Calling in Sick: Dos and Don’ts

Has your day ever been ruined, just because a colleague with whom you are working on an important project suddenly called in sick for some scarcely believable reasons? You’d have imagined that playing truancy is left for mischievous college students but hey, working class adults often can’t help but miss work for the most stupid of reasons.

Truth is, there are days you wake up and the first thing that comes to your mind is: what a life, must I go to work today? So you manage to stir and stir in bed until you finally muster the courage to get up and take your bath. And if by any chance before you drag your tired firm into a BRT bus for a trip to the office that you heard a bolt of thunder slashing though the darkness and breaking through the tranquility of the still-fresh morning, followed by deafening sound naturally, the next thing you’d do would be to whisper a passionate prayer Oh God! Please let it rain. The idea is; it rains, you call in sick.

Usually every standard workplace give allowance for leave days, part of which is made up by sick leave days. Everyone falls ill at one point or the other, right? While it is true that there’s allowance for any employee who may fall ill along the line, employers are working real hard to block all the possible cracks in the arrangement that would make an employee call in sick, so he can attend an interview somewhere.

With many people calling in sick like it’s no one’s business, the employer runs the risk of being too hard on people. I remember calling in sick one time and my boss would not believe I was really ill. It took me a painful trip to the office wrapped in thick cardigan before he’d let me take the day off. With survey revealing that 16 percent of employers sent their employees parking for reasons bordering on calling in sick with phony reasons you should certainly be aware of the right and wrong ways of going about the sick leave thing.

Below are the dos and the don’ts as arranged by R.L Hanlon, a career professional with Careerpath360.

There is an amount of responsibility a person holds when calling in sick. When you do so, consider the following dos and don’ts to calling in sick to work.


• Do call your employer and advise that you are sick, preferably in advance. Taking a day off without advising anyone and also at short notice does not warn your employer to organize another alternative.
• Do call in sick if you are actually sick.
• Call in sick if you have injured yourself and are unable to perform your normal duties. Working may make the injury worse until you seek proper medical attention.
• If a member of your family is very ill and you are the only person available to provide care if it’s needed, do call your employer and advise you’ll need the day off.
• Do call in sick if there has been a death in your family. Most employers are understanding to family and personal needs, they’re human too. If you have shown yourself to be a responsible, dedicated and often reliable person, calling in a sick day won’t be looked on too harshly.


• Don’t call in sick if your employer knows you were out all weekend. Opening your big mouth and telling everyone you’re in for a big one will just make everyone look down at you.
• Don’t call in sick if you’ve hung over from the drinking expedition you went for, last night.
• Don’t call in sick if you did that last Monday, and the Monday before that.
• Don’t have your mum, wife or partner call in sick for you unless you’ve had your voice box removed.
• Don’t call in sick if you can’t come up with a good excuse. Twenty-four hour bugs and stomach upsets don’t hold water anymore
• If you have used an excuse before which happened to be a lie, make sure you don’t use it again. Don’t tell us your aunt died, when she died three months ago, died again last month, and you are telling us again today that she just died. No no.
• If you’re pregnant and suffering morning sickness, come into work and be sick there. Once your employer sees how your pregnancy is affecting you, they will be more understanding.
• Don’t call in sick without a medical certificate. Work place laws are making it tougher for employees to just take sick days; usually one must be backed up with a medical certificate from your health practitioner.
• Don’t call in if your car won’t start or you have a flat tyre. Call your employer and advise you’re having difficulties and are waiting for the mechanic, or are running late because you need to catch a taxi or public transport.

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