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When we encounter an emergency, you may need to skip work to deal with it. Such a situation may involve accidents, illnesses, deaths, and more. As such, you would have to write a leave of absence letter to notify your employer of your predicament. This is a formal letter which documents your reason for requesting a leave.

When do you need a leave of absence letter?

In a letter of absence from work, you request for days off to attend to personal matters. These days aren’t covered by personal days and sick days granted by your company. It is always a good policy to complete a formal leave of absence form that notifies your employer of your situation.

But before you request a leave of absence, you must first find out whether the time off gets honored according to the federal and state laws or your employee handbook. The laws governing the request for leaves of absences like the FMLA and ADA have specific requirements.

In some cases, you might need to meet specific criteria along with your leave of absence letter. Here are some situations where you might need to create such letter sample:

  • If you have jury duty, your company must accept your letter of absence from work without prejudice to your employment.
  • Many companies have their own protocols when dealing with extended absences. For instance, one company may offer the use of existing personal days and vacation days allowing for the maximum amount of time-off with pay.
  • There could be instances when your situation isn’t covered under the law or by your company’s policies. Nevertheless, it’s still worth a try to formally request a leave of absence. Your company might not be legally obligated to grant your request but doing so could in the long run still be to its benefit.

Downloadable Templates:

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How long can you take a leave from work?

When it concerns small or medium-sized businesses, the thought of an employee leaving for a prolonged period of time could be very daunting, whether unpaid or paid. Just the need to cover for the employee’s workload could already be very challenging.

The maximum allowable amount of time for leave depends on each individual situation. Some requests for leave may have regulatory requirements while others don’t. The company has to determine how to balance its business interests with the leave requests of employees.

Many businesses know the importance of time off. Their employees are human and they need a break from work every now and then. Balancing work and life is essential to the wellness of employees to be able to retain their retention and productivity.

How the company can afford to allow employees to take leaves without or with pay depends on the reasons of the employee, the pressure on the company, and other factors. Whatever reason you have in your leave of absence letter, the company should have in place a policy for it.

This ensures that any time they deny or grant the employee, the decision will have to remain consistent with all of the employees. Discrimination can factor in if the company grants leave to one employee and not to another. Decisions should always remain fair and consistent.

When it comes to retaining employees, the granting of paid and unpaid leaves can be a valuable tool for retention and engagement. Employee leaves may cost the company some dollars and the absence could be a disruption to operations. But employers know better because these expenses are only short-term. Granting a couple of weeks or a month’s leave could mean keeping a high-value employee for years to come.

What to include in your leave of absence letter?

When you enjoy work at your present employment, you should write a letter of absence from work or accomplish a leave of absence form instead of resigning your position if you need to take some time off. Employers are well-informed of the best employees in the company.

So even if your employer isn’t legally obligated to grant you leave or that the company rules don’t provide for family and personal leaves, you could still work out a compromise or an agreement with your employer. When writing your leave of absence letter sample, include the following essential information:

  • Begin the letter by indicating the amount of time you plan to take off, when the leave would start, and when you plan to go back to work.
  • Give a short explanation of your reasons for taking time off.
  • If you can still offer assistance while on leave, provide the company with a way to contact you while you’re not around.

How do I write a leave of absence letter?

Whatever the reason for your leave of absence letter for school or letter of absence from work, it can be a nerve-wracking and tricky situation. If you really need time off, whether it be for personal reasons, illness or to further your education, you have to act on it as soon as possible. Here are some pointers you may want to consider to make your leave of absence easier for yourself and your company:

  • Submit your letter as early as possible
    For instance, if a close family member has a terminal disease, inform your employer of this fact beforehand about your plan to take time off should your relation pass away. Or if you’re scheduled to undergo an operation, let your employer know about it before the surgery takes place.
  • Give your employer a word of warning first before submitting your letter
    Talk to your employer about your plans to take some time off before sending the leave of absence letter. The best way to do this is face-to-face and in private. Send an email and ask for a short meeting about a personal matter. After the meeting, then send the letter to make your leave official.
  • Be as specific as possible
    A leave of absence carries a sense of urgency. Make the contents of your letter as honest as possible. Be open and transparent about your reasons for the time off. In cases where you’re writing a leave of absence letter for school, explain why you need to take time off too.
    If your reason is because of illness or to take care of a sick member of the family, state this. However, there is no need to go into detail if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
  • Have a discussion about who will handle your responsibilities while you’re away
    Make a plan on how to delegate your workload among your co-workers during your hiatus. The plan of action assigns your team members to continue your duties while you’re out of the office.
  • Consider alternatives
    If you can work remotely during your leave of absence, let your employer know. This benefits you and your employer as you would still earn your salary and your work still continues. This also means there would be no need to hire a temporary replacement to take over your chores.
  • Provide a copy to the HR Department
    This is Standard Operational Procedure. Don’t forget to furnish the HR Department with a copy of your letter as this information becomes part of your employee records. Moreover, HR can help you with your request when you involve them. This is especially important if they need to find a temporary replacement for you.
  • Review your letter before submitting
    Proofread the letter before sending to your employer. This ensures that you’re sending the correct details, dates, and you’ve made valid points.
  • Wait for a response within an appropriate time frame
    You need to wait for feedback from your employer. If there has been no response, don’t panic. Don’t hassle your employer for a reply either. Give it some time as your employer may still be in the process of deliberating your request before they finally give you an answer.

What is a good reason for leave of absence?

There are several reasons why you would write a leave of absence letter. The law covers some of these while your company may cover other reasons. Here is a list of the most common reasons why you would formally request a leave of absence:

  • Childbirth
    Generally, paternity and maternity leaves fall under the company’s policy and the FMLA. Your company may allow this with pay for a determined number of weeks.
  • Death in your family
    Many companies allow employees to take extended leaves when there is a death in the family.
  • Military Duty
    Most companies cover military leaves of absences. This may include employees who are part of the military and their family members.
  • Health Reasons
    This may include employees who need surgery, have ongoing medical conditions, trauma, mental health issues, and so on.
  • Education
    In some cases, employees request leave of absence to pursue advanced education or training.
  • To take care of sick family members
    In some cases, employees need to care for members of the family who suffer from an illness or injury.


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