If you ever find yourself bummed out with work and quitting is not an option, then, maybe, all you need is to take a break from it. However, you cannot just get out and go without a formal notice. Professional etiquette dictates that you formally inform your employer that you need days (or weeks) of absence to help yourself in recuperating from whatever you are suffering. In cases such as this one, you need to furnish a leave letter.
Elements of a Good Leave Letter
A leave letter is a business letter that formally requests a time-off for the employee to the employer. They are brief, concise, and have the following elements:
- Reason/s for leave: A leave letter must contain the employees reason/s for his or her absence from work. This will ensure that there is transparency between the employee and the employer which makes up for a great company culture. In some cases, employers even extend an offer of assistance to the employee upon knowing about the latter’s reason.
- Format: Leave letters are business letters, which means that it must look professional. The format of a leave letter pertains to the margin, spacing, and indention in the content. These formatting elements must remain consistent throughout the letter.
- Contact details: Contact details are there to enable the employer to reach out to the employee should there be emergencies during the latter’s absence. Leaving a mode of contact also displays the employee’s openness and willingness to act on urgent company situations.
- Time frame: A leave letter should state the days that an employee will be absent for work so the manager can arrange for proxies, if needed. It should also also be sent out days before the planned absence except for emergency situations.
- Tone: The tone of the leave letter should be formal. The employee is requesting for his or her right to leave and not demanding it, so he or she must remain respectful and professional. The letter should also never miss out on the formalities such as the right salutation (Dear Mr. Joseph Cruz, for example, and not To Whom It May Concern) and complimentary close (Sincerely yours).
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Steps to Make a Great Leave Letter
- State your purpose and your reason in the first paragraph: From the get-go, state in your first paragraph that you will be absent from work and your reasons for it. Also state the duration of your leave, from the first day that you will be absent to the day that you will be back for work. This part is pretty direct and does not need any dramatic introduction, so keep it short but complete with information.
- Assure your employer that work is taken cared of: The second part of your letter should basically answer the question, “What about your current projects?” It is in this paragraph where you divulge your project timeline of a task that you are currently working on. If the tasks at hand need to be done as soon as possible and your absence will affect its urgent completion, suggest some people who can finish it for you. Be as detailed as possible in explaining your proposed process flow with the proxy. Having a plan during your absence will not only bring confidence to your employer but to you as well. Knowing that everything will be taken cared of will encourage your employer to approve your request for leave and will also take the work out of your mind when you take your vacation.
- Say your thanks: You still don’t know if your request for leave will be approved yet, but thank your employer nonetheless. This is also the part where you leave your contact details so the people from your work can still reach out to you in case of emergencies.
Tips for a Great Leave Letter
- Know about your company’s policy regarding absences: Before writing your leave letter, get yourself to know about the rules to follow when filing for a leave of absence. Leaves are mandated by different labor codes and laws and are protected by labor organizations, so you should not be afraid when requesting for one. However, you still have to adhere to your company’s specifics when it comes to filing for absence as you will know what will happen to your pay check and other bonuses. If you do not understand some of the policies or you have some matters that need to be discussed, arrange a talk with your human resource manager to clarify all the ambiguities.
- Submit the letter, then talk with your employer: There can be some things that your letter cannot communicate to your employer, so it is always best to arrange a talk after he or she will finish reading the letter. Talking in person will resolve any differences in interpretation and will ease your mind knowing that your employer holds no bad ends on your absence.
- Attach a supporting document: Except for absences made for personal leisure, always attach a paper or form that serves as proof of your reason for leave. For example, if you have been tasked to attend a court proceeding, then attach the court document requesting your presence; or, if you are to attend a holiday party that is only celebrated by your religion, then append a document that details about this particular celebration. This will create trust between you and your employer.
Types of Leave Letters
- Vacation Leave Letters: Vacation leave letters are furnished when an employee will be away from work because he or she will be taking a vacation. They are sent in advance so the manager can determine if the absence will take a toll in the company’s productivity and prepare a solution if it ever does create a repercussion.
- Holiday Leave: These are for leaves made when an employee is off due to a celebration of a holiday. Being absent at work during a holiday that is widely celebrated don’t actually require any leave letter. However, for the holidays that are not nationally decreed like religion-specific or culture-specific holidays, one needs to furnish a leave letter.
- Leave for Court Duty: In some countries where the court can issue a person to serve as a part of the jury for days, these letters are pretty common. Jury duty entails the employee to be part of a democratic justice system. Aside from that, employees also submit court leave letters when they are facing civil cases, suits, and subpoenas. These letters are often appended with an official document from court as proof.
- Compensatory Leave: This type of leave pertains to the off time that an employee request due to working over time. Compensatory leave are approved in exchange of overtime pay.
- Medical Leave: These are off-times that are requested by an employee to address a medical issue, may it be personal or familial. A medical leave includes sickness, maternity, and paternity leave. Companies have different stance regarding medical leave so it is always best to review the codes and policies before filing one.
- Funeral Leave: These are leave letters made by an employee who will be attending a wake or spend some time grieving.
Leave Letter Template Sizes
Leave letters are printed on documents with a standard size of 8.5 inches by 11 inches or 8.5 inches by 14 inches.
Leave Letter FAQs
How soon do I send out a leave letter?
Companies have varying policies regarding how soon you need to request a leave, but it is usually at least a week before your absence. However, if it is for unexpected circumstances that need to be urgently taken cared of, your company will understand if you cannot furnish a leave letter beforehand, just be sure to communicate once you will have the time.
Am I getting paid for my leave?
Companies set a number of paid leave that you can take, which is the number of days that you can be absent from work but can still get paid for. Review your company policies so you will not exceed the allowable leaves.
Now that you know the different elements and processes involved in furnishing a leave letter, you are now ready to write one. Always remember that it is a friendly but professional correspondence between you and your employer, and, in the end, will help out the company by bringing back the productive employee that you once were after you get recharged in your planned vacation. Fingers crossed that it will be approved, your healthy escape from work will then be just a few sleeps away.