t forget to clearly explain when you expect to return to work. Let your boss know whether you will be able to return full-time or will need to start out on a part-time basis until you fully recover.

4. Specify how to contact you

If you plan to handle pressing work responsibilities from home, let your employer know the best way to contact you. Likewise, tell your boss if you are unable to handle work responsibilities or have recruited a fellow employee to step in while you’re gone.

5. Omit unnecessary details

While it is important to let your boss know why you are requesting a sick leave, it is not necessary to mention any embarrassing details about your illness. Keep your language professional and refined at all times.