Days Off: 5 Valid Reasons for Missing Work

If your job is particularly demanding, if you’re in a busy season, or you simply fear your boss, you might worry about taking time off from work. Sometimes people worry if they take too much time off their boss might find someone else to do their job. Others worry they will fall too far behind if they even take one day off.

Employers have realized that employees often take sick days when they really just need to go to an appointment. Many companies are getting rid of sick days altogether and giving employees a pool of days off each year to cover everything. Of course you can take too many days off; people who call in sick regularly or who take off on a vacation during a very busy period at their company do put their job at risk. However, there are valid points to call in or plan time off. Here are five reasons to take off work.

1. Sickness

sick man blowing his nose in bed

Don’t put others at risk if you’re risk. | iStock.com

Not everyone would agree that sickness is a valid reason to miss work. Some people would argue that if you have an important meeting, or you have a deadline, that you need to suck it up and make it to the office. However, if you really have a deadline, you may be able to work from home. Going to work when you are truly sick (and especially if you have something contagious) puts other people at risk, and can damage your health. As angry as your boss might be if you have to miss an important meeting, think about how much worse it would be to attend that meeting and make your boss or important clients sick.

According to WebMD, you need to consider how contagious you are, whether resting at home will help you overcome the illness, determine if any medications you are taking might impair you if you leave the house, and whether you can actually perform your job duties successfully.

2. Family emergency

Family Guy

True emergencies happen. | Fox

As important as work is, usually your family should come first. If you have a sick relative, a child at home who needs you, or a spouse who can’t be alone, then you need to take off from work unless you can find someone else who can help your family member as well as you can. Employers expect emergencies to come up, and they expect that employees may have to tend to sick ones or attend funerals. Unfortunately, sickness and emergencies are difficult to prepare for, and if you face a big emergency you may have to miss several days of work. Your best bet is to work from home when possible, go into work whenever you can (even if it’s only for a few hours), and keep your boss updated with your estimated amount of time off.

3. Family milestone

wedding cake

There are events you won’t want to miss. | iStock.com

If you are debating about whether to take work off for an important family (or friend) milestone, then a good question to ask yourself is whether you will regret missing the event. Obviously, you should take off work for your child’s wedding if you have a good relationship with that child. You also need to plan for time off if you are pregnant or your spouse is pregnant.

Determining whether you should take time off for a family member’s graduation or wedding in a different state, or a similar family event, might be more difficult. You need to consider what you will miss at work, and how much time you will need to take off, but you also want to consider if you will be disappointed to miss out on the event. If you feel that it is important for you to be there, then you can at least talk to your boss about taking the time off. Hopefully, your boss will appreciate the fact that you are telling them in advance.

4. A mental health day

sick days, file tab with the word employees plus a note with the text sick leaves

Take care of yourself. | iStock.com/Olivier Le Moal

If you are completely burnt out and you can’t do your job well anymore, then now is the time to take a mental health day. If your schedule (and your sanity) allow it, try to plan this day ahead of time so you can finish important projects beforehand. However, if you wake up one day and you just know that you can’t function at work, and you will benefit from staying home, then do it. It isn’t a good idea to take these days off too often, but if you are a hard worker and you know that your work will improve after a day off, then you have a valid reason to stay home.

According to Project: Time Off, a 2014 survey found that 37% of respondents said it wasn’t easy to take their time off, and 40% of workers said they didn’t use their vacation days because they feared the amount of work that they would return to, or they believed that no one else could do their job (35%). However, if you only take one day off once in a while, this shouldn’t be a problem. Also, a vacation might be well earned over time, and might leave you refreshed and ready to work harder.

5. An interview

Job interview written

Don’t pass up opportunities. | iStock.com

If you hate your job or you are just ready to try something new, then an interview might be a necessary reason to call in sick. Especially if you plan ahead of time to take off on a less busy day, then you should be set to go to your interview. Sometimes though, you won’t have a lot of choices about when you can schedule the interview, and you still need to take the opportunity if it is a job that you really want. If you score a better job, you won’t regret missing a little bit of work. You do want to be careful about what you say to your boss though; you are probably better off keeping your reasons to yourself unless your boss specifically knows you are looking for a different job.

It can be difficult to take time off from work. The fear that you will get in trouble, that no one else can do your job (or that someone else will), and the possibility of returning to a ton of work can all be strong deterrents. However, sometimes you just have to take that risk.

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