Reporting absence at the last minute is usually not recommended. Unfortunately, due to emergencies, some employees do not have the option to make a phone call, send a formal email, or talk it out with their manager in person several days ahead.
In that case, texting is the only choice left. Check out my examples of calling out sick texts that will easily get approval from your manager.
In this article:
How to Text Your Boss Can’t Come In – 12 Examples
Some common, acceptable reasons for last-minute reports via texting are sickness, transportation issues, home/family emergencies, unexpected bereavement leaves, or mental health problems.
Adjust your tone depending on your relationship with your current employer. If you feel uncomfortable disclosing your problem, just say you are sick instead.
1. If You Are Are Sick:
- Consider this template to text your boss you’re sick if you are quite close with him (Informal):
|Hi [Boss’s Name], I’m so sorry to do this at the last minute, but I won’t be able to come to work today. I woke up this morning feeling quite unwell, and I don’t want to get anyone else sick.I’ve already contacted [Colleague’s Name] to see if he/she can cover my shift. I’ll let you know if I hear back from him/her. In the meantime, please let me know if there is anything urgent. Thanks for understanding.
- Suppose the relationship between the two of you is more distant. Then, this example of a not feeling well message to your boss will work better (Formal):
|Hi [Boss’s Name]. I might not be able to come to work today due to a sudden onset of food poisoning. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. I have successfully contacted my colleague [Colleague’s Name] to cover my shift and ensure my tasks are completed. I will keep you updated on my status and expect to return to work on [Expected return date]. Thank you for your understanding.
In both call-in-sick message examples, you should find a replacement before texting your boss. Otherwise, they might not be very supportive, especially if you are just an hourly employee.
2. If You Have An Urgent Family Emergency:
|Hi [Boss’s Name]. I won’t be able to come to work today due to a family emergency. My [family member] has had an unexpected medical emergency, and I need to be there for him/her.I’m so sorry for the sudden notice. I’ll let you know as soon as possible when I expect to be back in the office. In the meantime, please let me know if anything is urgent. Thanks for understanding.
|Hi [Boss’s Name]. I will be unable to come to work today due to a family emergency. My [family member] has been involved in an accident and requires immediate attention. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. I will keep you updated on my status and expect to return to work on [Expected return date] unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Thank you for your understanding and support during this difficult time.
3. If You Have To Be Absent Until Next Week
- Long-term Sickness:
|Good morning [Boss’s Name]. I have been experiencing [Symptoms] for some time now, and my doctor has advised me to take a leave of absence to focus on my recovery. I apologize for any inconvenience. In the meantime, I have contacted [Colleague’s Name] to discuss my responsibilities and ensure a smooth handover. I will keep you updated on my progress and expect to return to work as soon as my health allows. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to facilitate my absence and transition.
- Bereavement Leave:
|Dear [Boss’s Name]. I will be unable to come to work until next week due to the recent passing of a close family member; I need to take some time to grieve and attend the funeral arrangements. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.I have contacted [Colleague’s Name] to discuss my responsibilities. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to facilitate my absence. I appreciate your understanding and support during this difficult time.
Since your absence is quite long, informal texts are not recommended – regardless of your relationship with your boss. The company might also ask for additional details or evidence, such as your travel time, doctor’s note, etc., so prepare the necessary proof before sending your text.
On another note, most companies and organizations have a 3-day (100% paid) bereavement leave policy. Extra days (starting from day 4) are either unpaid or counted against your remaining sick leave credits.
4. Mental Health Problems
|Hi [Boss’s Name]. I am feeling a bit off today, and I think it’s best for me to take a breather and focus on my mental well-being. I have already wrapped up all the urgent tasks and filled in [Colleague’s Name] on what’s ongoing. I am planning to be back on track tomorrow. Thanks for understanding and supporting me.
|Hi [Boss’s Name]. I am not feeling up to par today. I believe I need to take a step back and focus on my mental health to ensure I can return to work with renewed energy. I have completed all urgent tasks and briefed my colleague, [Colleague’s Name], on my ongoing projects. I expect to return to work tomorrow. Thank you for your understanding and support.
On another note, some bosses might not consider mental health problems a good excuse to call off work via a last-minute text. When working at UNI Global, many employees shared with me that they felt uncomfortable bringing up these matters with someone they were not close to. In that case, you can choose to say you are sick instead.
5. Home Emergency
|Morning [Boss’s Name]! Got a bit of a situation here – I woke up to a gas leak at home this morning. I already contacted the gas company, and we are working on fixing it immediately, so I won’t be able to make it to work today.I’ll keep you posted on any changes and try to handle urgent tasks from here if I can swing it. I’m really sorry for dropping this on short notice. Thanks a lot for understanding.
|Good morning [Boss’s Name]. I am facing an unexpected problem – a gas leak was detected at my place this morning. The situation requires immediate attention from the gas company, and I am currently working with them to resolve it. Due to this emergency, I cannot make it to work today. I will keep you updated on any new developments and ensure that urgent tasks are handled remotely if possible. I sincerely apologize for the short notice and any inconvenience caused. Thank you for your understanding.
6. Transportation Issues
|Hi [Boss’s Name]. I’m so sorry to do this at the last minute, but I won’t be able to come to work today because my car broke down this morning. I’m waiting for the tow truck to pick it up, but they said it could be a few hours before they arrive.I’m so sorry for any inconvenience. I’ll let you know as soon as my car is fixed. In the meantime, please let me know if anything is urgent. Thanks for understanding.
|Hi [Boss’s Name]. I am unable to report to work today due to an unforeseen car breakdown this morning. I am currently waiting for the tow truck; however, they have informed me it may take several hours before they can assist.I apologize sincerely for any inconvenience. I will keep you posted once I have a clearer timeline for my arrival. Please do not hesitate to inform me if any pressing matters require immediate attention. Thank you for your understanding and consideration.
Extra Tips to Tell Your Boss You’re Sick Via Text
1. Keep Your Text Short
Your boss does not need a full account of your life story or a play-by-play of your illness. Plus, oversharing might make things rather awkward.
So, remember to keep everything short and sweet; just give him a simple heads-up that you are unwell and will not be at work. Skip the unnecessary details to focus on what is the most important: how the illness might affect your workday.
2. Keep Your Text Clear
Always remember to be straightforward with your sick text message to avoid confusion about your absence and help your boss understand the situation immediately. Do not beat around the bush or be vague on purpose.
3. Be Honest
It’s important to inform your manager of your sickness, but there is no need to stretch the truth. Exaggerating your symptoms or making up stories might raise suspicion when you return to the office.
4. Mention Your Work Plan
If possible, brief your manager on how you will manage your workload during the absence; highlight any urgent issue requiring immediate attention or suggest how to handle pending tasks when you return. Your boss will appreciate your dedication and commitment to the job despite challenges.
Can You Call In Sick 3 Days in A Row?
As far as I know, some companies allow this but note that certain limits might apply. For instance, employees can only take up three sick days in a row without a doctor’s note; starting from day four, they must provide proof to excuse their absence.
Unsure of your company policy? Then, check your employee handbook or contact your human resources department.
Texting your call-out-of-work excuses at the last minute might sound unprofessional, but most managers will still let it slide if they can see your effort in making up for your absence. Avoid using an informal, casual tone if you two are not close, and remember to sidestep all the unnecessary details by keeping your text simple, short, and clear-cut.
See more: How Long Will It Take To Get To Work?