How to ask for a sick day when you need to rest

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How to ask for a sick day when you need to rest
How to ask for a sick day when you need to rest

Every now and then, we all need a day to devote to our hobbies or get away from commitments. Unfortunately, however, in your office they would not appreciate such an absence, and with good reason. However, you can do something about it: call and give yourself sick. Of course, it's not a technique you use too often, but it can help you get a well-deserved day off. To do this, you have to convince your colleagues of your poor health from the day before and then call the boss seeming really sorry to be absent due to this annoying disorder, but without insisting too much.


Part 1 of 3: Making the Phone Call

Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 5
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 5

Step 1. Call your boss or supervisor early in the morning

Don't put it off: the sooner you tell them, the better. Also, when you wake up you will have a hoarse voice, which will give you more credibility. As if this weren't enough, by calling earlier, you are more likely to leave the message on the answering machine or catch it by surprise. If you call too late, it will seem like you don't take his needs into consideration.

  • The conversation must be short. Knowing how to describe the disease can help you feel ready, but remember that detailed stories are usually told by liars. Don't overdo the descriptions, just say you're unwell and won't go to work. Provide enough information to be credible. For example, say something like "I haven't slept a wink" or "I'm having bowel problems."
  • You can also say, "I know I should have warned last night, but I was hoping to get better when I woke up." Without exaggerating, try to show that you would have much preferred going to work.
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 6
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 6

Step 2. Make sure you look sick

While you shouldn't overdo it when calling the boss, it won't hurt to actually sound down. In addition to having a hoarse voice by calling early in the morning, you can sniff or cough from time to time so that she knows you're sick. Don't do it every two seconds, though. You can also speak a little slower or quietly to show that you are feeling weak. Practice everything out loud so that it sounds convincing.

  • If you want to make your voice particularly hoarse, you can scream into a pillow for about 10 seconds before calling. This, however, is bad for your throat, so it should be worth it.
  • You can also try to act a little distracted and disoriented. If you seem particularly bright and respond quickly to any question they ask you, you are unlikely to be convincing.
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 7
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 7

Step 3. Prepare to answer the questions

Is your boss a little nosy? Try to imagine the questions it might ask you. For example, if you work in the food industry, it may ask you if you are contagious. He may also ask you if you have done what you can to feel better and go to work. The best policy? Say that you think you are contagious and that you have tried all the classic remedies (painkillers, antacids, drinking more fluids, etc.), but nothing worked.

In between, explain that you phoned your doctor, but he wasn't available, so you'll need to call him back. In seasons when everyone catches a cold or flu, doctors tend to have more patients than usual, so the wait for an appointment can be prolonged. If the boss requests a certificate on your return, tell him that it was not possible to arrange the visit first, then go to the family doctor as soon as possible to request it

Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 8
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 8

Step 4. End the conversation in positive terms

When you finish talking to the boss, try to leave a favorable impression on him. Tell him that you will do what you can to heal and come back the next day. Be grateful for their understanding. Show that work is important to you and you can't wait to resume, but don't overdo it. The boss needs to get the idea that you are truly sorry for taking a day off. He doesn't have to think that you can't wait to slather on the sofa in front of the TV and escape your schedule.

  • You can also tell him to contact you if he has questions that only you can answer. If you don't mind being disturbed at this break time, you can say, "I'll be in bed all day, so call me if you need my help." Only do this if you think he will be lost without you.
  • End the conversation by thanking him for being so kind.

Part 2 of 3: Follow the Plan

Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 9
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 9

Step 1. When you get back to work, don't forget what happened the day before

Don't walk into the office fresh as a rose. Recite a little to give the impression that you are not completely healed. Blow your nose a few times or cough softly. You don't have to overdo it or act like you're a martyr who sacrificed himself to get back to work. Don't mention the disease and let them ask you how you are. You should pretend discreetly to be even more authentic. Say phrases like "I still haven't fully recovered" or "I just need another night's rest and I'll be fine."

  • To add an extra touch of authenticity, don't get much sleep the night before so that you show up at work gaunt and exhausted. This will be good for your credibility even when you call for the same purpose in the future (and will give you a valid excuse to stay up late).
  • Be more reserved that day. Don't be particularly social or chat with your colleagues. Decline invitations. Remember that you still have to get your strength back.
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 10
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 10

Step 2. Don't tell co-workers that you pretended to be sick

You may think you can tell those you consider to be friends who won't be spying, but be especially careful when faced with such an announcement. They won't ask you to high-five, and they'll think you're irresponsible or fake. Also, should one of them go and blurt out and the rumor reaches the boss, not only will you get in trouble, you will never be able to take a day off again.

  • As if that weren't enough, such a phone call will arouse suspicion even when you are truly ill. You definitely don't want to get a bad reputation.
  • The truth is, we all need to take a break from work every now and then, and that's not a problem at all. However, that doesn't mean you have to brag about it, otherwise you'll make it clear that you don't take the profession seriously.
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 11
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 11

Step 3. Be friendly with the boss

After the phone call, be kind to him when you get back to work. You don't have to mention the illness or thank him for being so understanding. However, make an effort to have a positive attitude and convey the desire to do things. He must remember that you are a noteworthy employee, without making him doubt even a second of your honesty.

You don't have to be overly friendly or say every two seconds that you love your job, which gives you so much in life

Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 12
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 12

Step 4. Work hard on your return

The next day, try to give your best. This is not the right time to arrive an hour late, talk for two hours on the phone about private matters or book holidays online. Instead, work throughout the day, contribute to meetings, respond to emails promptly, and do what you can to make sure you leave a good impression.

  • You may like to complain to co-workers while you work, but tone down this attitude and be a little more positive when you return. The boss shouldn't hear protests after taking a day off.
  • It's okay to get sick from time to time, but if you get into the habit of slacking off in general, then you're putting your job at risk. When you return, make an effort to give it your all.

Part 3 of 3: Prepare for the Phone Call

Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 1
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 1

Step 1. Choose a good time to call

Maybe you think you can get sick any day. However, if you are really determined to do this, then think about it a little bit more. Choosing the wrong day will make it much harder to convince your boss. Instead, make sure various factors work in your favor to come up with a flawless plan. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be prepared to be particularly persuasive if you call on a Monday or Friday. It will be much more difficult for the boss to believe in an illness that appeared "strangely" and dangerously close to the weekend.
  • Make sure you haven't been sick recently and haven't taken many days off.
  • Don't pretend you're sick right after having an altercation, or after complaining for a long time. The boss shouldn't think your absence is an affront. You will be much more convincing if there were no problems the last time you went to work.
  • Try not to conveniently skip a particularly unpleasant working day. If your boss knows you hate the dreaded monthly meetings, then don't call yourself sick on such a day, even if the temptation is strong.
  • Try pretending to be sick when someone else is sick, or when it's flu season. This way you avoid arousing suspicion, since everyone is sick.
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 2
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 2

Step 2. Do some preliminary work

If you are going to call yourself sick, then you should look like it from the day before, without betraying yourself. Don't pretend you have a strong cough, instead act as if you feel unwell, maybe sniff your nose slightly. Colleagues will notice and ask you questions, but you carry on as if nothing had happened, pretend to take the problem lightly. They will not suspect anything. Laying this foundation the day before will make you more persuasive when you call.

  • Also behave more reservedly that day. If you look full of energy and then call the next day saying you're sick, people will be surprised. Refuse invitations to lunch or an aperitif.
  • Try to "discreetly" take an ibuprofen tablet in the presence of your colleagues.
  • Blow your nose a little more often than usual.
  • If you go to lunch with your colleagues, don't eat everything on your plate, as this will give the impression that you don't have much appetite.
  • Try to look vaguely neglected that day. Mess your hair a little, don't dress particularly well, and don't worry about dark circles.
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 3
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 3

Step 3. Define the disease perfectly

Your boss probably won't ask you many questions, but you need to know what your problem is before you call. Instead of telling him you're not well because you have a migraine, stomach ache, or a common cold, it's better to prepare a more convincing excuse. You should be ready to answer any questions from the boss, such as when did you start to feel bad, when you will come back and if you will go to the doctor. You don't have to seem uncertain, otherwise you will arouse suspicion.

  • If you want to take several days, choose the right disease. A migraine or a case of acute gastroenteritis can knock you out for at least two days, as they can take longer to heal and show up at any time. Conjunctivitis or pharyngitis can last for an even longer time. Whichever you choose, do your research carefully so that you can clearly describe the symptoms.
  • You can also rehearse the conversation with a good friend to make sure you are convincing. Your boss probably won't want to go into detail about your stomach problems, but it's best to be prepared.
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 4
Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off Step 4

Step 4. Prepare to stay home

Don't give yourself sick to hike with your wife or throw a wild party for your friends. If you fake illness and then have an incredible experience outside the home, your boss will find out. Instead, you should call yourself sick when you actually want to stay in bed, feel comfortable at home, and have a quiet day. I mean, do what you would do when you have the flu, even if you are fine.

  • On the other hand, if you spend all day away from home and show up for work tanned, your suspicions will grow.
  • Also remember that it is best to disconnect from social networks. You may be tempted to visit them and leave suspicious traces. You will prevent the boss from seeing photos from the hike just when you should have been in bed for a bad flu or reading comments that clearly hint at your lie.


  • Make sure you don't tell anyone that you will pretend to be sick, otherwise they might tell the boss or other people, and you will get into trouble.
  • Try not to call yourself sick on a Monday or Friday. If you want a long weekend, the boss and co-workers will eat the leaf. Doing it every now and then on a midweek day is more credible. Also, don't get into the habit of escaping important days, like when the team has to work harder than usual to meet a deadline. This puts relationships with colleagues at risk, especially if one of them is suspicious.
  • Try to have a good reputation. Go to work when you are actually sick, so the boss doesn't think you've decided to pretend to evade duty. If you often show up in poor condition (and at risk of contagion), he will be grateful when you take a day off, and will believe that you have listened to those who advised you to stay home.
  • Do not tell anyone. If the boss finds out that you told everyone about your planned absence two weeks earlier, you could lose your job.
  • If you have children, you can take advantage of them: they are a very useful excuse to miss work. Even in this case, however, you may regret, because then you will not be able to stay at home in time of need. Be very careful.
  • In many food businesses, employees who fall ill are excluded for 48 hours once the symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea go away. An ailment lasting 24 hours could mean a three-day break. Of course, if you really have diarrhea, these days off won't do you that much.
  • If you are a member of a social network, remember to consistently update your status. A simple "I feel terrible. I'm making a broth" should suffice. The last thing you should do is say that you are out shopping, going to the beach, skiing and so on when you should have a horse fever.
  • If you have an urgent problem at work but still want to be away, show up at the office that morning. Finish what you need to do, in silence. Someone ask you how are you doing? Tell him you're not feeling well. When you decide to leave, just approach the boss, tell him that you are sick and that you prefer to go home. Don't ask, affirm it. Explain to him that you have completed the urgent work, so he will not be able to say no.
  • If you've actually suffered from an ailment and need a certificate, ask your doctor to mark a return date later than when you plan to start over. Then, go back to work "before" on the day indicated on the sheet. You will look like a devoted employee who cannot give up on his commitments. Also, it's a good document to keep and show in the future if your use of time in sick is questioned. Remember that some businesses will not let an employee return who has not been declared cured by a doctor. If you try to resume before the date indicated on the certificate, the employer may send you home.
  • If a colleague of yours also wants to be absent, try not to do it on the same day.
  • Having a great reputation in the workplace will help you eliminate any doubts your co-workers or boss might have. If you are a slacker who always tries to escape every task, they will not believe you so easily.
  • If you go to the beach on the day off, don't forget to apply sunscreen, and don't expose yourself too much to the sun. Introducing yourself to red work as a lobster can be embarrassing, and then it will be obvious what happened.
  • In some sectors, such as food, the break could last more than a day. If they fear that your health condition could jeopardize workplace safety, you will practically be forced to stay at home.
  • Don't feel guilty. To give you an example, it seems that 40% of Americans pretended to be ill to spend a relaxing summer day away from work; this is called "seasonal absence syndrome".


  • You could receive a visit from the tax doctor: if he does not find you at home, you will have more than one problem.
  • Don't make up a family bereavement, because the boss can easily find out the truth and catch you red-handed. This will make you less credible if you really find yourself in such a situation.
  • Don't tell your colleagues about it also to avoid putting them in an uncomfortable situation and forcing them to lie. Keep it to yourself. If you have a problem at work, talk to your boss about it and ask him for help.
  • If you need to take a break from work often and never feel like going, reevaluate this job. You may not be able to stand what you are doing and are in fact gambling on your health due to worry, anxiety and resentment. In this case, you need to think carefully: change your profession or career path.
  • Find out immediately about the total number of days you can take free in a year, so you can distribute them adequately without having to give you sick, pretend and present the medical certificate. Also, you need to be familiar with the firm's policies regarding employee absences.
  • Your absence will have different effects on all colleagues. Think carefully before ditching everyone and burdening them with extra commitments.