Calling in sick – Do’s and don’ts

Need to call in sick? There are right and wrong ways to let your boss know you’re a no-show.
Most people instinctively know the best way to communicate with their particular supervisor and workplace. But if your illness has caused a sudden loss of common sense, follow these tips compiled from human resources experts and other sources:

  • Do speak to your supervisor directly, if possible. Sending an email or SMS is a tip off of possible fakery.
  • Don’t attempt to fake sounding ill by using the old tricks: speaking on the phone while lying in bed or bent over the toilet. Remember, if you were an actor, you’d be in Hollywood.
  • Do call in as early in the day as possible to give your supervisor time to plan the day without you.
  • Don’t give your supervisor all the gory details of your illness, pain and suffering. It smacks of exaggeration. Make the call short and to the point.
  • Do make the call yourself. Don’t have your spouse, child or – worse – mother make the call for you unless you are hospitalized and intubated. Be a grown up.
  • Do apologise for the inconvenience to your employer.
    ° Don’t call from a bar, restaurant, a rugby game, airport or other questionable venue.
  • Do call in sick when you’re feeling miserable, need to see a doctor, are contagious or can’t think straight. Don’t go to work looking like a walking carcass.
  • Do get a doctor’s note if your illness requires medical treatment and a specified length of time off. (For many companies, a doctor’s note is needed for two days’ off or more.)
  • Don’t use “feminine problems” as an excuse – especially if you’re not a woman.
  • Don’t tell your boss you’ll try to be there after lunch. It won’t happen.
  • Do know how your supervisor feels about employee’s taking sick days.
  • Don’t call in sick on too many Monday’s and Fridays. It will damage your credibility.