How to Write An Excuse Letter for Missing Work (with Examples)

An absence excuse letter is a formal letter or email employees send to notify their superiors of missing work. It refers to exceptional events such as emergencies, family matters, illness, or important personal matters that can’t be postponed. In most cases, employees miss work only for a concise period, a day, or part of the day.

Employees should send the excuse letter as soon as possible, ideally before missing work, so that they can ask for permission. However, it’s often the case that employees cannot attend work for urgent reasons and send an excuse letter only after being absent.

Each company has its internal regulations concerning personal time-off and leave policy. Many of them offer guidelines and advise employees on what to do in case of missing work. It’s best to provide a format for an absence excuse letter and guide employees to provide all information you need in a well-organized manner. It’s even better to use a cloud-based HR software solution that allows employees to request time off from anywhere and using any device.

Contents:

  • What to include in a work absence letter?
  • Tips for writing a professional excuse email
  • Format for absence excuse letter
  • Sample 1: Excuse letter for work absence due to family matters
  • Sample 2: Excuse email for work absence due to sickness
  • Sample 3: Letter of permission for missing work due to an important matter
  • Sample 4: Formal absent excuse letter due to an emergency


What to include in a work absence letter?

A work absence letter or email should include clear information such as the date or time of absence and the reasons for missing work. It also should outline if the employee is asking for permission to take personal time off or missed work without notification.

However, it’s a formal excuse letter, so it should have a polite and professional tone and a personal touch. Advise employees on how much detail is needed and whether supporting documents are required. Make sure your work absence letter includes the following:

  • A polite and professional opening that includes the title and name of the supervisor
  • A statement clarifying whether it’s an excuse letter for work absence or a letter of permission for missing work in the future
  • The reason for writing the letter
  • Details and supporting documents required by the company according to leave policy
  • The date or time of absence
  • A statement clarifying whether the employee completed their tasks as planned
  • A polite closing that includes acknowledgment and thanks.


Tips for how to write an excuse email for being absent at work

A professional excuse email or letter should be polite, well-written, and concise. The absence note has to be honest and straightforward, making clear the unexpected reasons behind the employee’s absence. At the same time, a professional excuse email isn’t an essay and should be short and easy to read. Avoid intimate details, getting too personal, or using flowery language. Here are a few tips to get you started and help you provide your employees with the best format for absence letters.

  1. Check the company’s policy regarding personal time off - Make sure you include in the letter everything that’s required (e.g., supporting documents, accepted reasons). Also, each company agrees with a maximum number of absences for personal matters.
  2. Write like a pro - Use a professional tone both through writing and formatting.
  3. Be diplomatic - Use appropriate opening and closing that includes the supervisor’s title and surname.
  4. Have a backup person - If it’s a letter of permission, make sure the employees mention who will cover for them during the absence or how you can get in touch with them (e.g., emergency phone or email).
  5. Make it policy prof - If it’s an excuse letter for an unexpected absence, make sure the employees mention a reason accepted by your company’s policy (e.g., you can provide employees with a list of acceptable reasons)
  6. Don’t be vague but don’t get too personal either – Employees have the right to privacy. While some companies may ask for a medical certificate to justify missing work due to illness, the excuse letter shouldn’t get into personal details concerning the employee’s condition. They can outline the participation in a tragic family event (e.g., the funeral of a close relative) or an unexpected professional event (e.g., receiving an award), but they shouldn’t reveal intimate details.
  7. Keep it short – A few sincere phrases are enough. Check all important points and include relevant information but don’t make the supervisor waste too much time reading an excuse letter. Short statemenets like "kindly excuse my absence", or "please excuse my absence" are good way to go directly to the subject of the letter.
  8. Follow the internal procedures – The employee manual should clarify the procedures to follow in case of unexpected absences. For example, some companies grant excused absences only for pre-planned events. Others require a short notification in case of being late or unable to come to work (e.g., calling the supervisor or an HR team member). Make sure the excuse letter follows the timeline and procedure agreed in your company.

Format for absence excuse letter

When you write an excuse letter for being absent in work you need to follow a particular structure to deal with difficult situations professionally. Unexpected events are rarely happy ones. Therefore, employees will need all the support they can get.

Subject: Excuse letter for being absent in work

Dear Mr./Ms/Dr. [Supervisor Last Name],

I am writing this letter to [purpose of writing the letter: asking for personal time off; excusing for missing work] on [period/date/date and time] due to [the reason: sickness, family matters, emergency, personal time off]. 

Letter of permission: During my absence, [team member name] will cover my tasks. I’ll be available for emergency at [email/phone]. Would you please let me know if there is any other task, which requires my urgent attention?

Excuse letter: Please accept this formal notification and my assurance that I will fully complete my tasks by [date] as planned. I remain at your disposal for any further information.

Thank you for understanding.

Best regards,

[Employee Signature]


Sample professional excuse emails

Find below several examples of excuse letters for work that you can use freely. You can just paste them into an email, and with little personalization, you have something that can get you out of trouble. The examples provided cover challenges such as being absent due to family matters, sickness, important duties, emergencies, etc.

Sample 1: Excuse letter for work absence due to family matters

Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor Last Name],

Due to urgent family matters, I was unable to attend work on [date/date + time for partial absence]. My 2-year old daughter had a high fever and needed immediate medical care. Please accept this formal notification and my assurance that I will fully complete my tasks by [date] as planned.

Kindly excuse my absence. I remain at your disposal for any further information. Thank you for understanding.

Regards,

[Your Signature]

If needed you can change the title of the above mentioned example as: Absence from work due to child sickness message, if this represents better your situation.


Sample 2: Excuse email for work absence due to sickness

Subject: Missing work due to sickness

Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor Last Name],

I was unable to attend work on [date/date + time for partial absence] due to illness. [I could not come to work/I was forced to leave work early] because I needed urgent medical care. Please accept this formal notification and ensure that I will fully complete my tasks by [date] as planned.

I remain at your disposal for any further information. Thank you for understanding.

Sincerely,

[Your Signature]

Tip: if the situation is a bit more complex than a simple flu, then it would be more appropriate to change the subject to: Email of absence from work due to illness.


Sample 3: Letter of permission for missing work due to an important matter

Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor Last Name],

Due to an important matter, I will be unable to attend work on [date], and I'd like to take a personal day off. Would you please let me know if that's convenient and if you need further information?

Thank you so much for being so understanding.

Best regards,

[Your Signature]


Sample 4: Formal absent excuse letter due to an emergency

Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor Last Name],

Please accept this letter as formal notification that I was unable to attend work on [date] due to an emergency. I was available via email and phone the entire time and have already completed the tasks planned for this period. Would you please let me know if I can provide further information?

I appreciate your understanding.

Best regards,

[Your Signature]


Sample 5: Explanation letter for being absent due to family problem

Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor Last Name],

I'm writing this letter to inform you that on [date/s] I was absent from work due to unexpected family problems. [Give more details: broken pipe / car troubles/ babysitter issue / etc]

This is why I would kindly request you to accept my apologies for being absent without notice.

Thank you for understanding,

[Your name/department]


Sample 6: Formal Excuse Duty Letter (Before Missing Work)

Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor Last Name]:

I'm writing you because I will not be able to attend work from [date] to [date]. I will be [attending a personal conference / having a wedding anniversary / doing some medical examinations / etc] that I shared with you last week. 

I have arranged with [colleague name] to back me up during the working hours, and I will call to check with her to see if there is anything urgent that I need to follow up. 

Thank you for accepting my request. If you need additional details, please let me know.

Sincerely,

[Your name]


Tip: If you want to tell your boss you will be absent in the future, then we have a set of leave applications for office that you can use.

Simplify absence management

If you're looking for a digital solution to handle all types of leaves of absence, LeaveBoard is the answer. The web-based absence management software is easy to use, has the right mix of functionalities for small and medium businesses, and helps you know who is off at any time.

Absence management software

Automate your Human Resources management with the easy to use absence management solution.

Easy set-up ● No contracts required ● No credit cards