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Formal Leave of Absence Letter Request Example
- How to Request a Leave From Work
- Dos and Don’ts for Requesting a Leave
What To Include in Your Formal Letter
Leave of absence request template, leave of absence request email example, frequently asked questions (faqs).
Do you need to take a leave of absence from work? If so, it’s important to put your request in writing, both for documentation purposes and to make it easier for your manager to understand what you're requesting.
How to request a leave of absence depends on your position and on company policy. Some companies have formal policies in place for employees to request a leave of absence from their job. Others accept informal requests. Your employer may have a form you need to complete to request a leave of absence, or you may be required to write a letter documenting your request.
Here's information on how to request a leave of absence, examples of written and email requests for a leave of absence, and tips on what to include when you ask for a leave from work.
- Employers are obligated to provide leave for family, medical, or religious reasons, as required by law.
- Other leave benefits are voluntary and are an agreement between an employee and an employer.
- Before you apply for leave, check your employer's policies and procedures for requesting leave.
- It can be helpful to outline your request in writing for your manager to review, as well as to schedule a meeting to clarify policies regarding leave from work.
How To Request a Leave from Work
Many companies offer leave benefits to employees. However, not all leave benefits are mandated by law. Employers are required to provide some leave. Others are voluntary incentives provided by an employer. Voluntary leave benefits are typically an agreement between an employee and an employer or between an employer and an employee's representative, such as a labor union.
The typical process for requesting a formal leave of absence from work is to discuss your situation with your manager or human resources department to learn the process for requesting leave. Your employer will explain what leave is available, the eligibility requirements for leave, and the procedures for requesting leave. You may be required to meet with a manager to review your request and the information you'll need to provide.
It can be helpful to write a letter (or, more typically, an email) to your direct supervisor requesting a meeting to discuss whether, and how, you should apply for a leave of absence.
In this letter, you should include the following:
- Your reason for needing a leave of absence (such as the birth or adoption of a child, personal or family health issues, loss of a loved one, or relief from excessive job stress)
- The things you are willing to do to help prepare for your absence (examples: training your replacement, writing a detailed handbook of your daily work processes, or offering to remain available to answer any questions during your absence)
- The dates of departure and return to work that you are anticipating
- A request for your supervisor’s assistance in helping you to negotiate the leave of absence process with senior management and/or your human resources department
Once you have attended this meeting with your supervisor, follow up on the conversation with a written request for a leave of absence. This will be added to your personnel file, in order to initiate the formal leave-of-absence process and to provide documentation, if required, prior to the approval of your leave.
Dos and Don’ts for Requesting a Leave of Absence
It’s important to ask for your leave in the best possible way. The following guidelines will help you write a request that’s effective, professional, and considerate.
Give as much notice as possible. It takes time to arrange cover for your work role and to deal with your employer's requirements in accordance with leave. The more notice you can provide, the easier it will be for the company to accommodate your request.
Speak to your direct supervisor first , and outline your request in writing or complete leave request paperwork.
Know your rights. The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles many employees to unpaid leave to deal with medical conditions and family needs, such as the birth or adoption of a child or emergencies related to a family member’s active military service. Eligible employees who work for companies comprising 50 or more employees are entitled to 12 working weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period. Find out whether you’re covered before requesting leave.
Your state may also have family and medical leave laws that provide for employee absences from work. Check with your state labor department for information on programs in your location.
When requesting a formal leave of absence, your letter should include the following:
- Request for a leave of absence
- The dates you expect to be away from work
- The date you plan to return to work
- An offer to provide assistance, if feasible
- Thanks for considering your request
This leave of absence example template is for a formal request for a leave of absence from work, following a discussion with the employee’s supervisor.
Your Name Your Address Your City, State Zip Code Your Phone Number
Supervisor’s Name Title Organization Address City, State Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name],
This letter is a formal request for a leave of absence, to follow up on our meeting yesterday. As we discussed, I would like to request a leave of absence from [Date] through [Date].
I will return to work on [Date].
Please let me know whether you require any further information or have any questions.
Thank you very much for your consideration in affording me this opportunity for personal leave.
Your Signature (hard copy letter)
Your Typed Name
Here's an example of an email message requesting a leave of absence.
Subject: Leave of Absence - John Dooley
As we discussed yesterday, I would like to request a formal leave of absence from my job for family reasons. I plan to be away from November 2, 2022 to December 30, 2022, returning to work on January 3, 2023.
If approved, I would be glad to help with a plan to cover my workload in my absence. I would also be available to answer questions and provide assistance while I am on leave.
Please let me know whether you require any additional information. Thank you very much for your consideration of my request.
Are employers required to give employees paid leave from work?
Federal law does not require employers to pay employees for time not worked, such as personal leave, vacations, sick leave, or holidays. Some states mandate paid family, sick, parental, and school leave. Check with your state department of labor for details.
What's the best way to request a leave from work?
Your company may have a policy in place for requesting leave from work that specifies circumstances where leave may be granted, and how much time employees are entitled to take as leave. Check your employee handbook or talk to your manager for details. If a policy is in place, be sure to adhere to those guidelines for requesting a leave of absence.
National Conference of State Legislatures. " State Family and Medical Leave Laws ."
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. " Leave Policy Tips ."
Department of Labor. " Leave Benefits ."
Department of Labor. " Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) ."
National Conference of State Legislatures. " Paid Family Leave Resources ."
U.S. Department of Labor. " Personal Leave ."
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Leave Without Pay Application: Format and Samples
- Updated on
- Mar 17, 2023
When an employee requests a short leave of absence from their company for personal reasons, they must submit a letter of application for leave or an absence to the appropriate authority. This not only demonstrates the professionalism of the employee but also allows the employer enough time to get ready. These examples below will assist you in writing a leave without pay application if you have significant personal work and are unable to report to the workplace.
This Blog Includes:
How to write leave without pay application, leave without pay application, important points to include while writing leave without pay application , leave without pay application: format, leave without pay application: sample 1, leave without pay application: sample 2, leave without pay application: sample 3.
Check this out to know about how to write a leave without pay application:
Begin with the assertion. In this case, the leave would be unpaid and would last from [start date] until [end date].
If required, apologise for the short notice. For instance: “I apologise for the short notice, but I was taken completely by surprise and did not plan for this to happen at all.”
Name the person who will fill in for you while you’re away. Example: “ABC will take over my responsibilities while I’m away. I’ve already talked to him about it, and he’s more than prepared to stand in for me “.
Must Read: Application for Sister’s Marriage
An excellent technique to ask for time off from work is to submit a written leave application .
These days, a lot of businesses use a digital leave application data format.
Taking leave without an application is much like putting everybody in the office in problems.
The boss can comprehend your reason for the break and maintain track of your absences thanks to your leave application.
Below mentioned are some important pointers to include while writing a leave-without-pay application:
- Subject of the Application
- Reason for leave
- Required number of leaves (particular dates)
- Work schedule while you are away
- Contact Number
Also Read: Application for Maternity Leave
Name of the Person
I need your permission to take an unpaid leave of absence from [start date] to [end date] for [reason or private problem]. I’m sorry for the short notice, but this is an emergency and was not anticipated at all.
ABC is willing to fill in for me during that time, so the workflow won’t be affected. Thank you so much for your patience.
Subject: Requesting leave without pay application as a result of the training workshop.
It is reported that I have been a production manager for Orient Electronics for the past three years. I have to spend roughly eight months in London getting trained on some new technology equipment that other multinational corporations utilise. You are being told that I shall be unable to perform my duties for an additional 8 months. I need your permission to take an unpaid leave of absence from [start date] to [end date] for [reason or private problem]. I’m sorry for the short notice, but this is an emergency and was not anticipated at all.
Please consider my request and grant me leave. Waiting for your response and approval on a positive note. –
Subject: Application for Exams
My name is ABC, and I work in the sales division, sir. I have spent the last five years working for this company. Working with you has given me the privilege of becoming even more skilled than I was before.
You might be aware of the fact that my mother had been extremely sick last month, and I had to go and take care of her because of which the limit of my allotted vacations approached. But today, the doctors told me that her condition is so grave that I must go and take care of her. Please allow me an unpaid leave of absence for three weeks beginning (from) and ending for this reason. As soon as my mother’s safety is guaranteed, I want to continue working for you. I request you accept my reason and grant me leave for the requested time period.
With utmost respect, I want to mention that I wish to have an unpaid leave owing to certain personal troubles I am having at home. I’m requesting an unpaid leave because I want to take a longer break than is typically allowed, and since I won’t be working for a while, there is no need for an income. In addition, all of my paid leaves have already been used up. If you give me the leave, I will be very grateful to you.
Must Read: Paternity Leave Application
A. In accordance with the terms of the Leave Without Pay Policy, I am requesting a brief unpaid leave of absence. I have used up all of my vacation and personal time, and I am not eligible for paid leave under the College’s other leave policies.
A. LWOP, or leave without pay, is regarded as authorised leave. It is reasonable to grant an employee leave without pay if their request for time off is approved but they do not have enough accrued leave to cover the authorised absence.
A. Loss of Pay (LOP/LWP) Leave; In some circumstances, employers let them take unpaid time off (LWP). This sort of absence is also known as LOP leave since it results in a loss of income (LOP) for the employee.
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Letter Asking Unpaid Leave
Sample letter to get long leave from office to visit abroad, or some other reason without salary, or without pay of leave days.
Application for Long Service Leave Due to Training Workshop
Respected General Manager,
Sir, it is stated that I am working in Orient Electronics from last 3 years, and my designation is Production Manager. I have to go to London for about 8 months for the training of some new technology machines which are being used by other multi-national companies. So, it is informed to you that I will not be able to be on my duty for further 8 months.
Unpaid Leave Request Letter UK
With utmost respect, I want to say that I want to have an unpaid leave due to some personal problems I am suffering at home. I am asking about the unpaid leave because I intend to have a leave for a longer duration, and when I will not be working for a long time then there is no point for a salary, and secondly, all my paid leaves are finished. I shall be very thankful to you if you grant me the leave.
Mr. Wayne Richard
Sir, this is Mr. Nial Frederick, and I am an employee in the Sales department. I have been working at this company for the last 5 years. I have had the honor of working alongside you that has made me even more skillful than I ever was.
You might be aware of the fact that my mother had been very sick last month, and I had to go, and take care for her because of which the limit of my allowed vacations reached. However, the doctors have informed me today that her situation is very critical for that I have to go, and take care of her. For that purpose, kindly grant me unpaid leave for 3 weeks starting from Monday 5 th of December to 26 th of December. I wish to continue working for you as soon as the well-being of my mother is ensured. Thank you for your kind attitude.
Employee, Sales Department
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Free Unpaid Leave of Absence Letter
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Free Download this Unpaid Leave of Absence Letter Design in Word, Google Docs, PDF, Apple Pages, Outlook Format. Easily Editable, Printable, Downloadable.
Sometimes, we have priorities that come before our work, even if that means affecting our income. To help you request time off ASAP, use our Free Unpaid Leave of Absence Letter Template. With our sample’s professionally written content and highlighted placeholders, your note will be ready in no time. This template comes fully compatible with Apple Pages, Google Docs, and Microsoft Word.
UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Dear [RECIPIENT NAME],
This letter is a formal request for an unpaid leave of absence. As discussed earlier, I would like to request an unpaid leave of absence from [START DATE] to [END DATE].
The reason for this leave of absence is [REASON]. I hereby request you to consider my request.
Please let me know if you have any further questions on my leave of absence or if you need additional information. Regards,
No template.net attribution required
You may also like
Sample Request Letter for Asking Unpaid Leave
[Here briefly describe Sample request letter to get long leave from office to visit abroad or some other reason like study, training etc., without salary or without pay of leave days. You can modify it according to your requirements.]
The Managing Director,
Sub: Application for Long Service Leave Due to Training Workshop
Respected General Manager,
Sir, it is stated that I am working in (Institute/Organization name) for last 3 years and my designation is Production Manager (Job position). I have to go to (Country/Institute/Area name with purposes) for about 4/5 months for the training of some new technology machines which are being used by other multi-national companies (State your actual situation). So, it is informed to you that I will not be able to be on my duty for further 4/5 months.
Sub: Unpaid Leave Request Letter
With utmost respect, I want to say that I want to have an unpaid leave due to some personal problems I am suffering at home. (state your actual situation) I am asking about the unpaid leave because I intend to have a leave for a longer duration and when I will not be working for a long time then there is no point for a salary and secondly, all my paid leaves are finished. I shall be very thankful to you if you grant me the leave.
Resign Letter to Company for Family Issue
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How to write a leave of absence letter like a pro? Examples included
A leave of absence (LOA) is a period of time during which an employee is allowed to be away from work temporarily without losing their job. This can be for various reasons, such as personal, medical, or family-related matters. A leave of absence may be paid or unpaid, depending on the company's policies and the specific circumstances of the request.
In the following lines, we expand on the tips and best practices for writing leave of absence letters with samples that you can use on different occasions.
How to request a leave of absence from work?
To request a leave of absence from work, follow these steps:
- Review your company's leave of absence policies and procedures.
- Determine the reason for your leave and gather any necessary documentation.
- Write a formal leave of absence letter, following the guidelines and examples provided.
- Submit the letter and any supporting documents to your supervisor and the HR department, as required by your company's policies.
- Be prepared to discuss your request and provide additional information if needed.
How to write a leave of absence letter?
A leave of absence letter should be clear, concise, and professional. Here are the steps to follow when writing a leave of absence letter:
1. Provide your contact details
Begin by providing your contact information, which should include your name, address, phone number, and email address.
Hugo Marklein 9980 High Court Astoria, NY 11106 (301) 474-1725 [email protected]
2. Add the date
Mention the date when the letter was written.
November 14, 2023
3. Recipient's information:
At this stage, include the recipient's name and address.
[Supervisor's Name] [Company Name] [Company Address] [City, State, Zip Code]
Address the letter to your supervisor or the HR representative handling leave requests.
Dear Mr. Voss,
In the opening paragraph, state your request for a leave of absence, including the reason, the start date, and the duration of the leave.
I am writing this letter to request a leave of absence from November 25 to October 2 for five days. The reason for my request is that I will join a family reunion in Italy.
Provide additional details to support your request and offer to discuss the matter further or provide additional information if needed.
During my absence, I propose that Mary Trudy and Ester Lizeth will cover my responsibilities. I will ensure a smooth handover before my leave and remain available for any questions or concerns that may arise. Additionally, for any emergencies, during my leave, I am available at (301) 474-1725.
I am happy to provide additional information or discuss my request further if needed.
Close the letter by expressing gratitude for their consideration and sign your name.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and your understanding.
Sincerely, Hugo Marklein
What are the 10 most common reasons to request a leave of absence?
If you need to identify some reasons for your leave of absence request, please find below some of the most used causes you can use at work:
- Personal illness or injury
- Caring for a family member with a serious health condition
- Maternity or paternity leave
- Adoption or foster care placement
- Military service or deployment
- Bereavement or funeral leave
- Educational or professional development opportunities
- Mental health and stress-related reasons
- Personal or family-related matters, such as weddings, reunions, or vacations
- Sabbaticals or extended time off for personal growth and exploration.
Tip: In case you're interested what means leave of absence , we do have an in-detail guide covering the topic, with clear explanation of each reason to take leave.
Samples of leave of absence letters
Sample 1: Leave of absence for a personal health issue
[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State, Zip Code] [Phone Number] [Email Address]
Dear [Supervisor's Name],
I am requesting a leave of absence due to a personal health issue. My doctor has advised me that I must undergo [specific medical treatment or procedure] and will require time to recover. My anticipated start date for this leave is [start date], and I expect to return to work on [return date] for a total duration of [number of days/weeks] of leave.
During my absence, I propose that [colleague's name or a temporary replacement] can cover my responsibilities. I will ensure a smooth handover before my leave and remain available for any questions or concerns.
Please let me know if you require additional information or documentation to process this request. I appreciate your understanding and support during this time.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely, [Your Name]
Sample 2: Leave of absence for family emergency
I am requesting a leave of absence due to a family emergency. My [relationship], [family member's name], has experienced a serious health crisis, and I need to be with them during this difficult time. I am requesting a leave of absence from [start date] to [end date] for a total of [number of days/weeks].
I suggest [colleague's name or a temporary replacement] can handle my responsibilities during my absence. I will ensure a seamless handover of my duties before my departure and remain reachable for any questions or concerns.
Please let me know if you need additional information or documentation to support this request. I appreciate your understanding and support during this challenging time.
Thank you for your consideration.
Leave of Absence Request Template
I am writing to formally request a leave of absence from [start date] to [end date] for a total of [number of days/weeks]. The reason for my request is [specific reason for the leave, such as personal illness, family emergency, maternity/paternity leave, etc.].
During my absence, I propose that [colleague's name or a temporary replacement] can cover my responsibilities. I will ensure a smooth handover before my leave and remain available for any questions or concerns that may arise.
Please find attached any relevant documentation to support my request, such as [medical records, military orders, etc.]. I am happy to provide additional information or discuss my request further if needed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your understanding.
FAQ Leave of absence
When is it necessary to take a leave of absence.
Taking a leave of absence is necessary when you require an extended period away from work due to personal, medical, or family-related reasons. Some common causes include personal illness, caring for a family member, maternity or paternity leave, military service, bereavement, or personal growth opportunities. A leave of absence allows you to address your needs and responsibilities without risking your job or career.
Automate your leave request with the easy to use online HR software.
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Unpaid Leave Letter
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3 Sample Leave Of Absence Letters (And Do’s And Don’ts of Writing)
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Needing time off work happens from time to time, which means you’ll need to write a leave of absence letter request. A well-written letter can increase your chances of being granted a leave of absence and staying on good terms with your supervisor and your team.
If you’re in need of a leave of absence, we’ll go over how to request a leave of absence from work, provide some example leave of absence letters, and some common reasons for needing a leave of absence.
A leave of absence is an extended period of time when you will not be formally working while still maintaining your position at a company.
The formal process for requesting a leave of absence involves sending a letter to your supervisor as well as higher management and getting this request approved. You do this for documentation purposes, as well as to clarify your specific needs in your request.
Leaves of absence are taken for various reasons, including medical needs, birth or adoption of a child, or other urgent personal needs.
How to request a leave of absence from work
Example letters for leave of absence, leave of absence letter template, what is the family and medical leave act, do’s and don’ts for requesting a leave of absence, common reasons to request a leave of absence, leave of absence faqs.
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When requesting a leave of absence from work, be sure you know your company policies and state laws regarding your work absence and then determine how long you are going to be gone. Here is a more detailed list of how to request a leave of absence from work:
Know your company policies and state laws regarding work absences. The first thing you’re going to want to do is check your employee handbook and become familiar with your company’s policies on leaves of absence.
See what the leave benefits are (if there are any). Check whether or not your company will still pay you during this leave and plan accordingly.
Determine the time frame. Your second step is determining how long you will need time off of work.
Keep in mind that you’re going to need to justify each day taken off, and your supervisors are not likely to approve a leave of absence that requests an excessive amount of time off without good reason. If you have a doctor ’s note or other documentation specifying the amount of time you need off, be sure to include that and factor it in.
Meet with your supervisor to discuss your absence. As soon as you determine that you need a leave of absence and the general timeline, meet with your direct supervisor to discuss your request.
Consider your options. After meeting with your supervisor, consider the options you discussed or the available options. You may have the opportunity to temporarily reduce work hours, work from home, or other measures in which you will still be working but with added flexibility for your circumstances .
Create your leave of absence letter. Finally — after considering all of the above steps — you’ll create your formal letter notifying your boss of your leave of absence. Craft this letter for your supervisor and whomever else you are required to notify formally.
Tell your team. After sending your letter, decide with your supervisor how you will inform your colleagues of your absence. You may need to tell them personally, or someone may take care of it for you.
Your letters should be sent after meeting and discussing your absence with your direct supervisor, but prior to discussing this absence with your coworkers. Here are some examples of letters for a leave of absence for different scenarios you may encounter:
Leave of absence email request example
Subject: [Leave of Absence – Megan Gordon] February 19, 2021 Dear Sharon, I’m writing to request a formal leave of absence from work starting next month due to a recent family emergency. I plan to take this leave from March 8, 2023, through April 2, 2023. I plan to return to work on April 5, 2023. As discussed, this is a tentative date based on my current family circumstances. I will update you with adequate notice if I need to create a plan for returning to work at a later date. In preparation for my leave, I am willing to train my colleagues to complete projects in my absence and communicate with my clients. During my leave, I will be available periodically to answer urgent questions through email or cell phone. Thank you for your assistance in this process and your consideration. Regards, Megan Gordon (618)-219-8705 [email protected]
Medical leave of absence request letter example
Subject: [Leave of Absence – Treyvon Moore] June 1, 2021 Dear Ms. King, I am submitting this request for a leave of absence following an upcoming medical procedure on June 26. My doctor requires a recovery period of two weeks, so my leave will begin on June 28 and end on July 9, 2023. I have attached her signed recommendation. As per my doctor’s orders, I will be able to return to work on July 12, 2023. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist in covering my workload during my absence. Thank you for your time and understanding. Best regards, Treyvon Moore (919)-231-8124 [email protected]
Leave of absence for personal reasons request letter example
Subject: [Leave of Absence – Elena Forbes] Dear Mr. Gilbert, I am writing to formally request a leave of absence from my position at XYZ Company from August 31 to September 15, 2023. The reason for this leave is due to personal circumstances that require my immediate attention and presence. I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition during my absence and minimizing any disruption to the team’s operations. During my absence, I will ensure that all pending tasks are completed or handed over to a designated colleague. I am confident that my colleagues have the expertise to manage any unexpected situations that may arise in my absence. I am also open to being available for consultation via email or phone to address any urgent matters that may require my input. Thank you for considering my request. I appreciate your understanding and support during this time. Please let me know if there are any specific procedures or forms I need to complete in order to finalize this request. Sincerely, Elena Forbes (123) 456-7890 [email protected]
Here is a template for a leave of absence request that gives an example of how you might format a written letter.
Leave of Absence Written Letter Example
[Your Name] [Your Address] [Your Phone Number] [Other Relevant Contact Information] December 8, 2020 [Your Supervisor’s Name] [Company or Organization] [Company or Organization Address] Dear [Supervisor’s name], This is a formal written request notifying of my intention to take a two-week leave of absence for personal reasons. As discussed in our meeting yesterday, I hope to take this leave from [start date] through [return date] if this is still a timeframe that works for you. I will be able to return to work on [return date]. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in making preparations for my absence. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any further questions. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. Sincerely, [4 lines of blank space for a written signature] [Your name]
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal labor law established in 1993. The FMLA’s purpose is to protect employees who have genuine private concerns outside of work that they need to take time off from work. There are several key points to FMLA that you will want to understand when requesting a leave of absence:
Eligibility. The FMLA states that eligible employees must receive an unpaid leave of absence in the event of family reasons (birth, adoption, etc.) or health issues. The FMLA only applies to companies that employ more than 50 individuals, and to employees who have worked at least a year with the company for at least 1,250 hours ( part-time ) over the past year.
What you receive. Note that while companies are not mandated to pay employees who take leaves of absence, these employees’ benefits remain, most importantly their employer-sponsored health insurance. Employees who are approved for a leave of absence under the FMLA must receive the same job they had when they left or a job of similar pay with similar responsibilities.
How many weeks. You can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off out of the year under the FMLA. If you need to take a leave of absence to care for a military service member who’s dealing with a serious medical condition, this time frame is extended to 26 weeks. These weeks don’t have to be taken consecutively, and federal holidays don’t count against your total days taken off through the FMLA.
Other state laws. Some states also have laws that are more generous for employees. For example, in California , employees still receive 60-70% of their average earnings while on a family leave of absence. Be sure to look into your state’s guidelines to learn the exact details.
The FMLA is the absolute minimum that companies of this size must follow. Many organizations choose to offer much more generous leave packages, especially for those leaving for parental leave.
When giving your leave of absence letter, you should give plenty of notice and be sure to inform your boss first. Here are some more general rules of thumb when requesting a leave of absence.
DO: Give adequate notice.
DON’T: Wait until the last minute.
Give your supervisors and your team time to plan for your absence by submitting your request as soon as possible.
DO: Communicate with your direct supervisor first.
DON’T: Tell coworkers or clients before your supervisor.
You don’t want your supervisor to feel like you are keeping secrets, as this can erode trust. So be sure to tell her of your plans before you tell others.
DO: Offer gratitude and further assistance.
DON’T: Make the details of your departure unclear.
Try to let your team know explicitly how you can help in preparation for and during your absence. Be helpful to others in whatever capacity you are able, as your absence may increase their workload.
Having a new child, medical reasons, or a death in the family are some of the most common reasons to request a leave of absence. Some more common reasons to request a leave of absence outside of normal PTO include:
New child. Maternity and paternity leave are the most common reasons why employees take extended leaves of absence. Different companies might have different policies, but the FMLA covers the bare minimum requirements for coverage (more on that below).
Medical reasons. When you need to get surgery or treat a condition, you probably won’t be able to continue with your normal occupation for a little while. The FMLA also covers these reasons, including if the medical issue is with a family member that you’re caring for full-time.
Education. Choosing to go back to school is a legitimate reason to request a leave of absence, but it’s best to talk to your supervisor about your goals and get on the same page about how your education will help you do more at work.
Death in the family. Employers won’t always make you take PTO days when you suddenly need to attend a funeral or deal with a death in the family.
Military. People in the Army Reserve should be forthcoming when taking a job, but most employers are happy to have armed service members working for them. These leaves of absence may also be taken for family members who need time off for military reasons.
Jury duty. It can happen to any over the age of 18. When this happens and you are picked to be a part of a jury, depending on the court case, you could be out of work for a couple of weeks. When this happens you need to let your employer know.
What does it mean to take a leave of absence?
A leave of absence is an extended period of time off from work that is due to circumstances not covered by PTO or sick days. A leave of absence is usually longer than what either your PTO or sick days would cover. It is usually the result of out-of-the-ordinary circumstances such as childbirth, death in the family, or medical reasons.
Is a leave of absence better than quitting?
Yes, a leave of absence is better than quitting. If you know you will want to return to your job, or even if you don’t know, but you consider it a possibility, then a leave of absence is a good choice. Quitting your job is final, which will make your professional circumstances much harder down the line.
How do you ask for a leave of absence?
To ask for a leave of absence:
Research your company’s leave of absence policy
Determine your reasons and time frame
Meet with your supervisor
Consider your options
Draft a leave of absence letter
Inform your coworkers
These steps ensure you ask for leave of absence in a professional, thought-out manner.
Can an employer refuse to give you unpaid leave?
Yes, an employer can refuse to give you unpaid leave depending on your reasons and company policy. If your reasons are not covered by FMLA or some other state or Federal law, then it is up to the discretion of your employer to decide what type of unpaid leave is appropriate. That is why it is important for you to look into company policy before you ask for a leave of absence.
What are some reasons for taking a leave of absence from work?
Having a child, caring for a sick family member, or pursuing your education are some common reasons for a leave of absence. Having a medical emergency, a death in the family, and jury duty are other common reasons for needing a leave of absence.
U.S. Department of Labor – Family and Medical Leave Act
Office of Personnel Management – Fact Sheet: Family and Medical Leave
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Roger Raber has been a content writer at Zippia for over a year and has authored several hundred articles. Having retired after 28 years of teaching writing and research at both the high school and college levels, Roger enjoys providing career details that help inform people who are curious about a new job or career. Roger holds a BA in English from Cleveland State University and a MA from Marygrove college.
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How to write a leave of absence letter (plus template)
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What is a leave of absence?
When should i take personal leave, how to write a personal leave letter.
Every workday, you show up and do your best. But sometimes, your work-life balance feels unmanageable, and your best starts to fall below your regular. It’s hard to perform at 100% all the time.
Eventually, things may begin to feel truly overwhelming, and you’ll find you're losing focus and control.
When you’re really struggling, you may need to take time away from work to recover. And that’s OK. If that’s relatable — or sounds like it will be soon — it's important to learn how to write a letter explaining your personal reason for leave to your boss. It’s best to be prepared. Your mental and physical health may depend on it later.
Writing a leave application letter can be a source of stress in itself. It’s a personal letter, but how formal should it be? Do you have to go into lots of detail, or can you maintain your privacy?
Don't let these unknowns stop you from putting in a leave request. In 2021, 3,200 American full-time workers took a leave of absence from work. It's perfectly common, so don't hesitate to take advantage of this option. And remember that it’s not a failure: taking steps to care for yourself is always a victory.
Don’t worry — if you've never written a leave of absence letter, you're in good hands. We’ll guide you through writing the perfect leave of absence letter so you don’t have to struggle and stress when you’re not feeling your best. Grab a pen and paper, and let’s dive in.
A leave of absence is when you take time off to handle a personal matter. Sometimes these matters are unexpected, like a sudden illness. Other times, you see them coming, like needing time to move a parent into a retirement home.
These absences span a period of time — sometimes fixed, sometimes not — when you're away from your work responsibilities to dedicate more focus to your personal life. Think of it like a sabbatical where you spend time away from work to care for yourself.
Depending on the matter, you might only need a week to feel better or resolve a situation. Your employer might be able to offer you sick days or PTO to cover this break.
But if the matter you need to attend to will take longer than a few days, you’ll need a true personal leave. A leave of absence grants you more time off than a string of sick days without leaving your job . You'll return to work eventually, but you need more time than the standard employment agreement offers.
Personal leave of absence reasons include:
- Experiencing a medical condition that makes you chronically ill or in pain
- Having a baby and taking maternity leave
- Address mental health issues or mental illness
- Supporting a loved one or family member in need
- Undergoing major life changes like moving cities or getting married
When you submit your leave request, make sure you document everything. If you had a conversation with your HR manager and worked out all the details, remember to follow up with an email so you have a written record of the conversation. It’s uncomfortable to ask , but having your request in words is handy should you need to reference it down the road.
It’s normal to be worried your personal circumstances won’t be enough to convince your employer to grant you a leave of absence. Not to worry — that's why the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) exists.
The FMLA is a law that provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year. During that time, your health benefits are maintained and you can take time off without fear of losing your job.
Here are the situations in which you can take an FMLA leave of absence:
- The birth of your child and caring for them
- Adopting or fostering a child
- Taking care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition
- Taking medical leave to address your own health condition
For example, if you have a spouse dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder , the FMLA would support your decision to care for them from home. If your child is experiencing burnout from work that has resulted in an intense episode of mental illness, the FMLA grants you a period of time to care for your child while they need you.
Sometimes, your leave of absence letter for personal reasons won’t meet the FMLA guidelines. These circumstances require a voluntary leave of absence, which means your job and benefits aren’t protected.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t request the leave — in many cases, your boss will be compassionate about your needs. They might offer to protect your position, even though the law doesn’t require it.
Here are a few examples of voluntary leave:
- Continuing your education
- Taking a break to travel
- Relocating to a new home
- Mourning the loss of a loved one
A leave request letter goes to your HR manager or boss, so it should be formal and professional. Because your letter describes personal circumstances, strive to be clear and concise.
Give enough details to justify your request, but only disclose what’s comfortable and necessary. For example, if you’re undergoing cancer treatment and don’t want to bring that part of your life to work, you can simply say you’re undergoing medical treatment that requires you to stay home.
Another thing to keep in mind is timing. Ideally, your letter should be sent in advance of when you'd like to have your time off. Sending your letter with two days' notice isn't always enough time for your employer to cover your responsibilities and make an effective plan for your time away.
Giving ample heads-up means you're being courteous to your team. But emergencies happen, so try to cooperate while navigating the terms of your leave.
Here are five things to include in your leave application letter:
1. How much time you require off
This seems like a no-brainer, but you shouldn’t forget this key piece of information: how much time you need. Perhaps you only need to request six weeks off, or maybe you'd like to take the full 12. That's a big difference.
Explaining how much time you'd like off will better prepare your workplace for your absence. It also gives your boss some perspective on how the rest of the workplace will be impacted.
2. The start and end date of your leave
Besides how long you'd like your leave to be, you need to give exact dates and times. A concrete start date acknowledges when your time away will begin. An end date will also let your employer know when they can expect your return, so they know when to start scheduling work for you.
Setting a timeline also holds you accountable. You'll know when you should push work from your mind and when it's time to get back into the zone.
3. The reason you're requesting leave
Personal circumstances are exactly that: personal. But your boss will need to know, in general terms, why you're writing a leave application. If it's difficult to talk about, know that you can describe your reason for requesting terms within your boundaries.
Keep in mind that this letter is private — the rest of your coworkers won’t be taking a peek. So try to describe your circumstance succinctly, but don’t feel pressured to describe every little detail.
4. Contact information and a plan
You're going to be missing some work. Do you have any solutions planned so your workplace doesn't fall behind? Provide some suggestions about how someone could manage your work while you're away and highlight any resources the team might need for a smooth transition.
If you have the capacity to answer messages while you’re away, share your contact information with your manager (if they don’t already have it). Provide an emergency contact, like a family member or friend, too.
If you’re not up for helping out, no problem. During your leave of absence, you’re entitled to your rest. Any emails you answer are a favor, not an obligation.
5. A thank you
Save room for a thank you to close out your absence letter. Politely thanking your employer for considering your letter and taking the time to find a solution shows you're grateful for their support.
You're ready to ask for time off , but how do you start your letter? Sometimes you need a little inspiration to start your writing. That’s where templates come in.
Every letter of request looks different, so copy-pasting a template will only get you so far. But using a template as a jumping-off point and making the words your own is a straightforward way to pen a letter with confidence.
Here are two sample leave letters for personal reasons:
[Your supervisor’s name]
Dear [name of your supervisor],
I would like to request a leave of absence. My spouse is on sick leave, and they require my care while they regain their strength. If possible, I'd like my absence start date to be March 1 and my end date to be June 1.
If my request is approved, I'll be reachable via email or Slack if you need me. I was talking with [coworker’s name], and they think they’ll be able to take on some of my responsibilities while I’m away. I'd be happy to chat more about how to make this temporary transition as smooth as possible.
Thank you for considering my leave of absence request. As you know, family is very important to me, and I'd be grateful for the time to support my spouse.
All the best,
I would like to formally request a six-week leave of absence. I'm requesting medical leave after an operation. I'd like my absence start date to be July 1, making August 12 the end date. My doctor has asked that I take it easy so my body can heal properly, requiring me to spend a few weeks on bed rest.
If my request is approved, I won't be able to come into the office. However, I’ll be reachable via email, Slack, and video call if necessary. I'm very willing to chat about how we can work this out with minimal inconvenience to you and my coworkers. If you'd like to discuss this more, my phone number is [your number].
Thank you for considering my leave application.
When it’s a personal reason, leave requests can be overwhelming. Taking the initiative to learn how to write a strong leave of absence letter will help you in the long run.
Your leave request letter could make a big difference in your life. Research has found that having flexibility at work is something workers value the most . Flexibility at work helps with job engagement, job satisfaction, and overall happiness. If taking a leave of absence will make your life a run bit smoother, resulting in less stress and leaving you with fewer regrets, why not take it?
Life isn't all about work. Don't forget to make time for yourself and your health.
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