Missing Work Excuse Email and Letter Examples

This illustration shows different types of excuses for missing work including "Sick Day Excuse," "Personal Day Off Excuse," and "Leave of Absence."

Mary McLain / The Balance

When you're required to formally notify your employer in writing when you have either missed work, won't be able to come to work, or would like to take a day off, it's important to write a professional email message or letter with the basic details of why you were or will be absent. Even if you're not required to provide a formal excuse, it's a good idea to send a short email to explain your absence.

When Employers Require Excuses

Companies may require employees to provide a written letter of excuse or send an email message when they miss time from work for doctor’s appointments or for other reasons. In addition, you may need to request a formal leave of absence in writing. If you're taking a personal day off, you may be required to request that in writing as well.

If you're sending an email to say you won't be in the office today, a brief message should be sufficient to provide your boss with appropriate notice. If you're requesting a leave of absence or other extended time off, however, you will need to provide more detailed information in your request. 

When to Send Your Message

Send your message as soon as you know that you will need time away from work.

The more advance notice you can provide, the easier it will be for the company to arrange to cover your workload and the more amenable they will be to granting your request. 

These sample letters and email messages with excuses for missing work can and should be edited to fit your own personal circumstances—you shouldn’t simply copy-and-paste them.

Also see below for tips on what—and what not—to include in your request for a leave of absence letter.

Email Excuse Message Examples for Missing Work

Sample Written Letters With Excuses for Missing Work

What to Include in an Excuse Letter

When you're providing an excuse for missing work, there's no need to provide too much information. Keep your message as simple as possible, but include basic information regarding why you weren't at work, and when you will return.

Sample Email Excuse

Subject: Absence From Work - Your Name

Dear Mr./Mrs. Lastname,

I’m writing to inform you that I was absent from work on June 11, 2021, due to illness. I was unable to report to work that day because I had to go to the urgent care clinic. I was treated and told to go home and rest for the remainder of the day.

Please let me know if you need more information, and thank you for understanding.


Your Name

What to Include in a Personal Day Off Letter

When you're requesting a personal day off from work, you don't need to provide a reason. Simply request the time off, giving as much notice as possible.

Whenever possible, try to schedule days off when you know the office will be covered and there aren't urgent deadlines to meet.

Personal Day Email Request

Subject: Personal Day - Your Name

Dear Mr./Mrs. Lastname,

I'd like to take a personal day off from work on Monday, July 22.

Please let me know if that's convenient, and I appreciate your consideration. Thank you!


Your Name

Sample Letters Requesting a Leave of Absence from Work

What to Include in a Request for a Leave of Absence Letter

If you find that you need a leave of absence, your employer will expect you to explain why this is so necessary for you. Your absence will both inconvenience them and perhaps cost them time or money if they need to find a temporary replacement for you. Your letter should thus include an adequate reason for your request, supported by the following logistical details: 

  • The date(s) you won't be available to work.
  • The date you will return to work, if you know it.
  • An offer to help while you're out of the office, if that's feasible.
  • An offer to complete all outstanding projects/client work before your leave begins, if time allows.
  • An offer to provide documentation if you are requesting a medical or military leave of absence.
  • The email and/or phone number where your employer can contact you if they have a question.
  • Any other additional information required by your employer, if they have a formal policy to request sick time or leave from your job.

What Not to Include in an Excuse or Leave Request Letter

Think carefully about how much personal information you want to share with your employer regarding your excuse or request for a leave of absence.

You don’t want your employer to think that you are prevaricating or that your absence may be paving the way for a permanent departure.

The Bottom Line

  • Don't include too much information. You don't need to provide all of the details of a medical problem or a personal crisis. Keep your letter short and simple.
  • Don't make something up or include any information that can't be verified. Stick to the facts because your employer may ask for a note from your doctor to substantiate your request.
  • Do keep it simple. Provide the information your employer requires, but keep your email or letter short and simple.