How to Tell Your Boss You’re Sick Text Message (w/ Examples)

How to Tell Your Boss You’re Sick Text Message

Wondering how to tell your boss you’re sick via text message?

As long as you know you’re able to inform your boss via text that you’re sick, you have nothing to be anxious about!

Sending a text is much easier than having to speak to your boss, it’s quicker, and you have a record of what you said and they responded.

I’m even going to provide you with some examples you can copy and paste (changing some key details, of course)!

Can I Text My Boss I’m Sick?

It’s never been an issue everywhere I’ve worked to text in when taking a sick day, but you’ll need to check your own company policy on it. Typically a phone call or an email is the preferred method of calling in sick. Email is usually the best way to inform your boss you’re sick because you can also copy other parties that may have their workday impacted by your absence.

If your company has a policy in place about texting in general, whether it be for work purposes or personal, then use that as a guide.

For example, if they allow you to text colleagues but not clients, then stick to texting colleagues only.

The same goes for if they have a policy in place about calling in sick. Don’t guess or assume anything, breaking company policy for the sake of skipping a call for a text isn’t worth it.

If you’re unsure, you can always ask a trusted colleague or your HR department before sending a text to your boss about being sick.

If you’re not sure, but your boss has given you their phone number, Whatsapp handle, or another form of contacting them before, this is a good sign that they’ll be ok with it.

Related Here’s what to say when calling in sick with diarrhea.

How to Tell Your Boss You’re Sick By Text Message

When you do text your boss to say you’re sick, it’s important to remember a few key things:

  • Be courteous and professional, don’t use text slang and emojis!
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • You don’t have to go into too much detail about your illness if you’re not comfortable doing so
  • Let them know how long you think you’ll be out for and when you’ll next contact them
  • If there is anything important you’re going to miss, try and let them know how to cover for you
  • Let them know if there are any potential blockers to activities or if there is anything another colleague could help out with to keep the ball rolling on a project or initiative in your absence.
  • Thank them in advance

Even if you have a fun and personable relationship with your boss, my advice is to keep your work-related texts as professional as possible. You want the to give your boss the sense that even though you will be absent your responsibilities, activities or initiatives will still be covered, pushed forward, or otherwise advanced.

Even if you have a relaxed relationship with your boss or direct report, you never know if your texts will need to be seen by HR or if a copy will be placed on your file so make sure you use professional language, complete sentences and correct punctuation.

The last thing you want is for someone else to review your file, like a new boss taking over, only to see jokes, slang, misspelled words, and sick emojis!

Example Text Messages to Send to Your Boss When You’re Sick

Don’t stress too much over what you’re going to say. As long as you cover the key bits of information and adhere to the tips above, you’ll be fine.

Here are a few examples of texts you can send to your boss when you’re sick and you are a salaried employee:

  • “Hi [Boss’s Name], I’m sorry to let you know that I’m feeling unwell and won’t be able to come into work today. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.”
  • “Hi [Boss’s Name], unfortunately, I’m not feeling well and won’t be able to come into work today. I’ve arranged for [co-worker] to cover for me.”
  • “Good morning [Boss’s Name], I hope you’re well. I’m sorry to say that I’m unwell and won’t be able to come into work today. Is there a time we can catch up on a call later today? “
  • “[Boss’s Name], I’m so sorry but I won’t be able to come into work today as I’m feeling unwell. I’ll keep you posted and be back in touch soon.”
  • “Hi [Boss’s Name], I’ve woken up feeling awful, I’m not going to be able to make it in, I’ll let you know what my Dr says.”
  • “Hi [Boss’s Name], I a feeling under the weather today and I will not be able to make it to the office today. I [co-worker] is aware and she will be following up on my open tasks for today to ensure that things are still progressing. I don’t anticipate being out again tomorrow but I will keep you informed if anything changes.

Here are a few examples of texts you can send to your boss when you’re sick and you are an hourly employee:

  • Hi [Boss’s Name], I know today is going to be busy but I am feeling very sick and will not be able to come in today. I have already reached out to [co-worker] who agreed to take my shift. I don’t anticipate needing any additional time but if I do I will let you know as soon as possible. Thanks for your understanding.
  • Hi [Boss’s Name], I woke up today feeling awful and I am not going to be able to make it in today. [co-worker] has agreed to take on my shift and will be there before the store opens to get the shift prepared. I have a doctor appointment this afternoon and should have more information about my status for tomorrow after that. Apologies for the short notice but I am hoping to be back on my feet again tomorrow.

Once You’ve Texted Your Boss To Say You’re Sick

Assuming everything went well and your boss received and accepted your text, there are a few things you should do next:

  • Get better! Rest up, drink plenty of fluids, follow the advice of your doctor, and do whatever it takes to get better as soon as possible.
  • Keep your boss updated on your progress and when you think you’ll be back in. A general rule of thumb is to wait until you’re feeling better to text them again or once each day.
  • If you have any deadlines or projects coming up, try and rearrange them if possible. If not, let your boss know what the status is and when they can expect an update from you.
  • Upon your return to work, make sure you apologize for being out and thank them for their understanding.

I’m sure you’ll find that as long as you acted in the correct manner, everyone will be excited to see you back and that you’re feeling well.

Texting Your Boss In Emergency Situations

Texting your boss when you have the common cold, food poisoning, upset stomach etc. is one thing but what should you do if you are going to miss work because of an emergency situation either for yourself or where someone else in your family is in an emergency situation and you are responsible for caring for them during that event?

I was actually recently in this situation where while recovering from a sickness over the weekend where I was unable to eat much of any food and became quite dehydrated, and while I was taking a shower in the morning before work I became dizzy and fainted in the shower. My spouse heard the commotion of fall and needless to say it was clear that this was an emergency situation.

I was taken to an emergency clinic and immediately put on IV fluids, vitamins, etc. to treat the dehydration and vitamin deficiency. During this time my wife was able to text my boss on my behalf and inform him of the situation and that I would obliviously not be available for work.

She was not able to add any additional details regarding in progress tasks or anything like that, but my boss was very understanding and appreciated her reaching out. Just to round that story out. It turned out that it was nothing serious and I was able to return to work the next day.

Emergency situations like these can put additional pressure and stress on you and your family so texting or communicating quickly with you or your loved one’s boss can be an easy way to inform the workplace of the situation and allow you focus on the emergency situation at hand.

Here’s an example of the actual text that was sent:

“Hi [Boss’s Name], this is [your name or loved one’s name depending on the situation] Phil has had an unexpected incident today and we are on our way to the emergency clinic for treatment. Phil will be unavailable today. We will keep you updated on his status. Thank you for your understanding.”

In the text there is no need to reveal specifics of the incident but you are still communicating there is an emergency situation that is unfolding and that the person will not be available for work. It checks all the boxes we have discussed above and does not reveal any private medical information.

Texting Your Boss That You Will Be Out For The Whole Week

There may be illnesses like the flu or COVID-19 that can last for several days or even several weeks. In these situations where you are fairly certain that you will be out for more than a day or two it is critical to let your boss know as soon as possible so appropriate arrangements can be made. There are also situations like bereavement, where you may not be sick but where you will not be available for several days.

In these cases you may need to give more detail than you would if you were only missing a day or two. Note that the amount of information that you give is up to you and dependent on the laws governing the specific situation.

My general rule of thumb in this case is to give enough information that you feel comfortable giving but that also gives your boss a sense of the severity of the situation that would warrant the extend period of time off that you need.

Here’s an example of a text message you might use if you need to take a week off due to illness:

“Hi [Boss’s Name] I tested positive for the flu yesterday and my doctor has informed me that it could last anywhere from 4 to 6 days. I wanted to let you know that I will definitely be unavailable for work the next two days. I will continue to monitor my situation and give you updates on when I plan to return. [Co-worker] has agreed to be my backup for the activities I had planned this week. They will oversee the progress in my place and will be the point of contact until I return. Thanks for your patience and understanding while I rest and recover.”

Texting Your Boss You Need A Mental Health Day

Modern businesses realize that demanding clients, jobs, and deadlines can cause an immense amount of stress on an individual or an entire team. Companies that place on emphasis on employee retention are, now more than ever, willing to acknowledge that needing a day off to reset, recharge, and take care of your mental health is a valid reason to miss work.

If you find yourself needing to take a mental health day I would suggest learning a bit more about it here first and then use the examples below to text your boss. As always please make yourself aware of your company’s specific policy on mental health days and your local, state, and federal regulations regarding the matter.

Below is an example of a text message for taking a mental health day:

“Hi [Boss’s Name] I wanted to let you know that I will be taking a mental health day to recharge, rest, and focus on lowering my body’s stress levels. I have already reached out to [co-worker] and they are aware of and will be following up on my open tasks and responsibilities for the day. It is important for me to be at the top of my game at work and days like today are critical to my overall performance as an employee. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.”

Laws and Regulations Around Sick Days

I can’t write this post without mentioning that you need to be aware of the laws and regulations around taking sick days in the State, or Country where you’re working.

For example, ou may be eligible for something called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Just keep in mind, you need to meet certain criteria, like having worked for your employer for at least 12 months and putting in a minimum of 1,250 hours during the past year.

In Summary

If you’re texting in for the first time ever to say you’re sick, I know how daunting it can feel – we’ve all been there.

However, I hope this guide has given you the confidence to deal with telling your boss you’re sick by text message.

While it may seem daunting, as long as you’re polite, professional and to the point, everything should go smoothly.

And remember, if in doubt, always check with HR!

Sources we used to verify the information in this post: – how to call out of work

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Workest – What Is the Average Number of Sick Days in the U.S.?

Image credits – Photo by on Unsplash

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