We want to use the terms ill and illness in our software instead of sick (see also Is there any difference between being ill and sick?), but I'm having difficulty finding a proper replacement for the term sick leave.

What can we use?
(which, to confuse things, is often defined as leave of absence granted because of illness)

Note: we have several kinds of official/authorized leave, so I can't use a generic 'leave' term.

  • Do you dislike the offerings at thesaurus.com?
    – Davo
    Mar 3, 2017 at 13:54
  • @Davo I totally forgot that website existed ;-) But yes: authorized leave would be too broad because we have other kinds of authorized leave, and excused absence sounds a bit too informal as well.
    – user22427
    Mar 3, 2017 at 14:01
  • 2
    How about medical leave?
    – Davo
    Mar 3, 2017 at 14:08
  • 1
    Sick leave is a well-known and widely-used term. Is there a compelling reason not to use it?
    – Lawrence
    Mar 3, 2017 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


"sick leave" is such a common construction that it may be the best option. Just because you use "ill" in other scenarios doesn't necessarily mean "sick leave" would be incorrect in its own right.

Example of mixing the two:

Jeff: I didn't see Sally yesterday. Was she ill?

to which one could reply

Mike: Yes, the took a sick day.


Mike: Yes, she was on sick leave.

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