We cannot overestimate the importance of a leave of absence in the workplace. This guide will help you create a formal and professional leave of absence letter that you can use to inform your employer of your leave.
Every employee deserves a leave of absence once in a while. Either to take some time off to rest or to take time off from work for an extended period of time. You can request a leave of absence from your employer if you need to be away from work.
Present your cause for absence effectively to help your employer prepare for your absence. In this post, we’ll go over some of the ways to put your request in writing when taking a leave of absence.
What is a Leave of Absence?
Employee leave of absence is time off work requested by an employee to address specific circumstances in their lives.
When an employee’s time off from work is not covered by an employer’s current benefits, such as sick leave, paid vacation, paid holidays, or paid time off, an unpaid leave of absence is used.
A leave of absence policy allows employees to take time off from work for an extended length of time. It might be voluntary (such as a sabbatical or maternity leave) or involuntary (such as unemployment) (like a health problem or work performance issue).
Some employers pay their employees while they are on leave, while others do not. Employers are required to offer a leave of absence in some instances, but not in others.
Regardless of the type, a leave of absence policy ensures that an employee will have a job when they return. It also ensures that employees’ benefits, like health insurance and retirement savings, will continue to be available.
Employees may be perplexed as to when and why they should take a leave of absence. Some people may take advantage of the process rather than look for new work since they are unsatisfied with their current job.
Others may be unaware that it is an alternative that can assist them in getting through a difficult period and returning to work in a happier, healthier state.
Employers can plan ahead and put their coworkers up for success while they’re away with a formal leave of absence request. Employers can at the very least be more sympathetic once they understand what’s going on.
Leave of Absence vs Paid Time Off (PTO)
A leave of absence is a mechanism for employees who are experiencing unusual circumstances to take time off work. It is not to be confused with paid time off (PTO) or vacation time.
Childbirth, adoption, caring for an ill family member, major health conditions, or military leave are all common reasons. Employees may be allowed to leave under federal or state law in situations like these.
Employers might use voluntary leave policies to supplement their legal duties as a recruitment and engagement strategy.
Unpaid leave does not pay the employee during their absence, but it does assure employment continuity, which is vital in the case of some employer-provided benefits like vacation time or health insurance coverage.
During an unpaid leave of absence, the employee may be required to pay for additional benefits such as dental or life insurance.
Consider the situation where you have a sick relative. You’ve learned that their disease has deteriorated and that they don’t have much time to live, and you’ve been named the executor of their estate.
When this relative passes away, bereavement time may allow you to grieve and attend funeral services, but if you require further time to settle the estate, you’ll need to request a leave of absence.
Mandatory Leave vs Voluntary Leave of Absence
There are two sorts of leave available: mandatory and voluntary.
A mandatory leave of absence is governed by federal and/or state regulations.
‣ Medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), military leave, jury service, and other state-mandated leaves are among them.
‣ The number of employees working for your firm and where an employee works are typically used to determine whether the legislation surrounding these leaves of absence applies to you.
‣ In certain cases, you must provide qualified employees with job-protected leave.
Leaves of absence are not required by law.
‣ Employees are given these leaves of absence as a courtesy or as part of a collective bargaining agreement with a labor organization.
‣ Employees who have used up all of their paid time off, such as sick leave and PTO, and who do not otherwise qualify for compulsory breaks are frequently offered medical or personal leave.
A personal leave of absence may be provided to enable extended leave for a unique reason, such as an educational opportunity.
‣ Because these are optional leaves, you give them at your discretion and in accordance with the parameters you’ve established in the leave policies.
Furthermore, you are not required to provide employment protection during a voluntary leave, though you may do so if you like.
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When a Leave of Absence Can Be Protected Legally
An employer may be obligated by law to offer a leave of absence in certain circumstances.
1. Jury duty
Most jurisdictions demand time off for jury service, but federal law does not require the employer to pay the employee during this time.
2. Military Service
An employer is legally compelled to grant an unpaid leave of absence for an employee’s military service under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
It also ensures that they will be covered by health insurance while they are gone.
Some states mandate employers to let employees take time off to vote, however, the amount of time off and whether it is paid or unpaid varies by state.
Find out what state and federal regulations apply to your circumstances, because your employer may not be able to refuse your leave request.
In any situation, the employer will require a leave of absence application process and policy. The policy must be applied without discrimination by the employer.
Employers who have a policy in place ensure that all leave of absence applications are treated fairly and equally.
Requesting an unpaid leave of absence differs from negotiating an employee’s benefit, such as a flexible schedule, in which the employer must perceive a benefit in granting your request.
When it comes to unpaid leave, you may find yourself in the position of needing to request it even if you don’t want to.
4. Leave for Medical Reasons
Your short-term or long-term disability insurance may cover you if you run out of FMLA leave or aren’t covered by the FMLA.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, you may be qualified for a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation (ADAAA).
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADAAA) is a civil rights law that protects disabled people from discrimination in the workplace, education, and other places.
It applies to businesses with 15 or more employees and mandates that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees with permanent or temporary disabilities. This gives them time away from work to cater to these medical issues.
5. Leave of Absence for Maternity or Paternity
Each state may have its own set of rules for parental leave. For example, Rhode Island guarantees at least four weeks of paid leave, but other states may give different amounts of paid time off (or none at all).
Furthermore, employees who have worked for their company for at least 12 months, have worked at least 1250 hours, and report to or receive work assignments from a location with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius are eligible for FMLA.
Certain employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). During the leave, their group health benefits must also be maintained.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a labor law that requires eligible firms to provide unpaid leave to employees for qualifying medical or family reasons.
A leave of absence usually does not come with pay, but it does ensure that someone can return to work without punishment. People can take continuous leave, intermittent leave, or reduce their work schedule under FMLA criteria.
The FMLA was created to help employees balance work and family obligations by allowing them to take appropriate unpaid absences for family and medical reasons.
It also aims to protect businesses’ legitimate interests while promoting equal employment opportunities for men and women.
All government institutions, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and businesses with 50 or more employees are covered by the FMLA.
These employers must grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to an eligible employee each year for any of the following reasons:
For the birth and care of an employee’s newborn child; for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee; for the care of an immediate family member (i.e., spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition.
Also, for the employee to take medical leave when unable to work due to a serious health condition.
Employees who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, for at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months, and at a site where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles are eligible for leave.
The FLSA standards for determining compensable hours of work are used to establish whether an employee has worked the required 1,250 hours.
Working time lost due to pregnancy difficulties can be deducted from the 12 weeks of family and medical leave.
Military family leave provisions, which were initially included in the FMLA in 2008, provide FMLA protections tailored to military families requirements.
Employees of local education agencies are subject to special rules. FMLA is administered by the United States Department of Labor, while most federal employees are covered by the Office of Personnel Management.
Tips for Writing a Leave of Absence Letter
To request a leave of absence from your workplace, follow these steps:
1. Review the company’s policies
Check your company’s policies by consulting your employee handbook or contacting an HR representative before requesting a leave of absence. Examine your company’s policy for leave periods, types of leave, and whether paid or unpaid leave is available.
2. Think about whether there are any other options
If you are able to work, you may be able to work out a different agreement with your employer. Take up temporary part-time work, flexible hours, work from home, or telecommuting, for example.
You can still earn money this way, and your boss may not need to delegate your task.
3. Figure out how long your leave will last
Determine when your leave of absence will begin and conclude, if possible. You may not know when you will be able to return to work in some instances, such as when you are dealing with a medical crisis or caring for a loved one.
Providing an estimate, on the other hand, can assist your supervisor in determining the best plan for covering your work while you are gone.
4. Write your desire
Send a formal letter or email requesting a leave of absence. Your request should specify the sort of leave you require as well as the length of time you require, as well as a return date. Inquire about any requirements for making your leave official.
It’s up to you whether or not you reveal the particular reason for your leave of absence, but if you have a close relationship with your boss or a compelling reason, it might be a good idea to explain why you need more time off.
5. Speak to your boss
Because your absence from work may have a big impact on your firm, it is preferable to meet with your boss in person if possible. To address your need for a leave of absence, try to schedule a meeting with your immediate supervisor.
Send a follow-up email after your chat to confirm the terms of your leave.
6. Inform your boss of your absence
Work with your boss to figure out the best way to inform the rest of the team of your absence. If your employer has a defined communication procedure, follow it when communicating.
While some companies may inform all of the coworkers of your departure, others may only talk with those who work directly with you.
Samples of Leave of Absence Letters
The following are leave of absence letters that can help you draft yours.
Sample 1: Leave of Absence via Email
September 1, 2022
Subject: Personal Leave of Absence
I’m writing to confirm my leave of absence from October 1 to October 31 as we discussed earlier today. Thank you for providing me with this private time with my family.
Please let me know what I can do to assist with the transition before I depart, and if there are any measures I should take to make my leave official.
Sample 2: Hard Written Leave of Absence
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number
City, State Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]:
This letter is an official leave of absence request in response to our meeting yesterday. I’d like to request a leave of absence from October 31, 2021, to November 30, 2022, as we planned.
On December 2, 2022, I will return to work.
If you require any additional information or have any questions, please let me know.
Thank you so much for taking the time to consider giving me this personal leave.
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Sample 3: Formal Request for Leave of Absence
123 Dexter Street
New York, New York 12345
Dear Ms. Jones,
I’m submitting my formal request for a leave of absence from my work as sales manager after our meeting on November 15. From December 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023, I shall be off work.
If my request is granted, I am eager to assist in the preparation of a plan to handle my job obligations while I am away from work. If necessary, I may be reached by phone or email to assist with any questions that may arise.
Please let me know if you require any other information. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about the leave and for considering my request.
Sample 4: Email Leave of Absence for Family Issues
Subject Line: [Lee Jones’s Leave of Absence]
May 19, 2022
Due to a recent family issue, I’m writing to request a formal leave of absence from work beginning next month. This leave will last from June 8, 2022, to August 2, 2022.
On August 5, 2022, I intend to return to work. This is a tentative date based on my present family circumstances, as previously stated. If I need to make a plan to return to work at a later period, I will notify you with sufficient warning.
In advance of my leave, I am willing to teach my colleagues to complete tasks and connect with my clients while I am away. During my leave, I will be available to answer urgent questions by email or cell phone on a regular basis.
Thank you for your time and consideration during this process.
Lee [email protected]
Sample 5: Two-week Leave of Absence Request
[Your Phone Number]
[Other Relevant Contact Information]
May 8, 2022
[Your Supervisor’s Name]
[Company or Organization]
[Company or Organization Address]
Dear [Supervisor’s name],
This is a formal written request for a two-week leave of absence due to personal reasons. If this is still a schedule that works for you, I would like to take this leave from June 4, 2022, to June 15, 2022, as we agreed in our conversation yesterday.
On June 18, 2022, I will be able to return to work.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you prepare for my absence. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional queries.
Thank you for your patience during this trying time.
Sample 6: Medical Leave of Absence via Email
Subject: Medical Leave Request–Tasha Jones
Dear Mr. James,
I’d like to take a leave of absence for medical reasons.
On June 10, I will undergo pancreatic tumor removal surgery and anticipate returning to work in four to five weeks.
I can give formal documentation from the surgeon if necessary.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sample 7: Leave for Absence for Traveling
Oklahoma City, Yukon, ZIP: 45689
May 18, 2022
Mr. Dickson John
5677 Company Avenue
Oklahoma City, Yukon, ZIP: 73085
Dear Mr. Dickson,
For personal reasons, I’d like to take a sixty-day leave of absence. I’d want to go on June 1st and return on August 1st.
During this time, I will be traveling and will have limited access to email and phone. If my request is authorized, I will be happy to answer any questions by email or phone as soon as I receive a signal.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Reasons to Take a Leave of Absence
There are other scenarios in which you may be qualified for a leave of absence that is given at the employer’s discretion, aside from FMLA considerations.
The following are some examples of reasons for taking a leave of absence:
‣ Service leave
‣ Temporary disability
‣ Long-term impairment
‣ Personal or family leave
‣ Continued education
‣ Longer vacation
Reasons Not to Take a Leave of Absence
There aren’t many reasons to take a leave of absence that are “bad.” Experts suggest that if you ask the right questions, anything from a medical emergency to taking time off due to stress might be considered fair game. You can even request a leave of absence to attend drug rehab.
However, you might wish to keep the exact cause for your vacation a secret by calling it a “medical procedure my physician prescribed”. Of course, a lot depends on your relationship with your employer.
If you’re taking a paid leave of absence and the timing is within your control, it’s probably not a good idea to become bankrupt in the process. Before taking time off, make sure that your finances and savings are in good shape.
Of course, you may be placed on a leave of absence without asking for it. If an employee is accused of improper behavior, for example, the corporation may place him on paid leave while the allegations are examined.
Alternatively, an employee may need to request time off to serve on a jury. Ensure to include this in your leave request form or letter.
Tips for Initiating a Leave of Absence Request
Employees should enlighten themselves on what the firm’s rules say about taking a leave of absence and what the law says about it before going into a meeting.
One piece of advice: don’t make the request to your boss. You don’t want to catch them off guard. Let them know as soon as something in your life occurs that may cause you to take a leave of absence so they can plan and prepare.
For example, you might wish to inform your boss that you’re eight or twelve weeks pregnant. You don’t have to notify the entire office at that time – and you can ask your boss to keep your pregnancy status a secret until you’re ready to reveal it.
This gives your boss about seven months to start planning how to cover your duties while you’re on maternity leave, which may include hiring a temporary replacement.
When feasible, try to collaborate with your supervisor. Perhaps you can devise a strategy to work from home for a few weeks while recovering from surgery.
Alternatively, you may take a voluntary leave of absence during the company’s slower offseason rather than during peak season.
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What to Do When Writing for Leave of Absence
While your request for leave will be unique to your circumstances, there are a few general guidelines you may follow to make the process go as smoothly as possible:
‣ Give a specific start and end date: Giving your leave of absence a start and end date can help to make your request more explicit and unambiguous.
‣ Consider your options: Before requesting a leave of absence, consider whether you could work part-time or from home instead of leaving work completely.
‣ Inform your colleagues: After you have communicated your leave to your employer, send a notice to your coworkers that you will be gone.
The Process of Taking a Leave of Absence
Give your employer as much warning as possible when you request a leave of absence, as they will need to ensure that your important job functions are covered by other employees while you are away.
Notify your employer right away if you think you might need or want to take time off. Request an unpaid leave of absence and explain why you need it and when you plan to return to work in a polite manner.
Consult your boss in person to request the leave, but follow up in writing to ensure the specifics are confirmed. You could volunteer to collaborate with your boss or employer about how to cover your duties while you’re away. This demonstrates your willingness to help.
When you take a leave of absence, you should usually inform your coworkers and colleagues. You don’t have to explain why, but because they’ll be picking up the slack while you’re gone, it’s polite to let them know when you’ll be back.
You should also let your consumers or clients know who they can contact while you’re away.
Frequently Asked Questions