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How to Write a Letter Requesting Time Off From Work

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Births, deaths, illnesses, subpoenas and jury duty are examples of the kinds of events that might require you to request time off from work. Requesting a leave of absence can induce feelings of guilt. You might worry about job security and also about whether or not the request will be honored. Making a strong case for your need for time off can alleviate some of these concerns and increase the likelihood that you'll get what you're asking for.

Check your employer's policies regarding leaves of absence; there may be an outline in the company handbook. Your company's human resources department may be able to help as well. There may even be a form to fill out and include with your letter.

Start a business letter with the date, a space, then the full name, title, company and address of the individual you are addressing. In some cases, the name will not be known, so leave it blank.

Open the letter with your reasons for writing the letter. Describe the event that is causing you to request time off.

Discuss specifics of your time off. Say what you will be doing during your time off and how long you plan to be gone.

Discuss the work that you have performed for the company, and assure the letter recipient that you will leave no loose ends during your time away. Offer to telecommute if this is possible and realistic. Even though you want to assure your employer that there will be no problems while you are gone, don't make it look as though you're not needed on the job--or you might find yourself without a job.

In your closing paragraph, leave contact information so your employer can reach you. Include an email address, phone number and home address. In some cases, it is appropriate to write this information at the very top or very bottom of the letter.

Finish with a thank you, a salutation and skip several lines before typing your name. Once the letter is printed, place your signature in the blank space between the salutation and your printed name.

Print off at least one copy for the recipient and one for yourself. It is always a good idea to have copies of formal documents of this nature.


Be straightforward, brief, and honest. This is a formal letter, so be formal and professional. Do not give too much information. Your manager does not need to know, for instance, the nature of the disease that you or a family member is experiencing. Do not indent paragraphs in a business letter.


A poorly written request can damage your reputation in the workplace.