Whether your job is Temporary/ Contract, Temp-to-Hire, Direct-Hire, remote or on-site, calling out of work from time to time is inevitable. You might need to miss work for family emergencies, medical issues, scheduled appointments, etc. Managers understand that their employees are human and life happens, expectedly and unexpectedly. The best thing to do is respectfully and briefly inform your supervisor of why you need to take time off. You don’t need to go into detail, legally there are federal limitations to what an employer can ask when you call out sick, unless you’re covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If you need to call out of work but are apprehensive and wondering what legitimate reasons for doing so are, continue reading.
- Sickness- If you’re feeling under the weather, especially if you’re planning on going into the office, it's a common courtesy to stay home and rest until you’re feeling better and no longer contagious. As soon as you start to feel ill, contact your manager and inform them you need to take time to recover. Be sure to keep them updated on how you’re feeling and when you think you’ll be able to return.
- Family emergency- You can’t plan for when a family member might need you. Family emergencies happen that can affect the health and/or safety of your family members such as someone being sick or hospitalized, a death in the family, a car accident, caring for an elderly family member, or adding a family member, such as birth, or something else entirely. These are all valid reasons for missing work last minute.
- Mental health day- If you need a self-care day and a chance to step away from work to regroup due to burnout or stress, request to take a personal day. But before asking to take a mental health day, familiarize yourself with your employment rights and your company’s time-off policy. Many companies, especially since the pandemic, have implemented or updated policies for mental health days. For a list of things to do on your mental health day click here.
- Loss of a loved one- Most organizations support bereaved employees and understand the need to take time off to process the death of their loved one. The amount of paid time off typically depends on the relationship between the employee and the recently passed. Again, you should check your company’s policies regarding bereavement leave and how much time you can miss from work due to the loss of a loved one.
- Home/apartment emergency- If you have a household problem like a leaky roof, power outage, plumbing issue, gas leak, flooding, etc. these are all things you cannot plan for and need to be addressed right away.
- Medical appointments- If a dental or medical emergency arises and needs to be taken care of right away, you should call out of work due to an urgent appointment. Employers understand that doctor’s appointments can be important matters and last minute. Keep in mind that your employer might request a doctor’s note to verify the appointment.
These are all legitimate reasons that warrant a short or long-term absence from work. If you can (depending on the severity of the situation), inform your manager right away to let them know that you’ll be missing work. If you’re feeling guilty or worried you might get fired for calling out of work, familiarize yourself with your organization's employee handbook regarding the time-off policy. Employers understand accidents and emergencies happen. As long as you're being honest, you should have no trouble calling out of work.