How to Request For a Leave of Absence

How to Request For a Leave of Absence

Sometimes, employees and workers may need to take time off work for personal and even professional reasons. The official, best, and ideal way to go about it is by requesting or applying for a leave of absence from work. Such request must be in written form and addressed to the employer or organization. It is unprofessional to request a leave of absence over the phone; even if the situation is an emergency or urgent, try and go about it the right way. You don’t want your employer to start second-guessing you and your personality.

Additionally, requesting or soliciting for a leave of absence from work the right way enhances your chances of getting approval. The employer or organizations aren’t comfortable with workers that don’t follow or adhere to laid down rules and regulations.  Although the process can be stressful and exhausting, it is important to be patient and steadfast. Also, make sure that the request is framed properly and convincingly to avoid conflict; this will boost your chances of getting approval. Similarly, do your research on the company’s steps or procedure on how to apply for a leave of absence before applying.

Certain circumstances may require employees to request a leave of absence; these include the loss of a loved one or maternity leave for example. Requesting for a leave of absence can be tricky for employees that work remotely. Most of these employees tend to use emails or phone calls instead of applying officially. Also, the process should start with your immediate supervisor or manager. Therefore, this article will focus on the meaning of a leave of absence; the reason for asking for such leave, and tips on how to request a leave of absence from work.


Meaning of a Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is an authorized prolonged absence from work for any reason.  In other words, a leave of absence involves an employee taking time off work for an extended period after receiving approval from the organization. A leave of absence can be voluntary or mandatory;

There are several acceptable reasons for taking a leave of absence; however, getting approval is dependent on the employer or organization. Keep in mind that the employer is not obligated to grant your request; they have the right to turn it down depending on the circumstance or reason.


Reasons for Requesting for a Leave of Absence

Some of the reasons why employees request a leave of absence include;

  1. To go on maternity leave.
  2. To get an extended vacation.
  3. Employees may request a leave of absence to take care of a sick immediate family member.
  4. When an employee has a serious health condition, they can request a leave of absence for treatment.
  5. Also, the loss of a loved one can make employees request a leave of absence from work.
  6. Other reasons are military leave, short or long-term disability, and ongoing education.


Things to Consider Before Asking for a Leave of Absence from Work

Provide clear start and end dates: It is important to make your request clear and specific by providing dates. This will enable your employer to make contingency plans for the given period. Thus, consider and choose a specific start and end dates and boost your chances of getting approval.

Explore other alternatives: Sometimes, it might get too busy at the workplace; employers rarely approve requests for leave during such a period. Hence consider whether you can work from home or part-time before requesting a leave of absence.

Discuss with your coworkers: Well, you can seek advice from your colleagues on the best way to go about your request. Often, individuals underestimate the importance of soliciting advice and suggestions at work. Remember, some of your colleagues might have gone on leave of absence before, and can provide you with tips on how best to go about it.

Make sure you are qualified by checking your eligibility: Importantly, you should check the company’s guidelines on leave of absence before applying. It is essential to know if you are eligible or not.

Plan your next steps before submitting your request: If the organization turns down your request for a leave of absence; will you continue with the job or leave permanently? The next steps will vary significantly depending on the reason for the leave. Therefore, try and have some ideas in mind as to how you will respond if your request is denied.

Consider the implications to your benefits and plan your finances: Finally, you should explore the effects of such leave of absence on your employee benefits. Will you be paid during the period of the leave? Will your additional benefits be paid or cut off? Also, make sure you can pay your bills without the normal cash flow from your work.


How to Ask for a Leave of Absence

Use the following steps to request a leave of absence from your employer;

  • Check the organization’s policy on leave of absences
  • Speak with your immediate supervisor
  • Put your request in writing
  • Give advance or prior notice
  • Don’t provide any legal ultimatum with your initial request
  • Offer to assist the company when possible

Check the organization’s policy on leave of absence: Depending on the organization, there are procedures and a policy document on leave of absence. Hence, check with the human resource, the company’s website, or your employee handbook to find out what you are expected to do before you apply. Specifically, look out for the length of leave, the types of leave, the conditions attached to the leave, and whether they offer paid or unpaid leave. If you are ok or comfortable with the conditions, go ahead and submit your request. In contrast, try and negotiate with your employer if such conditions are not favorable.

Speak with your immediate supervisor: Next, meet your immediate supervisor to express your need for a leave of absence since it might have the running of the organization. You don’t want your immediate supervisor to hear the news from human resources or upper management first. Word can spread fast in the workplace, and for the best response, you should talk to your direct manager or supervisor before broaching the topic with anyone else. If possible, work with your immediate supervisor to develop an agreeable plan that works for all and sundry.

Put your request in writing: Remember we talked about being professional when requesting a leave of absence from work. Therefore, submit your request formally by letter or email; be sure to include the reasons for your request and clarify anything you are willing and able to do to ease the transition. Similarly, your request should include the type of leave you want and specific start and end dates. Also, ask if there are specific steps you need to take to make your leave official. Although stating the reasons for a leave of absence is optional in some organizations, it is advisable to mention it at least; especially if it is compelling.

Give advance or prior notice: Most employees make the mistake of bombarding their employer with requests for leave of absence at the wrong time. Timing is important especially at crucial periods of the work cycle. Hence, try to make your request well ahead of time or loop your boss in on a life event that may cause you to take a leave of absence. For example, if you are pregnant, you may consider letting your supervisor know when you are a couple of months along so they can start taking steps to prepare for your impending absence. The organization may need a few weeks to get a temporary professional that will cover your position or make a plan to manage your workload.

Don’t provide any legal ultimatum with your initial request: Sometimes, employees make the mistake of giving a legal ultimatum when requesting a leave of absence; this may come back to haunt you in the future. Therefore, let your employers feel that they are in control and can allow you to take the leave of absence out of goodwill. If necessary, you can invoke any legal protection later on with the assistance of your human resource department, but legality should not come up in your first request.

Offer to assist the company when possible: If you are able to, it is professional to assist your employer in making plans to manage your workload while you are away. You could offer to help find or train a temporary replacement, explain your workload to your coworkers or leave instructions about your duties.

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