Leave of Absence Letter Example

leave of absence request
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Life is complicated and many jobs these days are more than full-time commitments. For these reasons, it's not unusual to find yourself needing to take a leave of absence at some point during your career.

The potential reasons for said leave are many and varied: you might want to take a sabbatical, so that you can travel or dedicate yourself to learning a new skill, or you might need to care for a family member or a new child.

Whatever your reasons for taking the leave, it's important to put your request in the right way. Not only will a properly worded and formatted letter increase your odds of getting your leave request approved, it will go a long way toward making sure that your working relationship with your boss and your employer stays strong during your time away.

Before You Write the Letter

Anticipate your needs during your leave of absence. Before putting in your request, make sure you know how you'll afford day-to-day expenses while you're not being paid, as well as what will happen with any health insurance benefits or other perks. Will you retain your status as an employee, in terms of vesting in stock options or pension benefits? Do you have enough money in savings not only to cover your expenses, but to cover unexpected emergencies such as a broken car or home appliance?

Figure out if you're covered under FMLA. The Family and Medical Leave Act, enacted in 1993, offers eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period.

Generally, it applies to people who work for companies with more than 50 employees and need time off to care for a new baby, adopted child, spouse, or parent, or to deal with needs arising from a spouse, child, or parent serving in the military (active duty only). Keep in mind that FMLA requires that you provide 30-day advance notice, in writing, if your need for a leave is foreseeable (such as the anticipated birth of a child).

In an emergency situation, such as a sudden hospitalization, this 30-day requirement is waived.

Know your employer’s leave policies: Most companies and firms have their own policies regarding the conditions under which they allow personal leave, how they assess employee eligibility for leave, how much time they are willing to grant, and what consequences may result if an employee goes on an extended personal leave. A comprehensive employee manual should explain these policies; it is also worth making an appointment with your HR department to discuss their official requirements for leave. A few good questions to ask:

  • Will you be able to return to your current position at your same rank and pay scale?
  • What is the maximum length of time you will be allowed to remain on leave?
  • What is the procedure you should follow (and the consequences that might ensue) should you find you need additional leave time?
  • Will you be invested in the company’s health plan during your leave?

Reconfirm the answers to these questions with your manager, in writing, when your request is approved, just to ensure that there are no ambiguities in the terms of your leave.

Give as much notice as possible. This is more than good manners; it's a practical necessity.

If your leave is approved, your manager and HR representative will need to move a lot of pieces to make sure everything is processed appropriately and to arrange coverage during your absence.

Letter Example Requesting a Leave of Absence From a Job

This leave of absence example letter provides a written request for a leave of absence from work for personal reasons. The letter offers to answer questions while the employee is on leave and provides a return date for returning to work.

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number


City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

I would like to request a thirty-day leave of absence for personal reasons. If possible, I would like to leave work on July 1 and return on August 1.

If approved, I will be traveling during this time period, but I would be glad to assist with any questions via email or phone.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

Read More: How to Ask for a Leave of Absence