Absence at Work: How to Write an Excuse Letter

Leaving a job during working hours is not a crime. In life, we sometimes get into situations when things can't be postponed until our working day ends. And though managers understand you can have personal issues, corporations have certain rules to follow – and require an official Excuse Letter. Below we are sharing some tips on how to compose such a letter and not affect the workflow.

Tips on Composing a Formal Letter of Excuse

Excuse letters should be clear, short, formal, and consistent. And here are several tips on how to make them well-written.

  • Look into the company's policy

Learn the corporate requirements for such notifications. What information must be included except for reasons and dates –– like preliminary confirmations or supporting documents. Probably, you have an HR system through which personnel-related issues are initiated and agreed. Then you need to create a record in it and send it to your supervisor. But it's always better to discuss with your supervisor in person before sending official notification.

  • Be clear but not too personal about the reason

Of course, it's important to inform your employer about the reasons for your temporary absence. On the other hand, getting into extra details is not always necessary. For example, if you visit a doctor, don't describe what tests you'll have to do or what medical examination you are about to take. Or if you have to be with your wife when she is giving birth to a child, your boss won't need details about her pregnancy. However, if your employer insists on intimate details, you have the right to privacy. Well, keep a healthy balance here.

  • Use proper formatting, tone, and voice

Keep the tone of your letter official and format it according to the policy requirements. Make sure to spell all names correctly and make your text error-free. But avoid too vague cliché phrases and long sentences –– a few statements to the point will keep it short and informative. Your manager shouldn't spend 15 minutes figuring out your excuses. And attach supporting documents if required.

  • State who will cover your duties 

The main worry of an employer is to have all tasks completed keeping the working process smooth. So you need to talk to your colleagues and agree on who will be able to take on your tasks during your absence. Sometimes delegating the full stack of your duties to one person can be too much. And in this case, delegate them to 2-3 colleagues, but clearly state who does what. Then let your supervisor know whom he can contact in case of any questions. Also, advise on your availability for work-related issues. And if this is applicable, leave a number to contact you urgently.

Unexpected Absence

Sometimes we can't plan our absence in advance, and for example, late at night or early in the morning, you understand you won't be able to come to work. Then you need to have an official one-day leave application template at hand and send an email right away. Again, it may be pretty challenging for your manager to have your routine tasks done, so if this is possible, ask your colleagues to help. 

Long-Term Absence

There can happen situations when you need to miss work for more than your sick leave allows. And this is an issue for both parties. Your employer can't wait for you for weeks, as well as you can't come to the office. But don't think of termination at once; there is a decent option to try –– work from home. Remote work is not unusual and, in some circumstances, can be a savior. For example, if you need to care about your child or another dependent, try to organize your work remotely or agree to work from home several days a week.

Wrapping Up

When you need to resolve your personal issues during working hours, talk to your manager first. Then send him a clear, informative, and short Letter of Excuse that complies with internal policies. Agree on who will take on your tasks and let your supervisor know this colleague's contact. Don't forget to inform everyone when you plan to return. These simple rules will help you get a short leave and get back to work soon. 


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