Composing an effective, professional medical leave letter can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Depending on the specific health issue, you may already feel emotionally and/or physically overwhelmed. On the other hand, you might also feel anxiety about how your absence will impact ongoing projects for which you are responsible, or even worry that your manager will count it against you when judging your performance as an employee.By their very nature, health complications are often unpredictable and complicated. However, providing your employer with a brief explanation and timeline until your return is essential. Our medical leave letter templates and writing tips can help you to write a concise document that lays out your needs clearly and respectfully.
Medical Leave Letter Template
Below is an example of a medical leave letter. Jennifer Wright has composed this letter because she must take some time off to help her father, who lives alone in another state. His physician recently diagnosed him with cancer, and Jennifer has arranged to help him move to an assisted living facility near her home. The circumstances are stressful and complicated, but Jennifer does an excellent job detailing her personal needs while also addressing her professional responsibilities.
I am writing to request family medical leave beginning this Friday, September 1. I am sorry that I am unable to give more than two days’ notice, but my father’s health issues have recently become critical.
Earlier this year, my father, who lives in Boise, Idaho, received diagnosis of an advanced, aggressive form of cancer. He is 75, and also suffering from early signs of dementia. He had an appointment to undergo surgery last week. However, at that time the medical staff determined that he was not mentally competent to do so. He has agreed to come live with me in Portland while we find an assisted living situation for him.
I will be flying to Boise this Friday, and we plan on driving back to Portland over the weekend. I anticipate having his living arrangements here settled by the end of next week, and hope to be back at work full time by Monday, September 11th.
I have made arrangements for Maria and Jake to field my accounts during my week’s absence. Please feel free to contact me by mobile phone or email should any emergency issues come up that I can advise on.
Thank you for your understanding.
How To Write a Medical Leave Letter
Whether you are requesting time off for yourself or to care for a loved one, composing a leave request may seem overwhelming at first. Remember that the purpose of a medical leave letter is threefold: to inform your employer of the dates you will be away from work, address any arrangements that need to happen in order to cover your workload, and provide appropriate contact information if possible.
Your opening should be brief, respectful, and to-the-point. Explain that you are requesting leave and indicate the exact date it will begin. You should also acknowledge that you regret the impact your absence may have on your team, especially if you must make the request on short notice.
Next, provide a short summary of the medical situation, explaining why you will need to be absent. In our sample medical leave letter template, Jennifer outlines the nature and severity of the circumstances briefly, then sets an expected date on which she will be back at work full time. Setting an exact date of return helps employers to quickly gauge the impact that your time away will have on your department in general and your role in particular.
Finally, make sure that you close by explaining any plans to have your duties covered while you are absent. Identify colleagues who will be able to handle ongoing tasks and let your manager know that you will arrange (or have already arranged) this with them. Depending on your circumstances, you may also include contact information in case unusual issues come up in your area of responsibility. Close the letter with a polite, respectful sign-off.
What To Avoid in Your Medical Leave Letter
Not providing accurate dates, skipping contact information and failing to provide a plan for your absence are three of the biggest mistakes you can make when formally requesting leave. Make sure that you double check that your departure and return dates are correct.
If you prefer that your employer not contact you during your absence, make sure to make this clear in your letter. However, it is a good idea to maintain open lines of communication if you can. This is especially true if you are going to be away for an extended period or have a critical role that others at work rely on to do their jobs.
Failing to plan for your absence is another important mistake to avoid. While your employer is legally obligated to grant time off for medical leave, you should consider it your professional responsibility to minimize the impact of your absence on company performance. In your message, make sure to detail any tasks that your employer will need to monitor or handle during this time.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Medical Leave Letter
If you have enough advance notice, it’s often a good idea to approach your manager informally to discuss your absence. Of course, after you send the letter, it is crucial that you follow up and confirm that you are both in agreement about your departure and return dates, as well as plans for covering your workload.
While you certainly do not have to explain why you will be leaving temporarily, it is courteous to let your colleagues know in advance as well. If you have tapped any co-workers to take on your duties, make sure to schedule some time with them to ensure that they thoroughly understand their interim responsibilities. If your position involves technical aspects, you may also want to create reference documents that lay out processes clearly and thoroughly.
Top 5 Medical Leave Letter Writing Takeaways
1. Get right to the point
As in our template, your opening should concisely state the purpose of your message. This gets your audience’s attention and quickly puts the reader on notice to watch for important details to follow.
2. Prepare notes beforehand
Before you begin writing, make a list of important dates and details that you will need to cover. In addition to facts about the medical situation and departure and return times, try to anticipate how your absence will affect your department.
3. Be brief
Make sure to stick to critical information and organize your letter into distinct sections: an introduction that announces your request and gives your departure date, a body that gives a timeline of your absence, and a concluding section that discusses arrangements to cover your responsibilities.
4. Follow up and confirm
Do not assume that your letter alone is enough. Make sure to have a face-to-face conversation with your manager confirming the details of your letter. Before you leave, double check with any co-workers who will be taking over your duties to ensure they are comfortable with the work.
5. Be respectful and professional
A little graciousness goes a long way. Keep the tone of your letter courteous and professional. Try to keep in mind that an employee absence may put considerable strain on others in your department.