How to call in sick when you just need a day off

24 Sep

Sick DayEveryone needs the occasional unscheduled day of leisure. Here is how to get yours without raising suspicions at work


  1. Find a quiet place for the phone call.
  2. Call your boss.
  3. Keep the excuse short and to the point.
  4. Get off the phone as quickly as possible.


  • If you can, call your boss’s voice mail or send him an email rather than speaking with him or her directly. This avoids the possibility of questions and awkward advice that often trips up the caller.
  • When making the phone call, if you can do it early in the morning, when your voice is still rough with sleep, that will give added credibility.
  • For an added effect, bend over your toilet while pressing your forearm into your stomach so you begin to sound like your stomach is really being affected by whatever you are calling about. (Usually this would make you sound like you just finished vomiting.)
  • If you’re outside the house, calling from your car might be the quietest place you can manage.
  • It’s a good idea to mention in passing how you are feeling better when you return to work.
  • Keep an eye out for other people who have been sick at work and use the ‘I must have gotten it from Jim in Accounting.’ excuse.
  • If you want to get multiple days off, pick a good illness: a migraine or a bad case of gastro can get you off for two or more days, as they can carry on for a long time and pop up at any time. Research the illness if you’re very dedicated to avoiding work. Ask friends for the symptoms of the bad (real) illnesses they’ve had over time.

Good Examples

  • “Morning. I’m not going to be in today. I was up all last night sick. I think we left the chicken out too long.”
  • “I won’t be in today, I am not feeling well.”
  • “I’ve spent the last 24 hours either in bed or in the bathroom. I don’t think I should go to work today.”
  • “I have jury duty, I will call in if I am dismissed.” (It’s advised to first check your company policy regarding jury duty. Some companies require a copy of summons to make a legit claim of jury duty.)


  • It’s important that your boss think you are sick in your bed. Blaring music or a loud TV can destroy that image as thoroughly as thousands of screaming fans at a football game.
  • Long rambling messages are to be avoided. When lying, you are tempted to embellish. Don’t. When calling in sick, less is more.
  • The old standbys of food poisoning, flu, cold, all work because we’ve all been through them. Calling in sick without being sick is best done for one day (or possibly two days in a row). Longer than that may require a note from your doctor.
  • Don’t come back to work the next day with a suntan, pictures, stories, etc. If you share what you have done with your coworkers, they may turn on you and tell your boss. Worse, they may steal all of your good excuses.
  • Be careful with car excuses unless you are willing to stay at home, since if someone from work sees you in town then you are busted.
  • Do not use an excuse about someone in your family dying because the boss can find out for sure and you will be caught in a lie. This will make you less credible to your boss when someone really does die.
  • Try not to call in “sick” on too many Mondays or Fridays – extended weekends tend to stick out in the minds of bosses and co-workers. Calling out on the occasional Tuesday is more credible.

2 Responses to “How to call in sick when you just need a day off”

  1. Nikolas January 30, 2007 at 9:55 AM #

    Sweet 🙂

  2. hookmeup January 30, 2007 at 5:23 PM #

    I think so too 😉

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