Letter of Absence

A letter of absence is a letter that offers written validation for a previous absence, usually from the workplace, school or college. Its goal is to provide a verifiable reason as to why you or your child were not able to attend. For example, if you had to stay home from work to take care of your sick child, you would be required to write your employer a letter of absence explaining the situation and justifying your decision.

A parent would also write a teacher a short note if their child had been off school sick, and a college student would have to write something more formal to their professor for missing a lecture.


Starting to Write


Tell the truth; somebody will usually find out if you’re lying about you or your child’s absence.


Workplace and college absence letters should be formal, whereas school absence notes can be a quick draft with a parent’s signature.


State the date or period of absence and an accurate explanation of why.


Make it clear that having time off was the only option that could be taken.


Apologize and offer to make up the missed work hours or schooling at a future date.

Sample Letters

Letter of Absence from Work Sample

Ford Motors

3044 Daylene Drive
Detroit, MI 48226

Dear Ford Motors,

I was unable to attend work on April 3rd, 2008 as my child came down with a severe flu and I was the only person around to take care of him. I tried contacting my babysitter, but she was unable to come over and watch my child. Therefore, I had no choice but to stay home and take care of my child.

I deeply apologize for the inconvenience I caused and would be willing to make it up by working an extra shift on the weekend.


Grace Hill

Letter of Absence School Sample

Dear Mrs Cartwright

My son Jamie was unable to attend school on April 6th, because he came down with a vomiting bug and spent the previous night quite ill. I decided the best course of action was to keep him off school in case he became sick in the day or passed on the bug to any classmates. He’ll be happy to catch up with any work missed.

Signed, Vivian Johnson

Letter of Absence to College Professor Sample

Dear Dr. Madsen,

I apologize for missing your lecture last Thursday, but unfortunately I had to deal with an unforeseen family emergency. I am an eager psych student so I’m hoping you may have a spare note sheet so I can catch up? If this is not possible I will happily seek notes from a classmate.


Jack Smith
Psychology 101, Class H