How To Write an Excuse Letter or Email for a Meeting (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 1, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021

Updated April 1, 2021

Published February 8, 2021

Reasons for taking time off from work might include personal reasons, vacation or unexpected occurrences like illness or jury duty. You might be able to arrange coverage for personal time or vacation days in advance with other team members.

With unexpected or unplanned absences, an email to excuse yourself from meetings can be appropriate and sometimes required. In this article, we explore when to write a letter or email to excuse yourself from a meeting, how you can write an excuse email and show you several examples of these types of communications.

When to write a letter to excuse yourself from a meeting

Some companies might require you to document any absence from work with an email or letter. Here are some instances where it might be appropriate to write a note to excuse yourself from a meeting:

Sick or medical reasons

You might not be able to attend a meeting if you have become sick. Illness can come on suddenly, so it's appropriate to write an excuse email the morning of a missed meeting. However, if you have a planned surgery or your illness becomes prolonged, you might need to inform your supervisor or human resource professional proactively with an excuse letter.

Jury duty

If you receive a summons requesting your presence for jury duty, alert your team and direct supervisor when you receive the notice. Consider sending your excuse email closer to the actual juror service date. You might send an excuse letter to any meeting leaders, your direct supervisor or your human resource professional reminding them of your service a few days before any meetings. Your note to your direct leader could include your jury summons if needed.

School activities

Some states have permitted employees to use paid or unpaid leave time to go to children's school activities. If this is permitted in your region, consider asking your supervisor before committing a school activity. If you can attend activities, try writing an excuse email to all appropriate parties in advance.

Bereavement leave

If you have a death in the family, you might excuse yourself from any upcoming meetings. Depending on your company's leave policy, you might have personal days that you can use for any services. If you take time off, you can send a note to your direct leader and human resource professional detailing all the meetings or activities you might miss while you are not at work.

Time to vote

Some states require that employers offer employees time off to vote. If you plan on taking time off to vote, inquire with your manager if this is a possibility. If you write an excuse note, plan to do so in advance.

Related: Tips for Calling in Sick

How to write an excuse letter for a meeting

Here are several steps to take to write an excuse letter for a meeting:

1. Include meeting information

Include the date, your name and the title of the meeting you can't attend in your subject line. This can help your direct supervisor or human resource professional keep any emails and records needed organized. It might also help you if you want to save a copy of your letter for your records.

2. Address it appropriately

Ensure your email or letter is addressed to any relevant parties. This might be your direct supervisor or manager, but it also could include the meeting leader or a human resource professional. For example, if you are out sick and going to miss a team meeting, you might address your excuse letter to your direct supervisor. However, if you are going to miss a company conference for jury duty, you might address your note to include your human resources professional and your direct supervisor.

Related: 11 Meeting Etiquette Rules

3. Keep it professional

Consider keeping your excuse note concise and free of extra details. Your note can explain why you're missing the meeting briefly and thank the recipient for their support, and then you can close the message. For example, if you are sick, you might say, "I regret missing the meeting today, but I am sick" instead of "I am missing the meeting today because I woke up with a migraine and a very high fever."

You might also include any steps you have taken to cover any work you are missing while you're out of the office. For example, if you typically take notes at all the team meetings, consider mentioning that you have requested a teammate to record the meeting in your absence.

4. Offer further information

Some companies might request extra documentation if you miss meetings or work. This could include a jury summons, a doctor's note or school note. You can close your email by offering to provide further information upon request.

Related: The Do's and Don'ts of Taking a Sick Day

5. End with your signature

Conclude your email or letter with your signature and your work title if applicable. If you are addressing the excuse note to your human resource professional, they might need additional contact information, so include your phone number below your email signature.

Excuse from a meeting letter example

Here are some examples to use for inspiration in an excuse from meeting note:

Example 1

March 21, 2020

Reina Taylor
Marketing Coordinator, Simpsons Marketing Inc.
20 Homewoood St.
Orlando, Florida 32827

Brittany Fox
Human Resources, Simpsons Marketing Inc.
3205 Bloom St.
Suite C
Orlando, Florida 32827

Dear Brittany,
Please allow me to apologize for not being able to attend the marketing meeting being held this Friday, March 23. I have jury duty, but I have asked Charles to please send me the minutes of the meeting so I can catch up upon my return. I've attached a copy of my jury summons to this letter.

Thank you for your understanding,

Reina Taylor

Example 2

From: Steven Himes

January 5, 2019


Subject: Steven Himes- Absence from Meeting, 1/5

Dear Mr. Greene,
I do apologize that I will be unable to attend today's company-wide earnings conference. I have unfortunately become ill. I have seen a doctor this morning and confirmed a follow-up appointment for Monday if I am not feeling better. I have also spoken to Maria to ask her to send me notes and collect anything I need from the office.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Steven Himes

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