List of Reasons For Taking Sick Leave (Good and Bad Reasons)

In this brief guide, we will look at a list of reasons for taking sick leave, as well as some common laws surrounding the concept of sick leave. We will also look at some of the worst excuses for taking sick leave, and letter samples for sick leave.

List of Reasons For Taking Sick Leave

Given below is a list of reasons for taking a sick leave that are acceptable to most bosses:

  • Flu
  • Contagious illnesses
  • Pain
  • Medical Procedure
  • Dentist Appointment
  • Other Medical appointment
  • Pregnancy related issues
  • Delivery 
  • Stress
  • Elective surgery
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Migraine
  • Psychotherapy session
  • Family issues of someone being sick

A sick leave comes in quite handy when the employee is not well or when someone in the family is not well, and they need to take care of things.

Sick leaves are usually taken for short term issues, but they can be extended if the illness is more severe than previously thought or if the employee needs more time to recuperate for any reason.

In most places, when a sick leave is extended beyond 5-7 days, the employer might need a sick note from the doctor, or some sort of medical proof or certificate that shows that the person is actually sick and not just claiming sick leave for other things.

It can also be good to talk to the employer on the phone before you send in an email or letter, and it can be nice to explain to them whatever is wrong with your health.

Here is a sample of what a phone call for informing the boss of one’s sickness might look like:

“Good morning, Mrs. Smith. I am calling to inform you that I developed a flu last night and won’t be able to come to work today due to fever and an upset stomach. I expect to be back in the office on Wednesday. In the meantime, Joan Wilkes will present our team’s progress at the 1:30 meeting today, and Jason Williams will respond to urgent emails for the current project. Please let me know if there are any additional steps you would like me to take. Thank you.”

What is a Sick Leave and When Can You Take it?

A sick leave refers to a short term leave that is usually taken when you or someone in your family is not feeling well, and you need to take time off to either care for yourself or for them.

Another thing to be aware of is that in the U.SAccording to the Department of Labor, Federal law does not require sick leave. If you quit your job before using all of your sick leave, your employer is not obligated to pay you for that time.

If one needs to take a sick leave for someone in the family, they may also be covered under the Family and Medical leave act, about which the DOL says:

“The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical situations for either the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family; however, in many instances paid leave may be substituted for unpaid FMLA leave.

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).”

According to the Family and Medical Leave act, these reasons are all valid ones to claim sick leave, so if any of these applies to you, you may be eligible for sick leave.

Reasons to Take Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is different from a sick leave because it does not require the presence of anything medical in nature, and usually all employment contracts stipulate a given number of paid leaves of absence in the contract, so make sure you are well aware of these.

You can take a leave of absence for any of these reasons:

  • Personal Reasons
  • Needing to tend to your house
  • Childcare
  • Stress or other mental health issues
  • Improving work skills (class, workshop)
  • Medical leave
  • Maternity leave
  • Family related problem
  • Jury duty
  • Military leave
  • Sabbatical
  • Extended vacation
  • Short-term disability
  • Long-term disability

Taking a leave of absence is simple enough, just make sure you have spoken to your supervisor or manager as well, and make sure you have also checked your contract to see if you have enough leaves of absence left, because otherwise it can lead to unpaid leaves and you may lose out on your payment.

10 Really Unusual Sick Day Excuses

While some reasons for taking sick leave are good and valid, and most employers wouldn’t pay attention to them as such, there are some reasons that are so unusual and odd that one can’t help but remember them.

Here are 10 really unusual sick day excuses that the employers will likely not forget for quite some time:

  • The ozone in the air flattened his tires.
  • Her roots were showing and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess.
  • The employee ate cat food instead of tuna and was deathly ill.
  • She said she wasn’t sick, but her llama was.
  • Pressure cooker exploded, scared the employee’s sister, so she had to stay home.
  • He had to attend the funeral of his wife’s cousin’s pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.
  • She was blocked in by police raiding her home.
  • He was bowling the game of his life and couldn’t make it to work.
  • He said he had better things to do.
  • They ate too much birthday cake.
  • They were bitten by a duck.
  • She used a hair remover under her arms and had chemical burns as a result. She couldn’t put her arms down by her sides.

These unusual excuses for sick leave are quite memorable, and they provide quite a laugh, but if you need to take a sick leave, try to stick to the truth of what has happened, and try to make sure that you are being candid about the reasons.

Sick Leave Reasons Sample: 1

Below is a sick leave letter sample with reasons, which you can use with some minor changes of your name, your reason or the other details.

“Subject: Sick Leave – [Your Full Name]

Hi [Name],

I woke up this morning with a [insert reason here, such as severe fever] and have to be on my prescribed medication starting today. As a result, I have to take a few sick days off, so that I can rest and hope that I can recover soon.

I’ll make sure I finish all my assigned tasks by the end of this week/early next week. For any urgent matters, [name of a colleague] can cover for me. I am available via Slack & Email for any assistance.

I hope to be back at work in a couple of days and will keep you updated on my progress.

Thank you for understanding.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]”

Sick Leave Reasons Sample: 2

Here is another sick leave reason letter sample, which cites the problem of food poisoning, and also mentions that the person does not have any more sick leaves left, so they are taking unpaid sick leaves.

This option may apply to you too, so always make sure you check the leave distribution accordingly.

“Subject: Unpaid Sick Leave – [Your Full Name]

Hi [Name],

I’m writing to inform you that I have been feeling unwell since last night, due to which I am unable to attend the office. I’ve been diagnosed with a [severe case of food poisoning] and have been advised rest for [#] days.

Since I do not have any sick leaves left on my calendar, I understand that my absence during my recovery will be marked as unpaid sick leave.

I will try to make myself available on Slack or email for any assistance during this recovery.

Thank you for understanding.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]”

Sick Leave Reasons Sample: 3

This last sick leave letter sample with a reason is sent after the fact, which is entirely possible in many cases, and it may happen that you are so sick that you may not be able to send out a letter or inform your boss.

“Subject: Joe Brown – Absence June 3, 2020

Dear Steve,

I am writing to document my absence due to illness on June 3, 2020. I was unable to report to work due to an acute attack of food poisoning. Please see the attached report of my treatment at Urgent Care.





In this brief guide, we looked at a list of reasons for taking sick leave, as well as some common laws surrounding the concept of sick leave. We also looked at some of the worst excuses for taking sick leave, and letter samples for sick leave.

If you’ve enjoyed the ”List of Reasons For Taking Sick Leave” mentioned above, I would recommend you to take a look at ”When Can I Stop Worrying About Dry Socket?” too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): List of Reasons for Taking Sick Leave

What is the best reason for sick leave?

The best reason for sick leave is considered to be a contagious illness like the flu is the most but bear in mind that in some cases your boss might think it’s not bad enough to skip work. Some other good reasons for sick leave tend to be back pains, accident-related injuries, and stress. 

What is the best reason to take leave?

The best reason to take leave usually tends to be excessive job-related stress, or unavoidable situations like Bereavement. 

Other good reasons to take leave include Emergency medical procedures or an important appointment with your doctor.

How do you politely ask for sick leave?

To politely ask for sick leave, you may try the following format: 

“Hi (Manager’s Name), I’m emailing to inform you that I can’t make it to work today, (Date), as I’ve come down with a (your illness). I’ll be available to answer emails if you need urgent help, but (Co-worker’s Name) will handle my workload today to ensure all deadlines are met.”


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