Writing a Reprimand Letter to Employee for Unexcused Absence [with Sample]

Some people may think rules are made to be broken, but when they receive a reprimand letter for absence from their boss, they may want to think again.

Excessive Absenteeism Without Permission

In many cases, excessive absenteeism without permission is a symptom of serious family or health issues. 

The employer needs to be a bit sensitive to the employee’s reasons while still being firm and insisting the employee follow the rules.

If an employee seems to have a serious problem that requires his or her time, the employer should deal with it in a way that follows the rules of the company. Otherwise, it will send the message of favoritism to the other employees and damage morale.

Some of the most common reasons employees take leave without prior permission are:

  • So-called family emergencies that cannot be documented
  • Excessive leave on the days before and just after holidays
  • Absences repeatedly taken on the same day of the week
  • Absences that occur on the most important days for the company
  • Absences just before or after the employee has received a reprimand

When management is in the position of writing a reprimand letter for absenteeism, they need to remember that this is a serious matter for the employee and could lead to termination of his or her job. 

Company Letterhead

It should be written on company letterhead and sent in a sealed envelope to add impact. This will give the employer proof that the employee was warned in advance of any disciplinary action in the event the issue goes to court.

Reprimand letters need to be written so that they inform the employee that he or she has not followed the rules, but they should not sound overly authoritative or dictatorial. 

Some of the things that should be included in the letter are:

  • The letter should explain clearly what the unsatisfactory behavior is. It needs to clearly state that the employee has violated the policies of the company. 
  • The unauthorized behavior should be clearly described with specifics. For example, the employee was absent for three days without permission and the dates listed.
  • The reprimand should be stated in the first paragraph. It should inform the employee that the letter is a formal reprimand that may result in further action if the situation continues.
  • If necessary, the employer can use time sheets to prove the absenteeism. They can also mention that the employee’s behavior is not a good example for other employees and may lose revenue for the company.
  • The letter should end with the means for the employee to get back on track. The employer may use his or her discretion, but one possibility is to tell the employee they are not allowed to take leave for the next six months unless there is a serious emergency. They could also say that the employee must request leave in writing at least three days in advance.
  • Finally, the letter should state that failure to abide by the company rules or the disciplinary action in the employee’s particular case will result in the company taking further action.

Below is a sample reprimand letter to an employee for unsanctioned absence. It should be written in formal business-letter style. It is important that the employer have proof that the letter was received.  

For this reason, it should be sent by certified mail with a return requested. The employer should keep a copy as well as a copy of any other communications relating to the employee’s absence. 

Sample Reprimand Letter To An Employee

Name of Employer
Name of Company or Business
Address of Business
City, State, Zip Code


Name of Employee
Position of Employee in the Business
Address of Employee
City, State, Zip Code

RE: Formal Reprimand Letter

Dear Name of Employee:

It has been noticed by the concerned authorities that you have taken leave from your job without requesting or receiving prior permission from your supervisor on DATE and DATE.

This is seen as a sign of gross negligence of your duties as salesman and willful insubordination. 

If you absence yourself without prior permission, you are behaving irresponsibly and opening yourself to disciplinary action. 

You are hereby warned not to continue this inappropriate behavior in the future. If you do, you shall invoke the appropriate disciplinary action. 

Since you have never taken leave without permission before, I would like to request you to submit a written explanation for taking unauthorized leave within three working days of receiving this letter. 

A copy of this letter will be put in your office personnel file. Kindly treat this as an urgent matter.

Your Signature
Your Printed Name 
Name of Company or Business

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