Personal Development
12 Good Reasons to Call Out of Work and 4 Tips for Asking

12 Good Reasons to Call Out of Work and 4 Tips for Asking

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Calling Out of Work: 15 Valid Reasons and Tips for a Smooth Return

Do you often find yourself wondering 'how sick is too sick for work'? You're not alone. Recent research has found that a lot of employees feel a sense of guilt when it comes to taking days off work, and this feeling is only intensified for those who have to work from home. So what are some valid reasons to take a day off? A lot of people think the only valid excuses for skipping work are due to physical pain or a family emergency. However, there are plenty of other valid reasons to call in sick. It could be due to a nasty cold, needing a mental health day, or anything else that requires extra rest. Unfortunately, many of us have adopted a hustle culture mentality which has led us to believe that working through illnesses and personal problems is the right thing to do.

This mentality has been given the name 'presenteeism' and although it may stem from a desire to be successful professionally, it is eventually going to lead to burnout. The truth is that there are plenty of valid reasons to miss work. Quality self-care is not a sign of weakness - it is essential for our physical and mental health. When you take the time you need to rest, it improves your wellbeing and makes you more productive and focused when you eventually return to work. At Shiken, we have studied this further and it has been found that engaging in different types of rest will indeed improve productivity, focus and well-being.

15 Good Reasons to Call Out of Work

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Feeling sick
  • Food poisoning
  • Someone else is sick
  • Doctor's appointment
  • Caring for a pet
  • Family emergency
  • Lack of childcare
  • Car trouble
  • Internet connection issues
  • Jury duty
  • Personal day

Apart from physical or mental health reasons, there are plenty of other valid excuses for taking a day off. These could be due to a family member being ill, caring for a pet, lack of childcare, car trouble or internet connection issues. Here is a deeper look into each of these scenarios and why taking a day off to take care of yourself can be beneficial.

1. Family Member is Sick

When a family member needs your help, it is important to be there for them and take the necessary time off. Whether they need emotional or physical support, it won't be possible to juggle work responsibilities on top of this (even if you work from home). Though it might be tempting to try and multi-task, chances are you will be distracted from your work. If you can, it's best to take some time off and devote this to your family.

2. Last-minute Doctor's Appointment

Typically, you should let your employer know in advance if you need the day off for a doctor's appointment. But in some cases, it might be necessary to call in sick at the last minute. For example, if you are waiting to see a specialist who has limited availability and they call you on that day to say someone has cancelled their appointment, you might want to take the opportunity. If you don't, you could be waiting months before you get to see them. Let your manager know what's going on and the time that you need to take care of your health.

3. Caring for a Pet

If your pet faces an emergency, this is definitely a valid reason to call in sick. This could be due to them getting into the trash and potentially eating something poisonous, limping or not eating, or needing to be taken to a surgical procedure. Pets are an incredibly important part of many people's lives so putting them first is completely reasonable.

Communicating With Your Team When You Need Time Off

Once you have determined you have a valid reason to take a day off, it is important to make sure your team is aware. Let your manager know what is happening as soon as possible, even if it needs to be done last minute. Try to give them as much advance warning as you can, so that they can plan around your absence.

Calling Out of Work for Valid Reasons: What You Need to Know

Sometimes life throws unexpected curveballs and you find yourself needing to call out of work for a valid reason. Your employer should understand if you need to attend to a pet or family emergency. Here we outline the common valid reasons to miss work and provide helpful tips for successfully coping with these situations.

Valid Reasons to Call Out of Work

Most employers are understanding of the valid reasons why workers may need to miss work. These are examples of the most common valid reasons:

  • Someone needs to have an unplanned, urgent surgery
  • A family member was in a car accident
  • An elderly family member is injured
  • You need to travel to support relatives affected by a natural disaster
  • A family member is going into labor and needs you to take care of their other kids
  • Someone is dealing with mental health issues and you need support
  • Childcare problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Car trouble
  • Internet connection issues
  • Jury duty
  • Personal day

These are just some of the valid reasons that can cause you to miss work. Whatever the case, it's important to be honest with your employer and explain the situation.

Coping with Calling Out of Work

When faced with a valid reason to call out of work there are a few tips to help make the process go smoothly. It is important to let your manager and team know as soon as possible and make sure they have received the message. Additionally, make sure the family issue that caused you to miss work has been taken care of. If the problem is childcare, arrange alternate care. If it is car trouble, address the issue right away. If internet connection is the issue, try to access the internet via a hotspot or go to a cafe with free WiFi. Severe weather conditions may also be a valid reason, in which case, take the day off and try to get online when the weather passes.

Inner Work

It's important to take a pause and look inward when we have too much on our plate. It could be from moving, home renovations, needing a mental health day, or something else. Inner Work is the process of understanding ourselves and the world around us and it can help with employee retention, engagement, and even reduce the chances of burnout.


Your employer should understand if you have to miss work for a valid reason, such as those outlined above. Make sure to keep them informed and show your manager that you value your job and are not taking it lightly.

Keep it Simple

When requesting the day off due to illness, stick to the basics. Keep your message succinct, direct, and clear to ensure your manager and team understand the reason you are taking time away and when you will return.

Be Honest

Honesty is key when taking a day off. Do not use a fake illness if the true reason is simply needing a day of rest. If caring for your children or for your own mental health necessitates extra R&R, make sure your employer is aware.

Share Updates

Remain in communication with your company as much as possible. Should the illness require additional time off than initially expected, provide your team with a notification promptly.

The Benefits of Taking Time Away from Work

Taking time away from work to prioritize your health and wellbeing, or that of your family, is essential for both you and your employer's satisfaction. Although it can be intimidating to return to work after a period of absence, especially if there was no warning, there are several strategies that can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Tips to Prepare for Absences

Before taking time away, there are a few things you can do to help ensure the job still gets done. Sending an email to your manager and team with a list of the most essential tasks that need to be completed while you are away is the first step. Additionally, maintaining a document of current projects and their statuses, and updating it regularly, will make it easier for other team members to pick up the slack. Developing tutorials to demonstrate the proper execution of your most important tasks can also make it simpler for work to proceed without you. Finally, take breaks often in your first few days back to help yourself adjust.

What to Say When Calling in Sick

When you are sick, or need to take a few days off for other valid reasons, it's important to communicate this to your employer. Here are some legitimate reasons for taking time away from work: loss of a loved one, feeling sick, food poisoning, doctor's appointment, caring for a pet, family emergency, lack of childcare, car trouble, internet connection issues, jury duty, personal day. Letting your employer know what is going on is a sign of respect and can help alleviate any feelings of guilt about missing work.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, it is essential to take the necessary time to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Neglecting your needs can have serious impacts on your job performance and lead to burnout. When you properly prioritize yourself, you can be focused and productive when it's time to return to work, ensuring satisfaction for everyone involved.

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