A leave of absence letter is a formal letter you write to your supervisor to request a leave of absence from work. It is an essential document of your personnel file, providing a written record of the notice you have given your company in advance of your impending leave of absence.
Your letter documents the reason for your request. While you can explain your situation in person, a written letter explains your need for time off. This makes the request easier for your manager or HR person to understand.
The letter can be forwarded to other executives within the company rather than relying on a manager to explain the situation. From a legal standpoint, this formal letter also records your request if your case falls under situations protected by law, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
If the leave of absence is approved, it is recommended for both employers and employees to outline the terms of the leave in a leave of absence agreement.
When a Leave of Absence Letter Is Needed
It’s important to submit a formal leave of absence request for time off not covered by sick or personal days, following company policy or legal requirements like ADA and FMLA. Before requesting a leave of absence, check if your leave request aligns with the employee handbook and applicable laws.
For instance, the company must have 50 employees or more to be required to adhere to FMLA. Your situation must also meet the criteria, and you may need to provide documentation from a physician or other party.
If you’re chosen for jury duty, the company must give you the time off without compromising your employment. Many companies have their protocol for dealing with lengthy absences. They may offer to use your existing vacation and personal days to allow the maximum paid time off for your situation.
Even if your situation isn’t explicitly covered by law or company policies, it’s still essential to formally request a leave of absence. Experienced and dependable employees are invaluable assets to the company, and such requests can ultimately benefit both parties.
Consequences of Not Using a Leave of Absence Letter
Without this letter, there’s no record that you requested a leave of absence.
For example, you have a verbal conversation with a manager. The manager grants your leave of absence but doesn’t record it anywhere in your employment file or notify other executives. The company may automatically terminate you once your absence exceeds your accrued paid time and vacation days.
Some companies have rules that fall under “no call/no show.” This means that an employee who is absent without notice will be penalized. It’s possible that you would lose your vacation, sick days, and position if you didn’t follow the protocol of formally writing this letter.
Most Common Uses for a Leave of Absence Letter
You might wish to take a leave of absence from work for many reasons. Some of these are covered under the law. Some of them may be covered under your company’s policies.
These are a few of the most common reasons why people request a formal leave of absence:
- Birth of a Child. Maternity and Paternity leave is often covered under the company policy and FMLA. Your company may allow for a set number of paid weeks off.
- Death in the Family. Many companies allow for extended days off when there’s a death in the family.
- Military Duty/Family Member. Military leave of absence is often covered. This might include employees who are members of the armed forces. It might also have family members in the military.
- Health Reasons. Health reasons might include surgery, ongoing medical issues, trauma caused by an accident, or mental health issues such as depression.
- Education. In some scenarios, employees will request to pursue advanced training.
- Care for Ailing Family Members. Many employees take time off to care for family members suffering from an injury or illness.
What Should be Included in a Leave of Absence Letter?
Your letter should be concise and clear. There are a few pieces of information that are important to include:
- The Date. The date should be included at the top of the letter.
- Your Information. This includes your name, title or position, home address, email, and phone number.
- Your Manager’s Information. This shows a record of who the request was made. It’s also the standard way to address any letter to an individual.
- The Reason for the Request. This would be a brief explanation of the reason you need time off.
- The Dates of Your Proposed Absence. Your letter should include exact dates.
You may discuss the matter with your supervisor about the request before writing the leave of absence letter. In that case, you should reference the date of the discussion in the body of the letter.
Many employees write the majority of their correspondence through email. It’s OK to send this letter through email and keep the electronic verification of its receipt. The hard copy of the letter makes it more formal.
Sample Leave of Absence Letter
The sample leave of absence letter below shows what a typical one looks like: