Sample Absence Excuse Letters for Work

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Have you recently been absent from work, or are you planning to be out in the future? If so, you may want to write an excuse letter for your boss or HR.

In fact, you may be required to document your absence. Some companies mandate that all time off be documented in writing. Still others require a written note for some absences (of lengths of absence) but not for others. It’s best to familiarize yourself with company policy as soon as you know you’ll be off work.

When you do, you’ll probably note that some excuses for missing work are considered more legitimate than others. For example, a sick day is probably permissible, but not if necessitated by overindulging in food or drink. (Not even when it’s because you ate too much birthday cake, which is a real excuse documented by a CareerBuilder survey on sick days.)

Whether it is company policy to require an absence excuse letter or not, it’s always a good idea to document missed workdays, for your records as well as for the company’s records. In some cases, you can call in sick or send a quick email stating that you won't be in.

That way, should a question ever arise about your time off, your file will show that your absences were all legitimate.

How to Write a Work Absence Email or Letter

Your work excuse letter can be sent via paper or email. If you send an intra-office letter, you need to include the date and the contact information of your supervisor or HR manager at the beginning.

  • Your email subject line should contain your name and “Absence Excuse.”
  • Always begin your letter formally: “Dear Ms. Jones” or “Dear Phyllis.”
  • The body of your letter should be brief and specific, mentioning the reason for your absence, the date, duration, and if you are including any explanatory documentation such as doctor or ER paperwork. 
  • Use a polite and professional close, such as “Sincerely” or “Regards.”

Remember that any business correspondence should look professional. Even in a casual office, use the appropriate format for your letter, and proofread it before sending.

Careless errors reflect negatively on your professional reputation. You don’t want a poorly written absence excuse to become part of your employment file.

Sample Work Absence Letters

Here are sample absence excuse letters to review when you need to provide a written excuse for missing work. It’s fine to keep the letter short and simple—just be sure to state the exact date of the absence and the primary reason behind it.

Sample Work Absence Letter #1

Date

Firstname Lastname
Title
Organization
Address City, State Zip Code

Dear Mr. Lastname:

Please accept this letter as written notification that I was unable to attend work on August 1, 2019, due to family illness.

Please let me know if I can provide any further information or documentation from our physician’s office.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

Sample Absence Excuse Letter #2

Date

Firstname Lastname
Title
Organization
Address City, State Zip Code

Dear Ms. Lastname,

I am writing to document my absence on July 15, 2019. I needed to take my son to have his leg set after an injury in his baseball game the previous night.

Please see attached documentation from the pediatric orthopedist. If you need any additional information, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

Sample Absence Email Message #1

Subject: Firstname Lastname - Absence Excuse

Dear Manager,

Please accept this letter as documentation of my absence on August 9, 2019. I was traveling to and attending my grandmother’s funeral.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your understanding.

Regards,

Firstname Lastname
email@email.com
555-555-5555

Sample Absence Excuse Email Message #2

Subject: Roger Bledsoe - Absence Excuse

Dear Mr. Garner,

Please accept this letter as written documentation of my absence on August 30, 2019. As you know, I am in the process of divorce, and I had meetings with my lawyer and financial planner.

I appreciate your support and understanding. If I can provide additional details or documentation, please let me know.

Regards,

Roger Bledsoe

rogerb@email.com
555-555-5555

Sample Absence Email Message #3

Subject: Janet Nathan - Absence Excuse

Dear Ms. Blevens,

Please accept this email as written documentation of my absence yesterday on November 14, 2018. A tree fell on our house during the windstorm the previous evening, and I had to meet with our insurance agent, an arborist, and a roofer.

I appreciate your support and understanding. If I can provide additional details or documentation such as photographs of the damage, please let me know.

Regards,

Janet Nathan
janet@email.com
555-555-5555

Key Takeaways

If You’re Absent From Work, Plan to Write an Absence Excuse Letter: Some companies have policies that require these letters, but you should send one in any case.

Some Excuses Are Better Than Others: Familiarize yourself with company policy so that you can be sure your excuse is covered.

Be Prompt and Professional: Write a formal business letter or email and take care to proofread before sending.

Use a Sample Excuse Letter or Email: Customize your note so that it reflects your circumstances.