How to Write a Sick Leave Letter (With Template and Example)

Updated March 6, 2023

You can wake up in the morning and feel too ill to go to work. Here, it's important to inform your manager that you're feeling sick, so they can take the necessary steps to cover your responsibilities for the day. Understanding how to write a letter or e-mail to inform your manager or supervisor of your illness can help you take time off to feel better while remaining professional. In this article, we discuss a sick leave letter, share how to write one, and provide you with a letter template and example.

What is a sick leave letter?

A sick leave letter is a document an employee can send to a manager or supervisor to request time off work because of an illness or injury. It's important for an employee to request sick leave if they cannot perform their job duties effectively. This letter gives a manager notice of an employee's absence, which helps them make effective arrangements to cover their responsibilities. In a letter, the employee can notify the company of their sickness details, such as their symptoms and leave duration. They can also inform the manager they're supplying a doctor's note.

Related: How to Write a Sick Day E-Mail (With Tips and Examples)

How to write a sick leave letter

Here are the steps you can follow to write a letter to your employer if you're sick:

1. Follow company policy

Be sure that you're aware of the company's policy regarding absences. The company might have an employee handbook that provides this information. If not, you can use your manager's preferred communication method. Each organization has different notification requirements. Some require informing a manager at least two hours before a shift starts. Others want employees to call in sick rather than send a text message or e-mail. The company might also ask employees to notify colleagues or clients that they're not going to be available.

Related: What Are HR Policies? (With Importance and Examples)

2. Format the letter correctly

There's a specific format a business letter can follow. Writing a letter for sick leave is no different. Ensure you're formatting the letter correctly before you begin writing. At the top of the document, write your name and employer's address. Below this, you can add the date in a month, day, and year format. When starting the letter, begin with a salutation, such as Dear. Afterwards, write your manager's name using their preferred personal title.

Related: How to Write an Official Letter (With Template and Example)

3. State the reason for your absence

It's not necessary to make the introductory paragraph of your letter long. You can give the reason for the letter, meaning why you require the sick leave and the approximate length. It's important to keep this brief because your manager might be busy because of your absence.

4. Explain your condition

If your medical condition is uncommon, it might be necessary to describe it. Situations such as maternity leave are self-explanatory, but explaining a more unusual event can be beneficial. This explanation can help your manager understand why your sick leave is necessary. Providing a significant number of details is unnecessary, but a little information is helpful. Keep this as professional as possible, without jargon, so that the manager can understand clearly.

Related: How to Write a Maternity Leave Letter to Your Employer

5. Let them know your availability

Thanks to current technology, checking your work e-mail periodically from home throughout your sick day is possible. You might also work from home and not take a sick day. If you're too ill to check your e-mail or plan to check it as much as possible, let your manager know. If you check your e-mail throughout the day, you can also inform them you're going to e-mail them if your condition worsens and you stop checking.

6. Determine whether the employer is paying you

This is especially the case when working for an hourly salary or you have a job with a large organization. In your letter, you can inform your manager if your illness absence is coming out of your paid time off (PTO), sick leave, or it's going to be unpaid. If you work for an employer that distinguishes between vacation, personal, and sick days, it's important to state which of these you're using if necessary. It's also beneficial to mention the colleague covering your shift if you're working part time.

Related: PTO vs. Vacation: Advantages and How to Use Them Effectively

7. Provide details of your tasks

If you have an important meeting on your schedule for the day, let the manager know that you're rescheduling or contacting someone to handle the meeting. If there's a deadline approaching for your tasks, give the manager as many details as possible to help them understand their status. You can also mention who's going to cover your assignments or clients while you're away.

8. Give your best possible contact details

It's important to provide your manager with the best way to contact you during your absence. They might already have this information in the company database, but it's good to provide it in your letter, so they have it. This contact information can include your preferred e-mail or phone number your manager can use.

9. Add a closing line

After providing all your details regarding your sick leave, you can close the letter by offering a sincere thank you for reading it. You can then add a formal sign-off, such as Sincerely, before signing your name at the bottom of the document. If you're supplying an enclosure with your letter, such as a doctor's note, write Enclosure below your name at the bottom of your letter. You can also add a description of the enclosure.

Template letter for a sick leave

You can use this template letter to help you write yours when letting an employer know about your sick leave:

[First name] [Last name]

[Company name]

[Company address]


Dear [Manager's full name],

I am sending this letter to bring to your attention that after my doctor's appointment, my test results show that [specify ailment]. My doctor advises that I be on bed rest for [specify period]. I plan to use my paid sick days to rest and recover.

I apologize for the inconvenience this leave might cause, and I can complete my current tasks from home when possible and e-mail them to you when done. I can also periodically check my e-mail throughout the day to help if something urgent arises. [Provide details of your tasks or meeting]. When I return, I can work to finish everything I missed on my sick leave.

I am going to contact [colleagues' names] and ask them to take over my work for the days I'm away and run the meetings on my schedule. Please let me know if you have questions. You can contact me by phone at [phone number] or by e-mail at [e-mail address].



Sample letter for a sick leave

You can review this example to help you write an effective sick leave letter:

Sherelle Cooper

Robel Group Inc.

Vancouver, BC

May 10, 2022

Dear Brian Clayton,

I'm sending you this letter to inform you that I'm going to be taking sick leave from May 10 through to May 12, as I cannot come to work because I have contracted influenza. After seeing my doctor, he advised me to take this time to recover and avoid spreading the illness to others.

I apologize for the inconvenience my sick leave might cause. While at home, I can continue to work on my current tasks and send you an e-mail when they're complete. I can also check my e-mail throughout the day and reply to help. On my schedule, I have a meeting on May 11, and I can contact someone from my team to attend it for me. When I return to the office, I can finish everything I miss while away.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I'm going to contact Stephen from my team and ask them to take over for me while I'm on leave and attend my meeting. You can contact me if you have any concerns or questions for me. Please feel free to call me on my phone at (604)-486-1364 or by e-mail at if you need any clarification.


Sherelle Cooper

Enclosure–doctor's note detailing medical condition.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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