Sample Absence Excuse Letters for Work

Young man sitting on sofa using laptop on coffee table, elevated view
••• Robert Warren / Getty Images

There are many excuses for missing work. Some are legitimate, and others are not quite. Some companies require all absences to be documented in writing, in which case you will need to write an absence excuse letter anytime you miss work.
Whether it is company policy to require an absence excuse letter or not, it’s always a good idea to document missed work days, 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.

In others, you'll need to provide documentation for your absence.

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 (Text Version)

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, 20XX 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 (Text Version)

Date

Firstname Lastname
Title
Organization
Address City,
State Zip Code

Dear Ms. Lastname,

I am writing to document my absence on July 15, 20XX. 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 (Version #1

Subject: Firstname Lastname - Absence Excuse

Dear Manager,

Please accept this letter as documentation of my absence on August 9, 20XX. 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 #4 Email Message (Text Version)

Subject: Roger Bledsoe - Absence Excuse

Dear Mr. Garner,

Please accept this letter as written documentation of my absence on October 30, 20XX. 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 Excuse #5 Email Message (Text Version)

Subject: Janet Nathan - Absence Excuse

Dear Ms. Blevens,

Please accept this email as written documentation of my absence yesterday on November 14, 20XX. 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