How to ask for a leave of absence? (With samples)

How to ask for a leave of absence

In this guide, we will discuss “how to ask for a leave of absence”, a few tips on how to write a leave of absence letter, good reasons to request a leave of absence and some samples that you can easily modify.

How to ask for a leave of absence?

Here is how to ask for a leave of absence from work:

  • Do your research about your company’s policies and your legal rights regarding time off and pay.
  • Make sure you submit the request in person and preferably in writing.
  • Ensure you request a leave of absence with sufficient time for your employer to consider your request.
  • Work with your boss to develop a plan to cover your pending work and duties while you are absent.

There are various reasons why you would like to request a leave of absence but not all of them will sound ‘valid’ or genuine to your employer.

For instance, good reasons would be taking time off due to a medical procedure or treatment, the death of a loved one or the birth of your child (maternity leave). ‘Can they refuse?’, you may be wondering.

In some cases, it is totally up to your employer if they grant the leave or no and some others are required by law, so make sure you document yourself on those scenarios (e.g. paid vs unpaid).

How to ask for a leave of absence? (With samples)

Before sending a formal letter with your leave of absence request letter or email, approach your boss first and have a conversation about the leave of absence exposing your reasons. 

As discussed and according to Susannah Snider from ‘U.S. News’, “Before requesting time off, employees should understand what protections they have under federal law, state law and through employer policies. While you probably shouldn’t start off the meeting by aggressively listing your legal protections, having an understanding of your workplace rights will help you approach the conversation knowledgeably and negotiate the best possible solution for you and your employer.”

But what is exactly a leave of absence?

Well, it is basically considered as the request made from an employee asking their employer for time off work or their job duties.

First, it is important to be clear on the type of leave you need and will be requesting.

Depending on this request your employer may or may not be subjected to pay you. 

If you work in a casual environment, requesting and obtaining a leave of absence may just depend on asking your boss directly and saying something like “Boss, I need a leave of absence. Would it be possible to request it for one month?”

In contrast, formal workplaces may ask you to frame your request according to the company policy since they may have guidelines for who is eligible for a leave of absence, when and how often they can be entitled to. 

How do I request a leave of absence from work?

After you have researched your company policy regarding leave of absence, verify if you meet the criteria or if you are eligible.

After you have determined the options available to you make sure to:

  • Have a conversation with your supervisor or line manager and follow up later with an email.
  • Put your request in writing. Whether you send a formal letter or an email, make sure there is evidence you have requested the leave of absence (if necessary).  
  • When outlining your request in writing make sure to include (briefly) the reason why you are requesting the leave of absence and include actions you would take to ease the transition (e.g. training your replacement or writing a manual with specific instructions).
  • Submit your request with plenty of time so they can process your request and make the necessary arrangement for when you are gone.
  • Be clear on the dates of the start and end date of your leave. 

We will see some samples that you can use and modify according to your own circumstances.

How to ask for a leave of absence? (With samples)

What is considered a ‘good’ reason to take leave of absence from work?

Some examples of good reasons for taking leave of absence include:

  • Jury duty
  • Sabbatical (e.g. further studies or traveling)
  • The short or long term disability
  • Medical leave
  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Personal reasons (e.g. taking care of a relative who is sick or spending more time with your family)
  • Annual leave

Sample 1: Leave of absence

“George Jenkins

1245 James Avenue

Pocatello, ID 83201

(000) 123-1234

[email protected]

April 6, 2020

Ms. Janice Smith

Supervisor

ABC Company

9876 Industry Avenue

Pocatello, ID 83201

Dear Ms. Smith:

I would like to request a thirty-day leave of absence for personal reasons. If possible, I would like to leave work on May 1 and return on June 1.

If approved, I will be traveling during this time period, but I would be glad to assist with any questions via email or phone.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

George Jenkins (signature on hard copy letter)

George Jenkins”

The example and document to download the template can be found here.

How to ask for a leave of absence? (With samples)

Sample 2: Leave of absence

“Your Name

Your Address

Your City, State Zip Code

Your Phone Number

Date

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 April 1, 2019, through June 30, 2019.

I will return to work on July 1, 2019.

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.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name”

An example is taken from ‘The Balance Careers’.

Sample 3: Medical Leave of absence

“Aug. 8, 20XX

Roberto Diaz

ABC Company, Inc.

1234 E. Main St.

San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Mr. Diaz,

I am writing to request a one-month medical leave of absence beginning Monday, Sept. 10, and ending Wednesday, Oct. 10. I will be having surgery—my surgeon has ordered a minimum three-week recovery period (see doctor’s signed recommendation attached.)

I am happy to assist in handling any necessary preparations before beginning my leave, including training colleagues on upcoming projects. Thank you so much for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Dave Smith”

The example is taken from ‘Indeed’.

How to ask for a leave of absence? (With samples)

Sample 4: Personal Leave of absence

“Feb. 1, 20XX

Deborah Jones

ABC Company, Inc.

1234 E. Main St.

San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Ms. Jones,

I am submitting this request for a leave of absence to tend to important personal matters beginning next month. If possible, I would like to take my leave beginning March 15 and return to the office on April 3, 20XX.

I can make myself available intermittently to answer questions via phone or email, and am happy to do whatever necessary to ensure a smooth transition before my leave begins.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Johanna Jansen”

The example is taken from ‘Indeed’.

Why is this blog about how to ask for a leave of absence important?

Knowing how to ask for leave of absence since doing it the wrong way will mean having a rejection from your employer.

Also, consider how not all the reasons are automatically considered good reasons.

However, we have discussed some simple tips and things you need to consider before requesting a leave of absence such as knowing about your company policies and your legal rights to increase the probability of receiving approval. 

Moreover, here are a few samples that you can adapt to your own personal circumstances when you decide to formally request your leave of absence. 

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to ask for a leave of absence

How do I ask my boss for a leave?

Before you ask your boss for leave, make sure you know your legal rights and the company’s policies regarding time off.

After you have done your research, discuss it with your boss first and then follow up in writing (making a copy can be useful for documentation purposes).

Give your employer the letter for leave of absence in advance to they can have time to determine whether they accept your request or reject it. Make sure you have a plan B if this happens.

How do I ask for a leave of absence sample?

A leave of absence sample may include the request for a leave of absence with a brief explanation (a reason why) you are asking for the leave, the dates you expect to be away and when you plan to return to work.

Offer to provide further assistance, if possible and make sure to thank your employer for considering your request in the first place.

What is a good reason for a leave of absence?

There are many good reasons for a leave of absence but your employer might disagree on those reasons.

If you need to request a leave of absence here are some of the ‘good reasons’:
Personal and family emergencies (e.g. health problems)
Birth or adoption of a child
Feeling too stressed or overwhelmed with work
Taking care of your health due to a new or ongoing health condition
Death of a loved one
The pursuit of a hobby
Desire to travel

How long can you take a leave of absence from work?

How long you can actually take a leave of absence from work will depend on your employer and company’s policies.

Depending on the circumstances or the situation they may have some time frames stipulated.

Make sure you consult it with your boss or the HR manager.

How do I apply for leave for personal reasons?

To apply for leave for personal reasons, make sure you submit an application in writing through a letter or an email.

Here is a short example from ultimateletter.com:

“(Subject: leave application to boss for personal reasons)

Respect Sir, With due respect, I would like to request you for work leave. I need this leave on (date) [ For Example: I need work leave on 10th May] or from (date) to (date) [ For Example: I need work leave from 10th May to 13th May] for some personal reason.”

References 

Snider, S. (2019, Jan.) How to Ask for a Leave of Absence. Retrieved from Money.usnews.com.

Doyle, A. (2020, Apr.) How to Request a Leave of Absence From Work. Retrieved from Thebalancecareers.com.

Doyle, A. (2020, Jan.) Formal Leave of Absence Letter Request Example. Retrieved from Thebalancecareers.com.

Indeed.com: “Leave of Absence Letter Request (With Examples)”

How to ask for a leave of absence? (With samples)

Daniela Paez

Daniela Paez is a Clinical Psychologist with an MSc. In Clinical Neuropsychology from Bangor University. She has vast experience in working with children with disabilities, adolescents and their families, in extreme conditions of poverty and vulnerability. Additionally, she owns a private practice where she provides neuropsychological evaluation for children and adults, and treatment for mood disorders, anxiety, couple therapy, among other conditions.