Sometimes circumstances require you to temporarily stop reporting to your position. Whether you have advance knowledge of the situation or an emergency arises, a leave letter lets your employer know about it. Writing a letter explaining a temporary leave of absence is a vital step to ensuring professionalism and a job to return to.
Including specific information is important when writing this kind of letter. In addition to providing a valid reason for taking time off work, you should indicate whether the leave will take effect immediately or at a future date. The letter should also provide a tentative or solid date for your return to your position. If any or a few of these key pieces are missed, or if the letter is poorly written, you may be at risk of losing your position or not getting the leave you need.
Writing a leave of absence letter may seem intimidating, but reading and learning from a solid sample can help. Study these leave letter templates and the included writing tips to write your own professional leave letter.
Leave Letter Templates
Bereavement Leave Letter
When a family member passes, you may take bereavement leave. Typically, bereavement lasts two weeks to give you time to arrange and attend services. In addition to your immediate family members, bereavement covers parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members. See the leave letter templates to better understand what makes a professional bereavement leave letter.
Emergency Leave Letter
Although you should attempt to provide notice when taking a leave of absence, emergencies happen. Examples of emergencies when you would need an emergency leave letter include a house fire or you or a family member suffering an unexpected illness or medical situation. If you need to take time off work beginning immediately, use one of our leave letter templates.
Leave of Absence From Work Letter
You may request voluntary leave if you want to further your education or if you are dealing with personal stress and need to regroup. Although not all companies honor such requests, our leave letter templates can help you create a leave of absence from work letter that may impress your employer.
General Leave Letter
Most companies will accept a general leave letter as long as you provide certain information. The leave letter templates will show you appropriate formatting and which information to include. Generally, a well-written letter will include the date you wish to take your leave, when you’ll return, and why you want to take leave.
Leave Letter Writing Etiquette
1. Don’t get too personal
Your employer needs to know why you want to take a leave of absence, but you don’t need to go into too much detail. For example, if you need time off to deal with an illness, you don’t need to explain what illness you have. Simply state that you need time to deal with a medical issue and provide a date you plan to return to work. Keep in mind that being too personal isn’t only unprofessional but could be detrimental to your own needs. An employer with concerns that you may need additional time off could decide to find a reason to let you go permanently.
2. Consider when you take your leave
Of course, you can’t help it if you need to take an emergency leave of absence. However, if you need time off for a voluntary reason such as elective surgery or to further your education, try to present your leave letter when it is most convenient for your company. Consider when work is the slowest and do your best to take time off then. Do your best to return to work before the busiest time of year begins. Doing so ensures your company feels the ramification of your departure as little as possible.
3. Follow company procedure
If you aren’t familiar with your company’s procedure for requesting time off, talk to the human resources department and follow the directions you receive. You may need to make your initial request to your immediate supervisor and/or fill out specific paperwork and submit your letter by a certain deadline to make your request official. Never discuss your leave with co-workers before speaking to your supervisor. Your boss should always know about your plans before anyone else in the company does. Never skip steps in the procedure. Doing so could leave you without an approved request or even cause bigger issues for you.
4. Remain positive
You don’t want your leave of absence letter to be negative or angry. Don’t whine or vent about your situation. Even if you are dealing with a stressful personal situation, keep your letter positive. Mention how much you love your job and that you’ll be looking forward to returning to work. Avoid unintentionally using your supervisor as a listening ear if you wish to remain professional.
5. Don’t be greedy
Even if your company has a particularly open-ended policy regarding taking leave, don’t take more time than you need just because you can. When providing a date to return to work in your letter, ensure it is within company policy but also fits your needs. Always list your return date as expected. This gives you some leeway to speak with your supervisor in case you find you can return sooner or need to take a few more days or weeks.
6. Submit your leave letter far in advance
With the exception of an emergency, never wait until the last minute to submit your leave letter. Provide as much notice as you can. Remember, just because you won’t be at work doesn’t mean your job won’t need doing. Your supervisor needs ample time to find a temporary replacement or another solution for while you are away. Ideally, you will submit your leave letter several weeks to months prior to your departure.
7. Send copies to your team
Depending on the type of job you have, your boss may not be the only one to feel your absence. If you work with a team that depends on you to complete tasks, send copies of your leave letter to them once your supervisor approves it. This gives your team enough notice that they can plan for your absence by redistributing work or coming up with other productive solutions. You may also wish—or need—to send copies to other supervisors or department heads or to the human resources team.
8. Write your letter as a request
The law may require your company to approve leave requests for situations such as having or adopting a child or dealing with major illness. However, even if you know your boss needs to approve your request, never write your letter as a demand. This can be seen as pushy and rude. Forming your letter as a nice request like our leave letter templates minimizes the chance of a confrontation and shows your supervisor that you care about the job and fully intend to return to your position.
9. Offer to train your temporary replacement
If you know your company will need to hire a temporary replacement and you aren’t leaving immediately to tend to an emergency, dedicate a sentence in your leave letter to offering to train your temporary replacement for at least two weeks prior to your leave of absence. Taking some of the burden off your employer makes it more likely he or she will approve your request.
10. Indicate whether you’ll be reachable while on leaveDepending on why you’re taking a leave of absence, you may wish to make yourself conditionally available. If you can answer questions a temporary replacement may have or if you’ll still be able to help the most important client if he or she calls, your supervisor will know you truly intend to return to your position. However, if you will not be able to assist at all, you don’t need to reiterate this in the letter as it may come across as rude.