If your boss allows employees to text in sick, your message should clearly let them know that you won’t be coming in to work and when they expect you to return.
If you’re seriously ill or injured and need to take more than a few days off, you’ll want to include more information or opt for a conversation with your supervisor.
Below, we have details about when it’s appropriate to text in sick and what you should include in your text message, as well as a list of examples you can use.
How to Text in Sick
While calling in sick is the most common way to report an unplanned absence from work, some companies allow their employees to email or text in sick, instead.
If you text with your boss regularly about your work schedule, texting in sick may be appropriate. However, some professional settings have rules against texting in sick and may require that you call in, report your absence online, and/or provide a doctor’s note when you return.
You can consult with your manager, your company’s human resources department, or your employee handbook for specific details.
Keep in mind that if texting in sick is against your company’s policy and you send a text anyway, you may be reprimanded or written up for missing work.
If you are allowed to text in sick, it’s generally best to keep your message clear and simple. Additionally, keep the following tips in mind when drafting your text:
- Contact your boss/supervisor/manager directly. Don’t ask a co-worker to relay the message for you.
- Contact your boss as early as possible. If it’s your responsibility to find a replacement, be sure to include this information. If not, texting earlier rather than later will give your boss time to delegate any urgent tasks and/or find someone to cover your shift.
- Don’t give too many details. Your boss doesn’t need an in-depth description of your illness. A short sentence or two explaining that you’re too ill to do your job effectively and when they can expect you to return to work is all that’s needed.
- Keep it professional. Though texting is usually an informal means of communication, when texting your boss, it’s best to type in full sentences with proper capitalization and punctuation. Your message should read like a short email — not a text to a friend.
- If your boss doesn’t reply to your message in a timely manner, be sure to follow up with a call. Text messages can fail or your boss may have their phone turned off. It is your responsibility to make sure to report your absence.
- If you have a serious condition, you’ll probably want to have a conversation with your boss instead, either over the phone or face-to-face (if possible). A serious illness or injury could lead to several days/weeks/months off work and may involve a disability or worker’s compensation claim.
Texting in Sick: Example Text Messages to Boss
Following the above guidelines, we’ve provided a few example messages you can use to text in sick.
Be sure to add a greeting at the beginning of the text — a simple “Hello, (your boss’s name),” should suffice. You may also want to sign the text with “Thanks, (your name),” or “Thank you for understanding, (your name)” as a sign of appreciation.
If You Need One Day Off
- “I have (the flu/a cold/etc.) and need to take a sick day. (Coworker’s name) has agreed to cover my shift today, and I should be well enough to be at work tomorrow.”
- “I’m feeling ill today and don’t think I can do my job efficiently. I need to take the day off.”
- “I’m not feeling well today and need to take the day off.”
- “I’m not feeling well and need to use a sick day, but I’ll be back at work tomorrow.”
- “I started feeling ill last night and am not feeling any better today, so I need to take the day off.”
If You Need Several Days Off
- “I have (the flu/a cold/etc.) and need to take the rest of the week off. (Coworker’s name) will cover my shifts today and tomorrow, and I’m planning to return on Monday.”
- “I’m sick with (the flu/a cold/ etc.), and my doctor has recommended taking a few days off. I will return to work on (day of the week you plan to return).”
- “I need to take today and tomorrow off from work. I visited the doctor and have (the flu/a cold/etc.).”
- “I’m very sick and need to take a few days off. I hope to be well enough to return on (day of the week you plan to return).”
- “I won’t be able to make it in today or tomorrow due to an unexpected illness.”
If You’re Unsure How Long You’ll Need
- “I am sick and won’t be able to make it in today. I hope I’ll be well enough to come in tomorrow, but may need to take an extra day. I’ll keep you posted.”
- “I have a fever and think I may be coming down with something, so I need to take a sick day today. I hope I’m feeling well enough to come in tomorrow, but I’ll check in later to let you know.”
- “I need to take a sick day today and maybe tomorrow. I am not feeling well enough to work and don’t want to get anyone else sick.”
- “I need to take a sick day or possibly a few days off. I started feeling ill yesterday and am feeling worse today. I’ll keep you posted to let you know if I’m feeling well enough to come in tomorrow.”
- “I need to take a few days off for health reasons. I hope to return to work on (day of the week you plan to return). I will keep you posted.”
If You’re Unsure How Long You’ll Need and Plan to Visit the Doctor
- “I am sick and going to the doctor, so I won’t be able to make it in today. I may need to take the rest of the week off. I’ll check back in after my appointment.”
- “I’m feeling ill and worried I may be coming down with something, so I’m going to the doctor. I will not be able to make it in today, but (coworker’s name) is available to cover my shift.”
- “I’m not feeling well and won’t be able to make it in today. I hope to return to work tomorrow. I’m going to the doctor. I’ll keep you posted.”
- “I need to take today off. I’m not feeling well and have made a doctor’s appointment. I’m hoping it’s just a 24-hour bug, but I will keep you posted.”
- “I will not be able to make it in today. I think I have (the flu/a cold/etc.) and have made an appointment with my doctor. I’ll check in later to let you know if I need to take additional sick days.”