How hard is it to "call in sick"?

Lets say you wake up sick and need the day off.

  1. Do you call in and talk to an actual person or a machine?

  2. Is it a difficult process?

  3. How many days can you be sick before you need a doctors excuse?
    Just asking because for us its a long process involving a semi-voice activated system asking tons of questions that may or may not work properly and you’d better be in a quiet location with a good phone. Even when it works correctly it takes 3-4 minutes. Anything 3 days or more and we need a doctors excuse.

A person, whichever of my co-workers happens to be in. They in turn notify our supervisor who then deals with whatever needs to be dealt with.


Me: I’m going to be out sick/family sick for a day/until further notice.

Co-worker: Okay. Take care.

Technically ten. If you are labeled as a frequent abuser it used to be they could set up a program where you had to get excuses more often. But that almost never happens anymore.

I would send my boss an email and that’s that.

I’ve (knock on wood) never been that sick, but I would assume after three days.

1. Do you call in and talk to an actual person or a machine?
I work graveyard, and have to call my supervisor - which generally means I wake her up in the middle of the night. She is never pleased.

2. Is it a difficult process?
It depends. If I give her advanced notice, she will generally try and find someone before my shift. However, if it is last minute I am expected to call every other graveyard staff down the list and find someone to cover. If I can’t find someone, I have to come in. They have face masks if you’re ill and have to work.
That being said, I’ve always been able to find someone. They’re just not happy about it.

3. How many days can you be sick before you need a doctors excuse?
Technically you’re not supposed to have more than 2 sick days in a 6 month period. I think every staff member exceeds that, however - and no one has gotten into trouble. They try to be accommodating. I always get a doctor’s note if I need a few days off due to an illness. Just to be safe.

I’m a college lecturer. In sixteen years, it’s never happened to me. But if it did, I would call my department secretary, who would have a minion go to my classroom and write on the board “no lecture today.” And I would concurrently send an email to my class list telling them that lecture is canceled for the day. And there would be much rejoicing.

If it had to continue for more than two lectures in a row, I suppose I’d have to contact my department head or HR, but that has never come up in my experience.

I send an email to my boss and his secretary letting them know that I’m sick and won’t be in. That’s basically it. When I come back, I fill out a sick leave slip for however long I was out and my boss signs it and forwards it to payroll. I think if it’s more than a week, a doctor’s note is required as well, but I’m not sure. I’ve never been questioned or even spoken to about a sick day beyond “Hope you’re feeling better.”

I send email to my boss and various coworkers. I think theoretically you need a doctor’s note after 3 days but no one really bothers. And unless I’m really sick I check my email anyway, and will do stuff that is pressing.

At my company, if you call in sick 6 times in 6 months, you’re gone. Time off is time off, whether it be for fun, family emergency or watching Grumpy Cat on YouTube.

The same is true for both planned and unplanned days off. Once a year I “call in” via email on my phone, go back to bed and work the next day knowing that a corporate policy is working in my favor for once.

1. Do you call in and talk to an actual person or a machine?
Call in to an automated answering system

2. Is it a difficult process?
No. Takes less than a minute. Call in, enter employee ID and leave a message that no one ever listens to.

3. How many days can you be sick before you need a doctors excuse?
Three days before you need a doctor’s note. But it is rarely enforced, unless they are looking for a reason to fire you.

Not hard.

I speak to a person-- actually, I often make two phone calls, one to tell my Boss, and one to tell a generic member of management.

There isn’t a hard and fast number of days before you need a doctor’s note-- sometimes, if the whole building has had a lot of call-ins, they nag everyone about a doctor’s note, certainly if you call-in too often, they’ll nag you specifically about a doctor’s note.

Last winter, we had a lot of weather related call-ins. Official policy is that we never close, but you are not expected to put yourself at risk to get to work. During last winter’s crappy weather, there were times when you could tell that various departments were short-handed and skipping usually important chores.

I only have to log into an HR application and click on a few fields. But I also send an email to my boss. If I can’t get online for some reason there are people I can call. And no doctor’s note is ever needed until you go a couple weeks over your accrued time off, and then you’ll just need it for a disability claim. This is often an awesome company to work for.

I could get away with a text to the Manager, probably for several days before he’d want more than my word for it.

It’s actually only very recent for me that I could call in sick without tremendous guilt though, even when I’m really really sick. The last time I called in, I was vomiting so much, I felt no guilt whatsoever. That was a new and much appreciated feeling for me.

Depends if I have any patients on my schedule who can’t wait. Most of the time, I can move them around as I like, and as long as I can call them and reschedule for later in the week, I don’t even bother anyone in the office.

Once in a while someone will have a wound dressing or IV treatment or they’re so unstable that it’s not safe to delay their visit, so for that I call my supervisor and tell her I’m sick and who needs to be seen and she’ll find coverage. I’ll still call everyone else I can reschedule. I find hearing my illness in my voice makes them all pretty understanding of my need to reschedule, instead of hearing it from an office worker they don’t know.

We’re a pretty casual office as long as the work gets done by the end of the week. I’ve no idea if there’s a written policy about maximum sick days our doctor’s notes. I’m sure there is, and I read it before I signed on and then promptly forgot it.

I just need to call in on a dedicated phone line and leave a message on the machine. Whole thing takes about 30 seconds. They want us to call in an hour before the start of our shift to give them enough time to shift drones around.

Generally speaking, I don’t bother to call in when I’m sick. In their eyes, there is no such thing as an excused sick day. Doctor’s notes are meaningless and If it’s not covered under FMLA then I’m counted as just plain absent. Any notice I could provide is irrelevant. As far as my pay check and any potential corrective discipline actions might be concerned, there is exactly zero difference between me calling in sick 61 minutes before my shift, not calling in at all and calling in to tell the boss “Seeya Monday, I’m going fishing!”

Small business owner. I would send a text to three person list and let them handle things. That said, the only time I recall doing that was when I was hospitalized for a coronary artery stent procedure, and I was back in 48 hours.

If I’m “just sick” I go in to work. It makes it easier to justify “calling in sick” on a beautiful day when I don’t wanna go to work.

I’m a bit surprised at some of the replies that talk about an automated system to call into as the primary form of communication… I mean maybe as a supplementary information gathering thing after the fact. But whose workplace is so impersonal that you don’t even email, text or speak to your boss or co-worker ??? How long until it would be noticed if you were lying dead in your bed at home?

Apparently around here one can just text. Prior to this I’ve never worked anywhere that one didn’t have to speak with the manager and so out of habit I call. I actually haven’t been out unexpectedly more than once since I started but even knowing I can just text, in future I will still call. For some reason it just feels more professional or courteous or something (?)

The company website has a place for us to fill out any schedule changes and that includes sick leave. I usually send an email too.
I work from home though so I have to be PDS to take time off, and we don’t get paid sick leave.

I’ve never been given a hard time about it. I think if I called in sick a lot I’d get fired. Or maybe they wouldn’t renew my contract for the next year. The only times I’ve called in though I’ve been in the hospital or recovering from surgery and too loopy to talk to clients. They’ve never asked for a doctor’s note.

I email my supervisor and her boss, and put an “out of office” reply on my email. Most things that I do can wait until another day and the backlog just grows, but there are a few things like stats that must be reported every day, so I also email (and often text) the person who covers for me for those. I also email the people in the office I work out of as a courtesy so they don’t have to wonder if I’m coming in or not. I don’t check my email but will reply to a text from someone covering for me if they need help.

I think officially a “doctor’s note” required after 5 days, but no one is ever out that long so I don’t even know how all that works…

Same here. Sometimes I’ll just text my boss and two teammates. This thread makes me grateful for the autonomy I have.