How to call in sick (even if you’re not)

When calling some sick employee to work, the employer can feel uncomfortable. And there’re some reasons for it. The employee can not be ill for real and just wants to skip the workday. But today, the situation has changed a little bit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There’s a chance that you can spread disease, and you can do a job home if there’s no big reason. Also, nowadays, many companies understand the significance of their workers’ mental health. And here, calling out a sick employee for work can serve as a simple option. But, actually, the company cares about sick leave, and is not so easy to get.

So, in our post, we’ll discuss how you can be called out for work if you’re truly ill and how to use your illness as an excuse to skip the job. Let’s go.

 Any worker should know that his work doesn’t disperse simply because he cannot perform it during his illness. Here, he has a few variants – to complete it the other day, or let other workers do it. There’s one more variant that for the employer is the worst – nobody will do this job this day. 

 We don’t blame you – you’re ill, we understand it. Nevertheless, this situation can negatively influence the colleagues you work with depending on the job’s nature.

 That’s why if you feel ill, you need to show your conscientiousness to your employer and colleagues. How?

Steps you need to take:

  •  Select the right man to inform about your disease:

The corporate policy can help you choose the right person, but when you’re ill, you don’t have time for it. In many organizations, informing your boss about the disease is the best decision. Also, some firms contain online platforms where you can ask for a day off. In case you don’t precisely know if necessary to leave an online request (especially if you do it for the first time), you can call or write an e-mail to your boss and ask for it. Just be sure to choose this option in case you’re a Millennial.

When doing it, try to provide all the necessary information about your disease and prove that you cannot come to work. Don’t exaggerate or understate your state of health – it can harm your relationship with the employer.

After handing over this information, you should be able to leave the workplace. If your illness allows, you can come to work in order not to spread your disease with other employees. But if an employee’s condition is so bad that he may injure himself or someone else by performing his duties, it’s better not to go anywhere.

  • Tell about your disease faster as you can:

Before the workday or when waking up you feel ill, you need to inform your employer about it immediately.  This way you’ll save time for your employer and he won’t have to call a replacement worker. Also, if you take into account that the Covid-19 pandemic spreads quickly, it would be great not to create a risk of infecting other employees with this disease.

  • Keep medical records:

In case your employer needs to call a replacement worker for you, he has the right to do it. And when doing so, he can ask your doctor or phone your medical records and speak with him about your disease’s results. During such a conversation, keep in mind that you cannot provide false information about yourself because this will damage your reputation and the trustworthiness of the company.

  • Warn your colleagues about the illness:

Your disease concerns not only your employer but also your team. If you want to be a good worker, you definitely should warn your colleagues that you feel ill and don’t come to work. It’s essential, especially if you take part in a group project.

  • Be careful with your social media accounts:

If you have an account on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, be very careful when posting photos of yourself in the status. You need to avoid showing that you’re not sick and it can harm your reputation in a company.

  • Propose to compensate the lost job any way you can:

If you feel good, you can propose to the employer to do the job from home. If you don’t, you must ensure that you’ll complete the job later, or your colleague will do it instead of you. If you’re working in a team, you can try to compensate for the lost job with an additional assignment. Also, if your employer allows it and the disease doesn’t prevent it – perform some other work.

  • Keep up with your colleague:

If your illness prohibits you from anything – don’t overcompensate it. Just inform your boss about it, but don’t act like you can do more than you really can. This way you won’t hurt the image of yourself and make your colleague lose trust in you. So, never give up your work!

  • Follow the organizational policy:

Some companies prohibit their employees from lying to the employer. Others have a different policy and prohibit employees from calling in sick when they’re not. So, follow the rules of your organization before doing anything else.

  • Prove your disease:

If you don’t come to work because of the disease, you need to prove it. But if you just take a day off for mental health issues, we don’t recommend using a disease-worthy doctor’s attention as a reason for not coming to work. Once you’ll fall into a trap.  

Reasons for having a day off

 You can use many variants to tell your employer that you’ll be absent, but you’ll have to explain a reason one day. And of course, all of them are not so good. So, we’ll tell you about the options and what can be a reason for your absence.

Below, we’ll give a few examples of good excuses for taking a sick day:

  • You can spread disease:

Nowadays, it’s very essential. If you’re contagious, you must stay home and not put your colleagues at risk of getting ill (even if you’re well). It’s very actual today when you can do your job from home.

  • The disease is related to the medical treatment:

For example, your surgery. Even if you’re feeling bad, there can be something even worse without surgery.

  • You have a medical appointment:

It doesn’t matter what kind of appointment it is – medical or nonmedical. But you should remember that sometimes nothing can replace the employer’s doubts. So, prepare the details of your appointment in advance or don’t leave any traces to call you out with.

  • You need mental health care:

If you have some serious problems with your psyche, it may be a good reason for taking a day off. Nowadays many companies understand this problem and they offer their employees for this care.

  • There’s genuinely no energy for the job:

If your disease makes you feel bad, and you cannot work, you need to stay home and let your body rest. You’ll be more effective if you let yourself rest simply for one day.

  • Your disease damages others:

If you feel that your illness will damage your colleagues (like coughing, sneezing, or bad cold), you definitely shouldn’t come to work. You’ll not be a great worker for others (simply, believe us).

  • A day off is necessary for you:

There’s no need to feel ill for calling out for work. We’ve already said that today many companies realize the importance of mental health. But if your boss doesn’t realize it, you can lie about your disease.  

Bad excuses for taking a day off

  • You’re not sick: If you think that your employer won’t call in sick on the next day, don’t depend on it. The majority of employers use such services as «Sick Me Not», where they can check how many days an employee had been absent.
  • Loss of a relative: Even if you have a great reason to be absent, remember that it should be a real one! So, do not invent the loss if there wasn’t any. It could lead you to mutual problems with your employer.
  • You’ve been fired from another job: If you want to stay in your current job, you shouldn’t tell them about the other company. They may think that they will be next to let you go.
  • Your child got sick: If you don’t have children or it was no one but the nanny who took care of them, this excuse doesn’t work! Telling lies to your employer could cost you dearly.
  • You need treatment: It depends on what kind of treatment it is – medical or nonmedical. If it’s something like plastic surgery, then everything is fine (the number of such cases isn’t small). But if this treatment is for drug addiction, alcoholism, etc., do not use it as an excuse because your boss may ask for your doctor’s opinion.
  • You want to go party: This is not a good reason for staying home – even if you really want it. It doesn’t make any sense and can lead to serious problems with your employer.
  • Taking care of your child: If your kid gets sick and needs constant care, you must think about who will take care of him/her (if there was no nanny). Your child should be taken to the doctor by someone else, so just say that you have an appointment with the doctor yourself. The best decision would be taking time off as a part of annual leave or using paid personal days.   
  • You need to look after your pet: Almost every employer has no problem with this reason, but you’d better think twice before saying it. If your employer doesn’t like animals, he/she may just ask about your pet.
  • You’re hungover: This isn’t the best excuse to stay home for sure. It won’t do real harm to you, but it definitely won't be taken into account by your employer (the number of cases when employees got fired because of using this reason is not small).   
  • Your grandmother died: Sorry to say, but if she had been very old and died after long years or decades of waiting, you certainly mustn't use her death as an excuse! There are many other reasons that can be used.
  • Feeling tired: It’s definitely not a cause that can be accepted by employers because you could easily feel tired if you simply didn’t have enough sleep, forgot to rest, etc.   
  • You believe it's your religious duty: Before using this reason for staying home, think about the employer (especially as he/she may be non-religious). Otherwise, you can appear as an extremist and be highly undesirable in the company. 
  • Your car broke down: This is another truth that doesn’t always work well with employers. You need to prove that it really happened and not make up some problem with your personal vehicle (he/she may ask for proof like a mechanic’s certificate).   
  • Your pet got sick: This reason is better than staying home because of your child or yourself. But still, your employer may ask for the certificate of the vet to be sure that you’re not lying.   
  • You need to take care of an elderly person: If you feel like this situation has an advantage over others listed above, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your employer will agree with it. You can use this excuse only if you know exactly how an elderly relative should be cared about (you don't have to provide any special certificates).

How not to get caught

More often, employers make random inspections to check whether their employees are really sick. Here’s what you need to know about avoiding pitfalls:

  • Don’t come on time: It may be a sign that an employee is not very ill. So, try to come 5 or 10 minutes later than usual and look unhappy while at work.
  • If a colleague or a friend calls you up and asks about your health, answer briefly and unhappily – this will show how serious your illness is.
  • Don’t make any eye contact with people passing by, especially those from the personnel department.   
  • Stay away from all sorts of social networks! You can write something like “I am ill today”, but don’t forget to delete this later on (otherwise it might be easily seen as evidence that you were not sick).    
  • Try not talking may be difficult for you because we always use phrases like: "How are you?", "I'm fine", etc. That's why pretend that your throat hurts (and this will probably make you stop talking).
  • Don’t eat anything! It may seem strange, but it can help you to avoid being caught. The main reason is that there are few employees who can show up at work on an empty stomach.   
  • If you have a doctor’s appointment, be careful not to write about it in your calendar or diary – this information must be classified as private data.    

Not truly ill – do you need to take a time off or not?

 One day when waking up, you can feel you need to inform about your “disease” and not go to work. Yes, this excuse is not valid, and your boss cannot understand it. But probably, you haven’t been ill for a year or more. Maybe, you haven’t taken a day off for a long time. Or you simply don’t want to go to work. So, here the question comes – do you need to take a sick day or not? Honestly, the situations are different:

  • Organization’s policy: First of all, your decision to take a day off depends on the policy your organization follows and how they treat the spare time. Some companies combine vacation and sick days. And here, calling it for any time of days off can mean almost the same process. So, if your company follows such a policy, you do need to lie about your illness, and anyway, the process will be almost the same. 
  • Your reputation: When deciding about the day off, it’s important to consider what type of workers you relate to – those who often take sick days for valid or false excuses. If you often take time off, your boss will suspect that you do it for the wrong reasons. If you need this time because you’re ill, using it without a good excuse will damage you.
  • Knowing your boss's opinion: The third thing you need to consider is your boss's opinion about mental health days off. For some people, these days are sick, and for others, these days refer to vacation. 
  • Consider the risk it can bring: In the end when deciding, you should remember that using sick days for no valid reasons always comprises the risk. And it depends on you and your work situation. So, think carefully before taking a day off. 

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