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How to Write a Leave of Absence Letter for a Short Trip

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If you need to take a trip and will be unable to work for a short period of time, you should write your employer a letter explaining your circumstances. A short-term leave of absence can be anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. A long-term leave of absence can extend for several months to a year. The reasons for taking a short leave of absence can include visiting a newborn grandchild, a death in the family, legal issues in another state or simply needing a break.

Write “Leave of Absence Request” at the top of the letter. This will let your employer know right away that the letter is important and requires immediate attention. Leave a blank line, and then write your name, department and the date you are writing the letter.

Address the letter to your supervisor or to the company's human resources department. If the company is small, your supervisor is probably the appropriate person; in a larger company, the human resources department usually handles requests for leaves of absence. Write the name of the recipient or department beneath the date. If you are addressing the letter to a specific person, include that person's title. For example, Joe Smith, Head of Human Resources.

State why you are taking a leave of absence. In this first paragraph, give the reason for your leave and the date it is to begin. You can also include your anticipated date to return to work in this paragraph. For example, “I will be taking a trip to Illinois to see my new granddaughter. My leave of absence will begin May 1, 2011, and I expect to return on May 15, 2011.”

Identify those who will be responsible for your duties in the second paragraph. List any projects you are working on and who can take over your role and responsibilities for them. You can also list any co-workers who can take over your day-to-day duties in the office while you are gone. For example, “Judy Johnson will be handling all communication, and Sam Smith will be conducting all research for the marketing research project in my absence.”

Indicate if you will be taking any paid leave. Let your employer know if you have vacation or sick time available and if you wish to take it during your leave. Depending upon the reason for your leave, you might not be able to take any benefit pay or you might be limited to only a portion of it.

Restate when you will be returning to work in the next paragraph. If you have verbally discussed your leave with your employer, remind him of this, along with your expected return date. For example, you could write, “Per our conversation of April 26, 2011, I will be returning from my leave of absence on May 15, 2011.”

In the final paragraph, thank your employer for letting you take a short term leave of absence. If you wish, you can leave contact information in this paragraph so your employer knows how to get in touch with you in an emergency.

Skip a line after the paragraph thanking your employer and close with "Sincerely." Sign the letter below the closing, and print your name beneath your signature. If you have an employee number, include it beside or below your printed name.


Type your letter for a more professional presentation. Keep the tone of your letter professional and courteous.

  • Type your letter for a more professional presentation.
  • Keep the tone of your letter professional and courteous.

Heather Leigh Landon has been a writer since 1988 when she started her career as a stringer for "The McHenry Star News." Since then she has worked for newspapers such as "The Woodstock Independent," "The Northwest Herald" and "Press Journal." Landon graduated from William Rainey Harper College with an Associate of Applied Science in journalism.

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