List of Reasons For Taking Sick Leave (A comprehensive guide)

In this brief guide, we will look at a list of reasons for taking sick leave, as well as some other information about sick leaves.

List of Reasons for Taking Sick Leave

Here is a list of reasons for taking sick leave:

  • Rescheduled Medical Procedure
  • Emergency Dentist Appointment
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Other Medical appointment
  • Pregnancy-related issues
  • Flu
  • Psychotherapy session
  • Family issues like someone being sick
  • Delivery 
  • Contagious illnesses like Conjunctivitis
  • Pain
  • Extreme Stress
  • Elective surgery
  • Migraine

When someone wants to take a sick leave, they may almost always already know why they want to take one, but if you are not sure of why you could take a sick leave, you can look at a list of reasons for taking a sick leave to get a sense of what reasons are common when taking sick leave.

In order to deal with a situation that simply cannot be dealt with otherwise, one may claim a sick leave and spend some time feeling better and recuperate without the added stress of being at work and trying to power through.

Trying to work through illnesses is never a good idea and it goes against the very instinct of survival that is so deeply ingrained in us.

This is why this list of reasons for sick leave includes both physical and mental illnesses because both are equally important for the overall well-being of the individual and overworking yourself when you are sick can only make matters worse, never better.

Sick leave can just as easily be taken when it is someone in the family that is not well, and the employee needs to take care of things.

Also, bear in mind that when you apply for sick leave, it is an understood concept that you are probably applying for a short term issue, and even though they can be extended if the illness is more severe, the initial leave is usually not for too long a period of time.

Usually, when people take sick leaves they apply for the amount of time they think they require to get over whatever they are suffering from, and in case the employee needs more time to recuperate for any reason they may provide a doctors’ note that says as much and talk to their boss about possibly increasing their sick leave.

In most places, when sick leave is extended beyond 5-7 days, the employer may need medical proof or certificate that shows that the person is actually sick and not just claiming sick leave for other things.

When trying to get your sick leave extended it can also be good to talk to the employer on the phone before you send in an email or letter, and it can be nice to explain to them whatever is wrong with your health.

Here is a sample of what a phone call for informing the boss of one’s sickness might look like:

“Good morning, Mrs Smith. I am calling to inform you that I developed a flu last night and won’t be able to come to work today due to fever and an upset stomach. I expect to be back in the office on Wednesday. In the meantime, Joan Wilkes will present our team’s progress at the 1:30 meeting today, and Jason Williams will respond to urgent emails for the current project. Please let me know if there are any additional steps you would like me to take. Thank you.”

What is Sick Leave?

A sick leave refers to any kind of short term leave that is usually taken when you or someone in your family is not feeling well, and you need to take time off to either care for yourself or for them.

Sick leave may be claimed when you are suffering from any illness that simply cannot be dealt with while you are also taking care of work, and therefore you take time off to deal with it.

In most places, there is a pre-designated number of sick leaves that are usually mentioned in the contract at the beginning of the person’s job, and this is something you should always be aware of.

The reason you should always check in with your employer about your sick leaves is that the laws regarding these leaves are usually different from place to place and therefore it is beneficial to be aware of them before you go overboard without being adequately prepared for such an eventuality.

Also, you may still be able to take sick leaves without losing your job if you are suffering from something that simply cannot be ignored and creates a need for your to take time off, but in this case, you may not be paid for all the sick days you do take.

Aside from reasons for taking sick leave, one also needs to look at labour laws in various countries depending on where you are in the world, so that you may be able to be ahead of your situation.

Laws Regarding Sick Leave

The laws regarding sick leaves vary from place to place, and in the US, the Family and Leave Act defines the circumstances and necessities of sick leaves as such:

“The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical situations for either the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family; however, in many instances paid leave may be substituted for unpaid FMLA leave.

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).”

Details of the FMLA act can be found on the Department of Labor website.

List of Reasons for a Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is different from a sick leave because it can be taken for any reason, and this reason also does not need to be specified.

A leave of absence is usually shorter than sick leaves too and often it may not be more than a day.

Here is a brief list of reasons for taking a leave of absence:

  • Long-term disability
  • Needing to take care of the house
  • Childcare
  • Stress or other mental health issues
  • Jury duty
  • Extended vacation
  • Short-term disability
  • Improving work skills (class, workshop)
  • Military leave
  • Sabbatical
  • Medical leave
  • Maternity leave
  • Family-related problem
  • Personal Reasons 

Reason for Sick Leave Sample Letter 1

Here is a sample letter for sick leave with a reason and the appropriate format.

“Subject: Sick Leave – [Your Full Name]

Hi [Name],

I woke up this morning with a [insert reason here, such as severe fever] and have to be on my prescribed medication starting today. As a result, I have to take a few sick days off, so that I can rest and hope that I can recover soon.

I’ll make sure I finish all my assigned tasks by the end of this week/early next week. For any urgent matters, [name of a colleague] can cover for me. I am available via Slack & Email for any assistance.

I hope to be back at work in a couple of days and will keep you updated on my progress.

Thank you for understanding.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]”

Reason for Sick Leave Sample Letter 2

In this second sample letter for sick leave, the reason is clarified just enough to make sure the employer is aware without going into unnecessary details about the situation. Also, when you send a sick leave letter make sure to also talk to the employer so that they are aware of your situation.

“Subject: Joe Brown – Absence June 3, 2020

Dear Steve,

I am writing to document my absence due to illness on June 3, 2020. I was unable to report to work due to an acute attack of food poisoning. Please see the attached report of my treatment at Urgent Care.




List of Reasons to Never Use for Sick Leave

Here are some reasons for sick leave that people have reported because they are funny and could not possibly be true, but they provide a great deal of entertainment:

  • “He had to attend the funeral of his wife’s cousin’s pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.
  • He was bowling the game of his life and couldn’t make it to work.She was blocked in by police raiding her home.
  • Pressure cooker exploded, scared the employee’s sister, so she had to stay home.
  • He said he had better things to do.
  • They ate too much birthday cake.”


In this brief guide, we looked at a list of reasons for taking sick leave, as well as some other information about sick leaves. If you have any more questions about these reasons for taking sick leaves, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): List of Reasons for Taking Sick Leave

What is the best reason for sick leave?

The best reason for sick leave, according to a survey was found to be common cold or flu, and it was most often used for staying home.

This same survey also found that in the case of the best reason to stay home, that is, the flu, only about 42 per cent of bosses thought it was necessary to do call in sick with flu.

Can an employer ask why you are taking sick leave?

No, an employer can’t ask you why you are taking sick leave, and even though most employees like to inform their bosses of what is wrong with them when they take sick leave, there is no law that compels the employers to ask about this explicitly in most countries in the world.

At the same time, there are also no laws that ban the employers from asking their employees why they are taking sick leave, which means that if the employer really wants to ask why you are taking a sick leave, they can do so freely without the fear of litigation.

What is the best excuse to miss work?

Here are some of the best excuses to miss work:

  • Being Sick
  • Home emergency/car trouble. 
  • Family illness or emergency. 
  • Death of a loved one. 
  • Fatigue. 
  • Job Dissatisfaction
  • Job-related stress
  • Problems with time management

What illnesses can get you off work?

Here are some illnesses that can get you off work:

  • Cancer. 
  • HIV/Aids.
  • Back injuries or chronic back pain
  • Mental illness.
  • Heart disease 
  • Stroke.


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