TIME OFF REQUEST: Best Ways to Request For Time Off

Time off request
Image Source: Factorial

Standard organizations do have paid time off (PTO) which employees can use or choose not to use. Depending on the kind of work you do and the company where you work, you can use your company’s form or template to request your time off. If you need to take time off work for any tangible reason, you’ll have to simply request and get approval from your employer. The good news is, your request will be approved if your reason is tangibel enough. But then, your employer can also turn down your request. To avoid this, check out these proven tips on how to properly request your time off and get approval.

What is a Time Off Request?

A time-off request is a formal, approved excused absence from work. In simpler terms, it’s practically an employee’s formal request to take some time off from work. Depending on the organization’s policy, the employer may or may not grant the request. 

What are the reasons for the time off request?

Generally, there are several reasons why employees would request time off. The following are some of the most frequent ones;

  • Vacations
  • Personal time
  • Short-term or long-term leave of absence
  • Maternity or Paternity
  • Medical leave
  • Jury duty

Employees’ Time Off Request Form

In a standard organization, an employee who wishes to get an excused absence from the management is supposed to do that with the time off request form. The time off request form is a formal document that is used to submit a request for time off from work. An employee fills out the form, indicating the reason for the absence, and submits it to the employee. While it’s true that an employee is entitled to paid time off, the employer can still insist on denying the request. If that’s the case, however, courtesy demands that employers or human resource managers give their feedback on whether or not the request is approved as soon as possible.

What are the best organization’s time-off request practices?

The following are the best practice in setting up an organization’s time off request;

  • Draw up a policy that guides time-off requests in the organization.
  • The policy must provide guidelines where several employees’ time off requests fall within the same period.
  • Setting up a standard policy that grants requests according to how trivial the matter is.

Guide on How to Request Your Time Off

First, you need to understand it’s a request. This simply means the employer is free to grant the permission or not, whether it’s paid time off or not. The following are proven steps on how to request your time form using a form;

#1. Review Your Employee’s Handbook for Time Off Guidelines

Every standard organization has an employee handbook that outlines time off requests and how they will be done. There’s no rule that mandates organizations to abide by the U.S. suggested number of days for time off. The United States approves 10 days within a year for time off, and this excludes about 8 holidays that fall within a year. If you’ve never requested time off before, it’s advisable to go through your company’s employee handbook policies before requesting your time off.

Why is it important that you review your company’s employee handbook before making your request? 

Reviewing your company’s policy will help you know the number of days that it allows under certain conditions. You’ll also get to know the rules guiding paid time off (PTO) and unpaid time off within the organization. If you have enough paid time off (PTO), you can use it instead. If you do not, you can request unpaid leave. 

#2. Check your Company’s Calendar

Checking your company’s calendar before scheduling your time off request, only applies to a flexible request. If you intend to go on vacation, it’s okay. But if it’s something that can’t be delayed, you’ll have to go ahead and request your leave.

Why do you have to check Company’s Calendar?

There are times when a company’s schedule is full of a lot of projects and activities, and approving your time off demand may affect the productivity of the company. That’s why you need to move it to another time. However, this will only apply to flexible time off. 

#3. Specify the time of type

People want time off and make the request for several personal reasons. However, you must specify the reason for the time off in the template form before submitting it to your employer. 

#4. Inform Your boss or the Management

While it’s true that employees can simply submit their time off request, it’s advised to inform the management ahead of time. This helps you reach the agreed number of days as well as the perfect timing for your time of the request. 

#5. Make a Formal Request

The request form should be given to the relevant personnel as soon as possible. While some organizations demand the request form be submitted in person, others only demand email. Find out which of these options resonates with your organization and follow their demands. An excused absence is a time off request. This simply means the management needs to be informed in time. Make sure your request includes all the necessary information. Kindly save personal details and go straight to the point. 

#6. Inform Some of Your Colleagues

Well, there isn’t a law that mandates employees to inform colleagues of their scheduled absence from work, but it’s crucial. This is basically because they can stand in for you when the need arises. That’s also why building a healthy relationship with colleagues matters a lot.

Time Off Request Form Template

There’s no perfect template for a time-off request. As a general rule, every time off request template must include certain information such as the employee’s name, the date the request form was submitted, the date of the leave, and so on.

Content of a Time Off Request Form

  • Employee’s name and department
  • The number of requested time off
  • The length of the leave
  • Reason for the time off request
  • The employee’s signature
Time off Request
Image Credit: Clockify

Time Off Request Examples

There are several companies that have a time off request form that employees use to apply for approval. Each of these serves as a template for other companies. In the meantime, check out these request examples.

Example 1

Hello [manager’s or supervisor’s name],

I want to request time off on [date] as a result of [reason]. I wouldn’t mind a physical meeting with you, to further explain the reason for it.

Luckily, there are no deadlines or pressing projects that need attention during these periods [time off dates]. I would love used to use my paid time off. So is it okay to use it then for [ reason for request]? I look forward to your response.

Thank you,

Adam Brown

Example 1

Hello [manager’s or supervisor’s name],

I have three vacation days available and would like to use them at the end of September. I lost my grandma and her funeral service is scheduled for Sep. 23-25. I looked at our team schedule and observed there are no pressing engagements, projects, or tasks within those dates. I will be available by email during my vacation for quick questions. I’m open to discussing this in person if you want.

Thank you,
Diana Matts

Managing Employee Time Off Request

Every standard organization must manage its employees’ requests for time off in such a way that none of the parties is affected. Not the company and certainly not the employee. Requests for time off can be planned or unplanned, and this simply means you’ll have to manage it effectively because it’ll definitely come. For instance, a worker may lose someone dear to them and will need to attend the funeral. An employee can also be assigned jury duty and the law mandates you to grant the permission. This simply means that managing an employee’s time off request is crucial. So how can any business strategically manage its employees’ time off appeal?

#1. Draw up Time-Off Request Rules

The first step to managing your employee’s time off request is to draft the rules that govern such requests. Your employees’ handbook is incomplete without a policy that guides time-off requests. The policy must also cover paid vs. unpaid time off as well as the number of days assigned to each category of reasons why you need the time off. Your policy must also include guidelines that govern time off requests.

Employees, managers, and everyone within a company shouldn’t just be aware of your policy but must also understand the guidelines you establish to control the company’s time-off requests. Your time off policy should cover the following;

  • What happens when many workers seek time off?
  • How far in advance should a time-off request be made?
  • How should requests be submitted?
  • When will employees’ requests not be approved? 
  • A policy for overlapping requests
  • How frequently may time-off requests be made?
  • Considerations that are unique to your company.

#2. Get Your Time Off Request Form or Template Ready

The second tip on managing an employee’s time off request is to provide a form or template. How do you want employees to request their time off? Scribbling unclear information on a piece of paper, written letters, over the phone, via mail, oral communication, and so on.
You have to define these standards from the get-go. That’s why some businesses designed a time off request template for employees.

One of the things you must include in your policy is how employees’ requests will get to the management. If you settle for mail, then there must be someone who checks the mail often. If you decide it must be submitted in a written format, then you must ensure someone is always available to attend to it or fix a time-off mailbox within your company. You can also install an app that manages employees’ requests. Using apps comes with many benefits, such as increased notification to managers if requests overlap as well as reminding you of the scheduled time off. 

#3. Have a Backup Plan

This has a lot to do with how well you manage your employees’ requests. There’ll always be an overlapped request. How do you intend to cover it up? What if there’s an emergency within the company after two or three employees have gone on excused absence? Ensure you have a backup plan. 

If you have two software engineers in your company, it’s not ideal to grant them time off at the same time. The same applies to other departments too. There must always be someone who’s able to cover up while others are taking time off from work. 

#4. Consider Your Company’s Need

The final step to managing employee time off requests is to always put the company’s needs into consideration. There will always be a conflict of interest when it comes to time off requests. But then, you must ensure there’s a balance between employees’ needs and the company’s needs. If an employee’s time off is justifiable, you’ll have to grant the request. However, you must ensure it’s not to the detriment of the company.

Proven Tips for Requesting Time Off

If you intend to take time off soon and want it to be approved in record time, check out these proven tips;

#1. Rather than telling, ask

What does this really mean? It simply means you’ll have to submit a formal request even when you know you’ll likely get time off. It’s a request and a request must be made in an appropriate manner. Remember he can turn it down at his discretion.

#2. Request in Time

While the Society of Human Resources indicates an excused absence must be reported 48 hours before the day, every business is free to decide its notification time. If your company demands a 14-working-day notice for every time-off request that isn’t an emergency, you must abide by it. Failing to do so simply means your request will be denied. Generally, early requests allow managers to organize work schedules while you are away.

#3. Give assurance

Most often, time off requests is a conflict between business interests and their employees’ interest. Therefore, employees must assure the business never to slack in their responsibilities as soon as they return or to take up extra activities before the exact date. Offering to work while you are away is a good place to start. 

#4. Notify your coworkers

Inform your team and other colleagues about your time off, especially if they can cover for you while you are away. But then, do this only when you have received approval for your time off. 

Do I need a reason to request time off?

Does it need to be stated why you’re taking a leave of absence? No, but it also hinges on corporate policies. Most businesses have a certain amount of paid vacation days. Unless specifically stated, many employers do not require a justification for the time off.

Can a job tell you you can’t take time off?

You do have the authority to accept or reject the use of accumulated vacation time. But if you do, you should have a good business reason for it that you can prove. Additionally, this assumes that you consistently and impartially reject requests for vacation.

Can you take time off for personal reasons?

You have the right to leave employment in order to attend to a situation involving a dependent on you. This is referred to as “compassionate leave” at times. As long as your justifications are sincere, your employer cannot penalize you for taking the time off.

How do I get time off work for stress and anxiety?

Inform the human resources department of your employer that you would like to take a stress leave that has been granted under the FMLA. You will receive the essential documents to bring to your doctor from them.

When should I tell my employer about time off?

The information should be disseminated as soon as it can be done so professionally. Your candor will be valued by HR specialists and hiring managers. It will also be obvious that you are aware of the potential effects that your absence from the office may have on others.

Do I need to give a reason for a personal day?

A valid justification isn’t always required to take a personal day. If it has been a while since your last vacation or day off, you may occasionally just need to take a break to refuel.

Can a boss ask why you are sick?

Is it permissible for a boss to inquire about your illness? Employers may inquire about their employees’ medical absences without violating any federal laws. They are free to ask you questions, such as when you plan to start working again. Additionally, they can ask for documentation of your ailment, such as a doctor’s note.


Managing employees’ time off requests is something every company must instill in its management system. If you fail to do this, you may have a hard time dealing with inconsiderate employees who take advantage of their employers. If you are an employee, do not hesitate to request for time off if the need arises.

Time Off Request FAQs

Can you take a day off for personal reasons?

You can but this depends on your definition of personal reason. First, you can’t take time off without a valid reason. You must indicate the reason and then it’s up to the manager to approve your request.

How do I ask for stress leave from work?

To request a stress leave from work, simply contact your manager and explain the need for time off based on the stress you’ve faced in recent times as well as the symptoms you are experiencing. Do not forget to add a doctor’s report if you have one.

IS there a single template for request?

Except for companies that have a time off request form, there’s no one template for requesting a leave.

  1. HOW TO CALL OUT OF WORK: Requesting for Leave of Absence
  2. EXCUSED ABSENCE: What Does It Mean To Be Absence From Work?
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