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Table Of Contents

How to Request a Leave of Absence From Work

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Table Of Contents

There comes a time in every person’s career when they must request a leave of absence from work.

It can be as short as a couple of days, or it may be as long as a year or more.

Maybe the workload becomes too much to bear, or there are external issues that make the leave of absence necessary. In any case, an employee’s leave of absence can greatly disrupt normal operations.

What is a Leave of Absence?

A leave of absence from work is an extended period of time off.

Depending on your company’s policies and flexibility it may be really easy to get this time off. It may also depend on the type of work that you do. For instance, in collaborative teams, with projects already underway, it may be rather challenging to request a leave of absence.

Many workplaces have formal processes in place to manage this type of request. It’s important to follow the proper procedures. If you don’t know what the process is at your company, you should inquire with your HR department.

Sometimes, these things are difficult to plan. However, if you know you will need a leave of absence, plan ahead, and ask for it as early as possible.

It’s important to bring up the request properly, to be in good standing for when you return to work.

How to Request a Leave of Absence From Work?

The process will vary depending on the complexity or size of your organization.

In a more casual startup environment, requesting a leave of absence can be as simple as having a quick chat with your boss. However, be careful of “handshake” agreements.

For a longer period of leave, it is best to have your request documented. If you are planning to come back to the same job, you will want to document your discussion. In a fast-paced work environment, things can move quickly. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your position has been abolished while you were on a leave of absence.

Many companies will have guidelines for leave of absence eligibility. These guidelines may specify who can make absence requests, at which times, and for how long. Before making any type of request, make sure you familiarize yourself with your organization’s policies.

Formal Leave of Absence Letter

For companies that have a formal process in place, it may be necessary to write a formal leave of absence letter.

This might be especially true for a longer leave of absence, such as a yearlong sabbatical.

Elements to include in your formal leave of absence letter are:

  • all of your personal information (full name, address, current role at the company)
  • your departure date
  • your return date
  • the reason for your leave of absence
  • an alternative way to reach you if you will not have access to your company email
  • your signature
  • reception date of the letter

As part of the formal process, you might want to keep a signed copy of the letter for your records.

Send a Request Through an HR Application

In the modern workplace, paper-based and time-consuming processes should be automated. If your leave management process is automated, you may already have an HR Application to track leave requests, such as Vacation Tracker.

With Vacation Tracker, requesting leave is actually something to look forward to.

The dreaded, sometimes awkward face-to-face interaction is replaced by a convenient Slack slash command. Employees can type “/vacation” into any Slack channel and can book any type of leave without ever leaving Slack.

With the entirely customizable Leave Types, Administrators can enable users to go into a negative balance for their time off. This might be necessary for a longer leave, such as a yearlong sabbatical. Therefore, if you are only allowed to have say 10 days of vacation, but you are asking for a 3-week leave, then your balance could be negative by 5 days.

With Vacation Tracker, leave management is flexible and automated. Employers can even generate reports to help them make sense of the requests.

Requesting Leave Shouldn’t be Burden

Vacation Tracker’s free 7-day trial lets organizations test all of the features of the application, without any commitment. If you are looking to simplify your leave request process, it just might be the right solution for your team. If you are looking to formalize your processes in a user-friendly and low-cost way, it fits the bill as well.

Schedule a Discussion with Your Employer

Nevertheless, we do recommend having a discussion with your employer if you are requesting a longer leave. If you are requesting a longer-than-normal leave, it’s important to notify ahead of time. Scheduling an in-person discussion is your best option if the leave you are requesting involves particular circumstances.

Even if you will be requesting your leave through Vacation Tracker or another HR app, it’s best to speak to your employer. Maybe your employer will even have to create a new Leave Type to accommodate your specific leave request.

Kristina Ousmanova
Kristina Ousmanova

Kristina recently left behind fast-paced life of Human Resource Business Consulting to freelance as a Content Writer. A regular Vacation Tracker contributor, she can be found working remotely from her home in Montreal, usually while eating a variety of snacks.

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