Sample Letter of Absence

A letter of absence allows you to communicate your reasons for missing a few days of work, college, or school. This type of letter is generally informal in style and is appropriate for explaining short-term absences. Of course, a letter of absence should be based on factual circumstances.

Please note that this style of letter should not be used as a means of shirking responsibilities or for attempting to excuse a scattered attendance record. By conveying your verifiable explanation for your or your child’s absence in a succinct way with a structured format, however, the employer or instructor will be more likely to accept your justified absence and to fill you in on any proceedings that you may have missed.

Here are several sample letters of absence that may be adjusted to suit your personal needs and circumstances. Given the informal nature of this type of letter, sending an email is an acceptable means of conveying the information as well.

Example Letter Of Absence From Work

Dear Jane Doe,

Please accept this message as notice that I was unable to attend work on Friday, May 22, 2015 because of family illness. My son became ill on the way to school, and I had to turn around during my morning commute to take him to the local clinic without an appointment.

Because of the extensive waiting time at the clinic, I unfortunately was forced to miss the remainder of the workday. If you believe it necessary, I would be glad to work overtime this weekend to make up for the hours that I missed due to this emergency. I appreciate your understanding.


John Smith (typed in an email, or as a signature in a hard-copy letter)

Example Letter Of Absence From School Due To Vacation

Dear Mrs. Jane Doe,

My daughter Mary Smith will be unable to attend school on Friday, May 15th and on Monday, May 18th. Our family will be on vacation visiting family out of state during this time.

Mary has not been able to see these members of our extended family for several years, and this trip is very important to us. Of course, we will ensure that her schoolwork will not suffer as a result of this vacation. We ask that you would please excuse Mary’s brief absence from school and allow her to make up any missed assignments.

Thank you for your attention. If you need any additional information, please feel free to reach out to me.


Linda Smith (typed in an email, or as a signature in a hard-copy letter)

Example Letter Of Absence From School Due To Illness

Dear Mr. Michael Patel,

Please excuse my son, David Smith,

Please excuse our son, David Smith, for missing his classes on Friday, May 22, 2015. David has suffered from asthma for several years, and on Thursday night he had an acute breathing episode that required us to take him to the Emergency Room. Although his asthma attack was treated successfully, he needed to be monitored for several hours and was therefore unable to attend school the following morning.

David’s doctor has given him permission to resume school next Monday, provided that his breathing remains normal over the weekend and that he carries a rescue inhaler with him at all times. We’ve also attached a note from the doctor for your convenience.

If it is necessary, David will be happy to catch up on any missed projects or assignments once he returns to school next week. We appreciate your consideration and would be happy to provide any additional information that you may require.


John and Linda Smith (typed in an email, or as a signature in a hard-copy letter)

Example Letter OF Absence From School Due To Travel

Dear Dr. Miller,

Please excuse my absence from your Intro to Sociology class (Section 2) on Monday, March 9, 2015. I was unavoidably detained at Newark Airport on my way home from spring break due to a canceled flight. The recent snowstorm caused multiple flight cancelations at the airport on Sunday night, and I was forced to spend the night in Newark before catching another flight on Monday morning.

I realized that I missed our fourth quiz of the semester because of this travel absence. If it’s possible, I would really appreciate being able to make up this quiz in your office at some point in the future, since I was prepared to take the quiz. I don’t want a missed assignment to affect my grade in your class.

I’m attaching my United Airlines ticket confirmation for your convenience. Thank you for considering my request. I’ll look forward to hearing from you about any material that I may have missed during my absence.


Liz Mason (typed in an email, or as a signature in a hard-copy letter)

Writing Your Own Letter Of Absence

Please make use of these samples when you are composing your own letter of absence based on your unique circumstances. Be sure to indicate your reasons for your or your child’s absence clearly and accurately in the letter, as this will make your recipient’s task easier. Additionally, you will want to reference specific dates, pertinent details, and any necessary follow-up items to strengthen the legitimacy of your explanation.

After composing your letter, send it as soon as possible out of courtesy to the recipient. Waiting a week or more before explaining your absence may make your reasons appear suspicious. Explaining your reasons for the absence clearly and promptly often goes a long way towards promoting the most favorable response. Similarly, offering to make up any missed work or assignments will also demonstrate your initiative and diligence to the recipient, which can help him or her to form a favorable impression of your justified absence.

Whatever your reasons may be, creating a letter of absence is a great way to extend courtesy to your employer or an instructor while smoothing your or your child’s transition back to work or to school.

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