Excuse Letter for Work Absence: 3 Examples and Writing Guide

Updated February 3, 2023

If you're in a situation that requires you to be away from work, it's often necessary to inform the appropriate person about your absence, such as a manager or human resources representative. Documenting missed workdays can help you support your team and allow the company to cover your tasks until you return. Learning what to include in your letter can help you communicate absences professionally.

In this article, we explain how to draft a formal excuse letter for being absent from work and share the key elements of a professional letter, then offer three examples you can reference.

How to write an excuse letter for your absence

When addressing your supervisor, be concise in informing your boss of why you're missing work. Here are tips to use when writing a good absence excuse letter:

1. Ensure the reason is legitimate

There are several reasons that you may need to be absent from work unexpectedly, including:

  • Illness

  • Family emergency

  • Bereavement

  • Home emergency

  • Child care emergency

There may also be times when you have planned excused absences. Examples include:

  • Offering assistance to family members

  • Celebrating a religious holiday

  • Going to a doctor's appointment

  • Going on vacation

  • Taking a personal day

Related: Punctuality and Attendance at Work: Definition and Tips

2. Refer to your employee's guidelines

Every company has clear processes and excusable absences. Check the employee handbook to confirm the procedures before drafting your letter. The organization typically indicates when a letter is necessary, what it should contain and who should receive it.

Related: Excused Absence vs. Unexcused Absence (Definition and Examples)

3. Notify your team

Consult your teammates before writing the letter to ensure you can get coverage for your tasks while you're away. This ensures that your work won't stop and demonstrates responsibility and professional accountability. It's recommended that you plan who may handle your workload—and how—while you're out to ensure the team can still meet deadlines and the workflow is uninterrupted.

Related: How To Start Managing Team Workload Effectively (Plus Tips)

4. Be professional

Refrain from sharing every detail of your activities when off-duty. Keep the details concise since a manager may refer to your letter in the event of future absences. Include only relevant points that are relevant help you maintain a professional reputation at work.

Related: 21 Tips for Being More Professional at Work

5. Request to work remotely

If you can't physically come to work, consider requesting to work from home instead of taking time off. Doing so may allow you to save your allotted time off. Your supervisor and teammates may appreciate your flexibility and willingness to help in whatever way possible.

Related: How To Ask To Work From Home in 10 Steps

6. Be accessible

If possible, it may be helpful to you and your teammates to be accessible while you're absent. For example, you may be available to answer questions or review work in a certain timeframe. Providing your email address, phone number and general hours to respond can help the team handle urgent tasks and promote an uninterrupted workflow.

Related: Out-of-Office Email Messages: FAQS, Tips and Examples

7. Write your letter promptly

By submitting your absence letter as soon as possible, you give the company time to reorganize the schedule and make the necessary adjustments during and after your absence. Time to plan may help the workflow continue and account for your absence. As soon as you know you cannot go to work, or learn of an event that may cause your absence, try to inform your supervisor.

8. Be honest

Always be truthful when giving excuses for missing work. Talk to your manager if you need a vacation or a personal day. Share any point that you think is keeping you off-track without compromising on professionalism.

Related: How To Be Transparent in the Workplace

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Examples of excuse letters for being absent from work

Here are three examples of letters that you can reference:

Example 1

Here's an example of a leave of absence letter for a family matter:

Kenneth James
Procurement Associate
Procurement Corp.
165 Main St.
Houston, TX 77000

Nov. 21, 2022

Dear Kenneth,

I'm writing to inform you of a planned absence beginning this Thursday. As we discussed, my daughter has a minor operation on Thursday, November 26. Attached is the doctor's note for your review. I expect to be away from Nov. 26 to Nov. 30.

I've consulted with my team and my colleague, Diane Cate, has agreed to cover the weekly report, which is part of my duties. Also, Derrick Johnson has offered to update me regarding any urgent work that may need my response.

Please let me know if you have a pending issue requiring my attention when I am out. Thank you for your understanding.

Susan Thomas

Example 2

Here is an example of a leave of absence letter before missing work:

Darla Haverforth
Procurement Associate
Procurement Corp.
165 Main St.
Houston, TX 77000

Dec. 15, 2022

Dear Ms. Haverforth,

Please accept this letter as formal notification that I plan to be out of the office from Jan. 3 to 7, 2023. I'm attending the professional development seminar during that time.

I've arranged to check my email during work hours and I plan to call and check in with my team once a day.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my planned absence. Thank you for this opportunity to develop my professional skills and share what I learn with my teammates.

Susan Thomas

Example 3

Here's an example of an absence email due to an important appointment:

Subject: Absence Excuse

Dear Amitra Patel,

I'm writing this email to let you know that I plan to be absent on Monday, Jan. 27. I have an important matter to attend to and I would like to take a personal day off. Please let me know if this is convenient for you and the team or if you need further information.

I have worked ahead to complete my tasks for that day.

Thank you for your understanding.

Susan Thomas

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