Leave of Absence Letter: Leave of absence letter. Everyone has to skip work occasionally due to illness, appointments, or other personal reasons. Some firms require employees to provide a written letter stating when and why they were absent from work.
Leave of Absence Letter Request Writing Tips
Leave Without Pay (LWOP) is unpaid leave enabling an absence of employment that has been authorized or consented to by the employer.
In Australia, the majority of organizations will allow staff to take personal leave without pay (or LWOP as it might appear on a payslip) for certain reasons.
Common Leave Without Pay Reasons
It’s important to acknowledge that ultimately the Employer can grant LWOP for any reason with the following some of the common reasons employees ask for Leave Without Pay:
They need additional time off for an extended holiday but have exhausted all their annual leave.
1. Time 0ff to Study
They are recovering from a major illness and have exhausted their sick leave or need to attend healthcare appointments
2. Career Breaks
They’ve recently become a parent and want to spend more time with the baby to support their partner but have exhausted their maternity/paternity leave entitlements.
Typically Leave Without Pay only applies or can be accessed when an employee’s annual leave or personal leave is exhausted.
Specifically related to COVID, as an employee, the situations where LWOP may apply include:
‣ Is in Government directed OR optional self-isolation and is not sick (i.e. has returned from overseas and feels well)
‣ Has come into contact with a known case of COVID-19 and is in Government directed OR optional self-isolation and is not sick
‣ Has come into contact with a suspected case of COVID-19 and is in Government directed OR optional self-isolation and is not sick
‣ Is stuck overseas (on a cruise ship etc) due to COVID-19
Other Things You Should Know about LWOP
While there is no general entitlement to unpaid leave under the Fair Work Act 2009, there are some provisions that deal with the question of when unpaid leave can be taken. In other cases, it is a matter of agreement between the employer and employee.
There are however two areas where unpaid leave is protected by law:
‣ Caring or parental rights such as parental leave
‣ Time off to carry out public duties, specifically jury service and magistrate duties
‣ Outside of these two, unpaid leave approval is at the employer’s discretion.
‣ An employee is not entitled to be paid for public holidays that fall during a period of leave without pay.
‣ An employee absent on leave without pay does not accrue annual leave during that period of absence.
‣ Long service leave will continue to accrue while an employee is on leave without pay, as the employee’s continuity of service includes periods of unpaid leave.
What is a Leave of Absence?
A leave of absence is time allowed away from work, generally requested by an employee to cover special circumstances occurring in the employee’s life.
An unpaid leave of absence is used when the employee’s time off from work is not covered under an employer’s existing benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation, paid holidays, and paid time off.
Unpaid leave doesn’t provide wages to the employee during their time away, but it does ensure employment continuity.
This can be important, especially regarding certain employer-paid benefits such as accrued vacation time or health insurance coverage.
The employee may need to pay for other benefits such as dental insurance or life insurance during an unpaid leave of absence.
As an example, imagine you have an ailing relative. You have found out their illness has progressed and they don’t have much longer to live, and you have been designated as the estate administrator.
When this relative dies, bereavement time may provide you time off to mourn and attend funeral services, but if you need more time to handle the estate, you’d need to ask for a leave of absence.
In a second example, say you have just welcomed a newborn into your family.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), your job is protected for 12 weeks after the baby’s birth or adoption into your family.
Because your employer has more than 50 employees and you’ve worked there more than 1,250 hours. (Your boss is not required to pay you for those 12 weeks, however).
You are fairly certain that you will want to remain home with your infant child for a period of time after I used your family medical leave benefits, so you would ask for a leave of absence to extend your time at home with the new baby.
When a Leave of Absence May Be Legally Protected
There are some instances when an employer is legally required to provide a leave of absence.
Jury duty: Time off for jury duty is required by law in most jurisdictions, although the employer is not required by federal law to pay the employee during the time off.
If the employer does choose to pay an employee during their time away from work for jury duty, they may set policies about how long they are willing to pay the employee’s salary for an extended trial.
Military duty: Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), an employer is legally required to provide an unpaid leave of absence for an employee’s military service.
It also ensures that they can maintain health insurance coverage while they are away.
Voting: Some jurisdictions require that employers allow workers to take time off to vote, but how much and whether that leave is paid or unpaid varies by state.
Find out the state and federal laws that apply to your situation, because your employer may not have the right to refuse your request for leave.
In any case, the employer needs an application process and policy for granting a leave of absence. The employer must apply the policy in a nondiscriminatory manner.
With a policy in place, employers ensure that they are fairly and equitably treating all employee applications for a leave of absence.
Asking for an unpaid leave of absence is different from negotiating an employee benefit such as a flexible schedule, where you need the employer to see some benefit for themselves in granting your request.
With unpaid leave, you may find yourself in the position of having to ask for it even when taking leave would not be your choice.
How Does a Leave of Absence Work?
When you ask for a leave of absence, give your employer as much notice as you can, because they will have to make sure that your essential job duties are covered by other employees while you are gone.
Notify your employer as soon as you discover that you might need or want to take leave.
Ask politely for an unpaid leave of absence and provide an explanation about why you need the leave and when you plan to return to work.
Consult your employer face-to-face to ask for the leave, but follow up in writing to make sure you have the details confirmed.
You may offer to brainstorm with your manager or employer about how to cover your job while you are on leave of absence. This shows you are willing to provide solutions.
You’ll probably also want to let your colleagues and coworkers know when you are taking a leave of absence.
You don’t need to tell them the reason, but since they will be picking up the slack while you are off, it’s a courtesy to tell them when you expect to return.
You may also want to tell your customers or clients who they can contact when you’re away.
Leave of Absence Letter for Personal Reasons Example
What’s the best way to handle it when you need a leave of absence from work? There are many reasons why you may need to take a leave of absence from your job.
You may have personal or family-related reasons for requiring extended time away from work.
If you have a job you’re happy with, it can make good sense to request a leave, if feasible, rather than resigning from your position.
Even if the organization isn’t legally required to grant you leave or company policy doesn’t provide for personal or family leave, you may still be able to work out an arrangement with your employer.
How to Ask for a Personal Leave
This is the type of conversation that’s better conducted in person than via email. The discussion with your supervisor or human resources department should be followed by a leave of absence letter citing your personal reasons.
Your request will be documented, and the terms of your leave will be put into writing, which will help ensure a smooth transition from, and back to, employment.
Here’s some information on types of work leave, how to request a leave of absence for personal reasons, and a sample letter to give you an idea of how to write your own request.
Legally Required Leaves of Absence
There are certain circumstances under which your employer, by law, has to grant you the time off you request.
The company may not be legally required to pay you, either fully or in part, while you are away from your job, but there are legal protections to guarantee that you can return to your job when your leave is finished.
Some of the reasons for mandatory leave approval are the birth or adoption of a child, certain medical conditions, to honor a military commitment, or for a military caregiver.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides the legal guidelines businesses have to follow regarding mandatory leave for eligible employees.
There may also be other federal and state laws providing paid or unpaid leaves of absence from work, depending on the reason you are requesting the leave.
Check with your state department of labor for the availability of leave in your location.
Voluntary Leaves of Absence
Reasons for taking a voluntary leave would be more personal, like continuing your education, dealing with personal stress, or taking a break from work to travel for an extended period of time.
Company policy may provide options for taking a personal leave from your job. However, your employer is not required by law to grant voluntary, or personal, leave.
When you start your job, get to know what your rights and obligations are regarding requesting and taking a leave of absence. Guidelines can vary significantly between companies, so don’t assume that they are all alike.
Extended leave is often unpaid, but you may be able to use accrued vacation time if you can plan ahead.
In many circumstances, employers are happy to honor your request for a leave of absence, especially if you are open and honest with your boss about what you are going through and request the time off with plenty of notice.
Unfortunately, you will sometimes find yourself seeking leave unexpectedly and may not be able to give much warning ahead of time.
Whatever your circumstances, be sure to ask for an extended period of leave professionally and courteously.
Ask Verbally and in Writing
Plan to request your time off both verbally and in writing. It is always advisable to have a face-to-face conversation with your supervisor about your need to take a leave of absence.
You do not have to provide every detail about what you are dealing with, but the more aware your employer is about what you are going through, the more understanding they are likely to be.
That will increase your chances of getting your leave approved. You should follow up your in-person meeting with a written document clearly requesting the terms of your leave.
You can either email your letter or give it to your supervisor in person. Also, if you have a team of coworkers, you should notify them after your leave is approved.
You can also send an email to your colleagues as a group or individually, depending on the size of your company/department and how close you are to the people with whom you work.
The key is to be open and honest with those you work for and with, but remember, you only need to share as much detail as you are comfortable with regarding your leave.
What to Include in Your Letter
When you write your letter, there is some essential information you should include:
‣ Begin by stating how much time you are planning on taking off and when you would like the leave of absence to begin and end.
‣ Include a brief explanation of why you are taking the leave and perhaps state where you will be while you are away.
‣ If it is possible, offer your assistance and provide the best way to contact you during your time off.
‣ Be sure to thank your employer for considering your request.
Letter Example Requesting a Leave of Absence for Personal Reasons
16 Crossberry Lane
Declan, MI 12345
November 15, 2021
Human Resources Manager
Sanders, MI 12346
Dear Mr. Nguen,
I would like to formally request a two-month leave of absence for personal reasons. If possible, I would like the leave from work to begin on December 1, 2021, with a return date of February 1, 2022.
If approved, I will be staying with family in Lansing during this time period, and I would be glad to assist with any questions via email or phone whenever possible.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Sending an Email Leave Request
If you are sending your letter by email, you don’t need to include the contact information at the top of the message.
Your subject line should state something clear and concise, like: “Leave of Absence Request – [Firstname Lastname].” Begin your email with a salutation, and include your contact information with your signature.
Email Request for Personal Leave Example
Subject: Leave of Absence Request—Michaela Fox
As we discussed, I am requesting a personal leave of absence from work for family reasons from January 15, 2021, through February 28, 2022.
If approved, I will return to the office on March 1, 2022. I’d be glad to assist with planning for covering my responsibilities when I am away.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
What is the Family Medical Leave Act?
In the US, the Family and Medical Leave Act ensures eligible employees can take up to 12 workweeks of job-protected leave per 12-month period for things like the birth or adoption of a child.
Also, for a serious health condition affecting the employee or someone in their immediate family and military leave.
You may be eligible for FMLA if:
‣ You work for an employer covered by FMLA.
‣ You have worked for your employer for a minimum of 12 months.
‣ You have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months prior to taking leave.
‣ You work at a location that employs at least 50 employees (or has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius).
‣ Before taking a leave of absence, it is important to study your company’s leave policy. This can help you learn whether you are FMLA eligible and if your employer is likely to grant your request.
‣ If your employer does not have a leave policy or does not want to grant you a leave, taking the time off without their approval could be considered job abandonment or resignation both of which are grounds for termination.
‣ Always consult with your organization’s human resources department before writing a leave of absence request or temporarily leaving your job.
Requesting a Leave of Absence
There are a few things you should do before you submit your leave of absence request to your employer:
1. Familiarize yourself with your employer’s leave of absence policy
Some employers have a leave policy that outlines which circumstances are covered, as well as specific requirements and a process for applying.
Check your employee handbook for information about a leave of absence policy, or contact human resources to make sure you’re taking all the required steps.
2. Determine the approximate duration of your LOA
If you’re able, identify when your leave of absence will begin and end.
In some situations, such as when you are experiencing a medical problem or acting as the primary caregiver to a loved one, you may not know when you will be able to return to w ork.
However, providing an estimate will help your supervisor determine an appropriate plan for covering your work while you are away.
3. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your direct supervisor
Be sure to schedule time with your supervisor as soon as you know you will need to take extended leave. By giving them notice, they’ll have time to plan for your absence.
This might include hiring a contractor, distributing your workload among other team members, shifting project timelines and making sure the transition to and from your LOA goes smoothly for all parties.
4. Put your request in writing
Carefully compose a letter to your supervisor and be as detailed and transparent as possible. Because some employers may ask for a doctor’s note, you may want to have a document signed by your physician ahead of time.
If you do not feel comfortable sharing the details of your circumstances, you can request leave using more generic terms such as “personal reasons” or “medical reasons.”
5. Consider whether there are any alternatives
In some cases, if you are able to work, you can negotiate another arrangement with your employer. For example, you might take on temporary part-time work, flexible hours, work from home or telecommute.
This way you can still earn income and your supervisor may not need to delegate your work.
6. Communicate your leave of absence
Work with your employer to determine how and when is best to communicate your leave to the rest of your team. Your employer might have a specific process for this, so follow their instruction when communicating.
While some employers might announce your leave to all of your colleagues, others might just speak with those that work directly with you.
Example Leave of Absence Request Letters
Please keep in mind that the Family and Medical Leave Act has specific documentation you should use. For non-FMLA leave, here are two examples of leave of absence letters you can use to help you craft your leave request.
Please note that these are examples and should not be copied for use.
A Medical Leave of Absence
Aug. 8, 20XX
ABC Company, Inc.
1234 E. Main St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Dear Mr. Diaz,
I am writing to request a one-month medical leave of absence beginning Monday, Sept. 10, and ending Wednesday, Oct. 10. I will be having surgery—my surgeon has ordered a minimum three-week recovery period (see doctor’s signed recommendation attached.)
I am happy to assist in handling any necessary preparations before beginning my leave, including training colleagues on upcoming projects. Thank you so much for your understanding.
A Personal Leave of Absence
Feb. 1, 20XX
ABC Company, Inc.
1234 E. Main St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Dear Ms. Jones,
I am submitting this request for a leave of absence to tend to important personal matters beginning next month. If possible, I would like to take my leave beginning March 15 and return to the office on April 3, 20XX.
I can make myself available intermittently to answer questions via phone or email, and am happy to do whatever is necessary to ensure a smooth transition before my leave begins.
Thank you for your consideration.
When submitting a leave of absence request, it’s important to be as professional and timely as possible. By using these tips, you can ensure your employer understands your need for extended leave and increase your chances of getting the time off you request.
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When a Leave of Absence Letter is Needed
It’s a good policy to write a formal leave of absence letter in any case where you’re requesting time off from work that’s not covered by the sick days and personal days already granted by the company.
Prior to requesting a leave of absence, you should confirm whether that time off should be honored according to the employee handbook or state and federal laws.
The laws dictating reasonable requests for leaves of absence (such as the ADA and FMLA) have specific stipulations. For instance, the company must have 50 employees or more to be required to adhere to FMLA.
Your situation must also meet the criteria and you may need to provide documentation from a physician or other party.
In a case where you’re chosen for jury duty, the company must give you the time off without compromising your employment. Many companies have their own protocol for dealing with lengthy absences.
They may offer to use your existing vacation days and personal days to allow the maximum amount of paid time off for your situation.
If your situation is not covered under either the law or your company policies, it’s still worth your time to request the leave of absence formally.
While your company may not be legally bound to grant an extended leave of absence, it may still be to their benefit. A good employee with experience and a track record is a valuable asset.
Consequences of Not Using a Leave of Absence Letter
Without this letter, there’s no record that you requested the leave of absence.
For example, you have a verbal conversation with a manager. The manager grants your leave of absence but doesn’t record it anywhere in your employment file or notify other executives.
Once your absence extends past the paid time and vacation days you have accrued, you may be automatically terminated by the company.
In some companies, there are rules that fall under “no call/no show”. This means that it will penalize an employee who is absent without notice.
It’s possible that you would lose your vacation and sick days, as well as the position, if you didn’t follow the protocol of formally writing this letter.
Most Common Uses for a Leave of Absence Letter
There are many reasons you might wish to take a leave of absence from work. Some of these are covered under law. Some of them may be covered under your company’s own policies.
These are a few of the most common reasons why people request a formal leave of absence:
Birth of a Child. Maternity and Paternity leave are often covered under the company policy and FMLA. Your company may allow for a set number of paid weeks off.
Death in the Family. Many companies allow for extended days off when there’s a death in the family.
Military Duty/Family Member. Military leave of absences are often covered. This might include employees who are members of the armed forces. It might also include family members of the military.
Health Reasons. Health reasons might include a surgery, ongoing medical issues, trauma caused by an accident, or mental health issues such as depression.
Education. In some scenarios, employees will request it to pursue advanced training.
Care for Ailing Family Members. Many employees take time off to care for family members suffering from an injury or illness.
What Should be Included in a Leave of Absence Letter?
Your letter should be concise and clear. There are a few pieces of information that are important to include:
‣ The Date. The date should be included at the top of the letter.
‣ Your Information. This includes your name, title or position, your home address, email and phone numbers.
‣ Your Manager’s Information. This shows a record of who the request was made to. It’s also the standard way you’d address any letter to an individual.
‣ The Reason for the Request. This would be a brief explanation about the reason you need time off.
‣ The Dates of Your Proposed Absence. Your letter should include exact dates.
‣ You may have a discussion with your supervisor about the request prior to writing the leave of absence letter. In that case, you should reference the date of the discussion in the body of the letter.
‣ Many employees write the majority of their correspondence through email. It’s fine to send this letter through email and keep the electronic verification of its receipt. The hard copy of the letter makes it more formal.
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