How To Make a Time-Off Request (With Template and Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 23, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Taking time off from work to attend to personal issues or rest is sometimes necessary. Still, employers and managers often require employees to request it in advance. Understanding how to make a time-off request can help you receive the necessary permission while appearing professional to your manager or supervisor. In this article, we explore time-off requests, highlight how to ask for them, give tips to ensure you can appear professional while doing it, and provide a template and example to guide you.

What is a time-off request?

A time off request is a written request for permission from your supervisor to take a day or some days off from work. There are various reasons why you may formally opt for a day off. For instance, it can be for medical leave, bereavement, paternity or maternity, or to enjoy some personal time and a holiday.

Additionally, a time-off request can be a paid time off (PTO) or unpaid time off. For paid time off, you receive your wages or salary while away from work, while for unpaid, it's a duration away from the office without wages or salary. Also, provincial labour laws sometimes govern employee's eligibility for a minimum amount of time off.

Related: What Is Paid Vacation and How Does It Work?

How to make a time-off request

When requesting time off, there are specific steps you could take in order to maintain your professionalism and good standing with your managers:

1. Consider the organization's PTO policy

Before requesting time off, review your company's paid time off policy. This is to ensure your request complies with relevant company standards. For instance, some companies maintain specific policies regarding days off. But if your request complies with those policies, your manager is more likely to accept your request for time off.

In addition, confirm your current PTO hours before requesting time off. For instance, if you're new, your accrued PTO is usually minimal. Also, companies usually require new employees to complete probation before they can request a vacation. Similarly, you may be ineligible for more paid time off because you have exhausted your accrued time. As such, ensure you review the relevant employee handbook or consult with your human resource manager to get all necessary information about the company's PTO policies.

Related: PTO vs. Vacation: Advantages and How To Use Them Effectively

2. Consider the company calendar

Before speaking to your manager about the days off, review the company calendar and ensure that the day or period you plan to be off work doesn't conflict with important company events. For instance, if there's an annual general meeting where you present an important report, waiting until after the meeting and presentation is a better option. You can also speak with your human resource manager to ask for the best period to take personal time off if you're unsure. Again, this demonstrates to your company that you prioritize business interests.

Related: How To Learn More About a Company's Culture

3. Explain your request to your manager

After selecting a time that fits into the company schedule, discuss your time off request with your manager. When informing your manager, highlight the period you're considering, and request your manager's input to schedule a convenient time for the department. Often, this can improve your chances of getting approval for your request. Asking for time off after completing a large or important project for the department could also improve your chances, as you've demonstrated your hard work and commitment. Suggest a morning meeting with your manager before the day's work and state your reasons for time off clearly.

Related: How To Write an Email Requesting Something

4. Send a formal time-off request

Speaking with your manager doesn't constitute a formal request for time off. Once you complete the discussion and reach a favourable outcome with your manager, you can send your formal request. What constitutes a formal request usually differs from company to company. For instance, in some companies, sending an email or completing a form suffices, while others require that you request in person or submit your request to their online timekeeping software. Ensure you comply with the relevant company rules when submitting your request.

Related: How To Ask for a Day Off the Proper Way in 6 Simple Steps

5. Acknowledge the reply

Once you complete your formal request, the company decides and informs you of whether you can take the leave. If the result is positive, acknowledging it is important. You can write a reply email, thanking your manager for granting your request. You could also request clarifications and instructions on making the process more seamless for the company. For instance, this can involve selecting a short-term replacement during the period and committing to assisting the replacement if the need arises. Again, this demonstrates to the company that you still have their interests in mind while taking care of your own.

Related: Writing a Thank-You Message for Your Boss (With Tips and Examples)

Tips for asking for time off

Here are some more tips you can consider before asking for time off:

Ask instead of tell

Your manager is usually in charge of determining whether you receive approval for your time off. In turn, demonstrate respect and professionalism by asking them for permission when speaking to them. Rather than tell them or present the discussion as a means to inform them of your intention, approach the meeting requesting their input and permission.

Ask early rather than late

Most companies have a notice period for time off, which is usually non-negotiable. Still, even when your company doesn't have that in place, it's always better to ask earlier rather than wait until the last minute. Requesting early ensures that your company can have adequate time to make necessary adjustments to accommodate your request. For instance, asking early allows your manager to adjust the departmental work schedule to account for one less employee.

Give assurance

When requesting time off, assuring the manager is usually a good idea. This involves informing your manager that you have considered relevant factors to ensure the company can cope with your time off. For instance, you can state that your time off falls into a less hectic period of the year or that you're available to provide clarifications during your leave (or help your replacement, as mentioned above).

Inform your coworkers

After getting approval from your manager, inform your coworkers and colleagues that you plan on taking some time off and specify the period. This ensures that they can complete any joint task before you leave. It also ensures they're aware of the increased responsibilities to cover during your absence.

Provide options

You can also request help from your co-workers to volunteer to fill in for you during your absence. Afterwards, inform your manager about a possible temporary replacement for you, if you haven't already. This makes your manager's work easier and presents you as thorough and considerate.

Be flexible

Always demonstrate flexibility when requesting time off at work. For instance, show you can compromise to ensure the business runs smoothly. For example, you can offer to work overtime for the period preceding your leave to ensure you complete all your tasks. Where possible, you can also alter your plans by a day or some hours to cater to emergencies at work.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Unlimited PTO (With Tips)

Template day-off request

Follow this template to write an email request for time off:

Hi [Your supervisor's name],

I'm writing to request time off on [date] to [reasons]. I am available to discuss the details of my request in person at your earliest convenience.
Currently, I have no significant deadline scheduled for the period, and I can work extra time to ensure I complete anything pressing which may come up.

I look forward to your response.

Thank you and kind regards,
[Your name]

Example of a completed day off request

Here is an example of an email to guide you when requesting time off:

Dear Nia,

I write to request time off to join my family reunion in Ontario from the 3rd to the 7th of November, 2021. I am available to discuss the details of my request in person at your earliest convenience.
Currently, I have no significant deadline scheduled for the period, and I can work extra time to ensure I complete anything pressing which may come up. I am also available to respond by email to any questions during my time off.

I look forward to your response.
Thank you and kind regards,

Sarah

Related: Excuses to Leave Work Early (With Tips on How to Ask)

Explore more articles