Documentation is important when you request a leave of absence from your employer. A formal letter provides proof of your request and outlines several key aspects of your leave, such as the date you would like your leave to begin and the expected duration. Offering these details will help you ensure that your company receives adequate notification of your leave and can make plans to cover your position while you are away from work.
Check with your supervisor or human resources department to determine what type of documentation is needed before you write your letter and to whom you should address your letter. In addition to the letter, your company might require you to complete a request for leave form. If your leave is due to medical reasons, a note or other documentation from your doctor might be needed.
Address the letter to the appropriate supervisor or manager. Begin your letter by mentioning that you are requesting a leave. If you know the duration, state it in the first sentence. For example, you might write, “I would like to request a leave of absence, which I expect to last a minimum of four weeks.”
State the reason for the leave. You might mention that your doctor has recommended surgery for your ruptured Achilles tendon or that you are requesting a leave to care for a sick family member. If a personal problem is the reason for the request, simply state that you need to attend to a personal issue during your leave time.
Discuss any plans you’ve made to ensure that your department runs smoothly while you are away. For example, you might write, “Dave Montana will handle my caseload while I’m out of the office, and I will be available for telephone or email questions should he or my colleagues have an important question.” Speak to your co-workers first before formally offering their services during your absence.
End the letter by thanking your supervisor for his consideration of your request. Ask him to let you know if he has any concerns or questions. Attach medical certificates or any required forms to the letter before you give it to your supervisor.
If you don’t want your boss to know the intimate details of your medical problem, tell your health care team before they fill out those forms, advises the Cancer and Careers website. If you don’t, they might list more details about your problem than you feel comfortable sharing with your employer.
Investigate your leave options before you make your request. If your company employs at least 50 employees, and you’ve worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, you are eligible to take an unpaid family and medical leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides employees of qualifying companies with up to 12 weeks of leave per year for a variety of circumstances, including your own illness or the illness of an immediate family member, pregnancy and birth, care of newborns and adoption of a child. Your company's leave policy might be even more flexible than the federal law, so it's a good idea to review your employee handbook before you write your letter.
Don’t blindside your boss with your letter. Speak to him before you give him the letter and discuss your need for a leave and your suggestions regarding how the department can best handle your absence.