Asking for permission to stay away from the office is always difficult, even when you are entitled to it. There is always that nagging thought at the back of your mind – What if they say no? The thought is justified.

Sometimes the company just can’t afford to let you go, especially if your reason for requesting leave is not that pertinent.

Sometimes, however, your leave application gets rejected, not because of the reason behind the request, but rather because of how you make the request.

For instance, if you craft a leave application in impolite language where you literally demand to be allowed to stay away from work, you probably won’t get your request approved.

Furthermore, there is a certain format you have to follow when writing your leave application. Remember leave applications are supposed to be formal documents. The leave application is the official way to request leave.

Of course, you could of course ask your manager for leave verbally, but even if they agree, you might still have to write a formal leave application letter.

This is why crafting an effective leave application is a skill everyone working in the corporate world should learn.

If you don’t know where to start or the do’s and don’ts of leave application writing, read on for a complete breakdown of everything you need to know.


In a leave application for office, you need to explain to HR or the manager why you are taking a leave of absence: what situation exactly is prompting this action?

Below are some of the important details you should always remember to include when writing your leave application:

  • Your complete name, address, contact information and employee code: These are details that identify who you are.
  • Salutation: This is a greeting addressed to the recipient of the leave application.
  • The subject of the application: This is where you specify the type of leave you are requesting for. For instance, you could write “Request for maternity leave.” This makes it clear even before the recipient reads the letter exactly what you are applying for.
  • Why you are taking leave: In the letter itself, providing the reason for your desire to take leave. It could be for health reasons, to study, to go on vacation, to take care of an emergency that has emerged, maternity, adoption of a child, and so on.
  • Number of days you’ll be away: It is very important that you remember to specify the number of days you intend to be away from the work place. This will allow the company to plan accordingly for your absence. Include the date you’ll go on leave and the date you’ll return to the workplace.
  • Work plan in your absence: It goes without saying that work will continue in the organization even in your absence. While you may be entitled to take leave, it is always good when you show initiative and thoughtfulness by ensuring your responsibilities and duties will be handled in your absence. For instance, you can discuss this with your supervisor or with your colleagues and ensure your most urgent duties are distributed to colleagues. You can also train a replacement (an intern perhaps). Another solution would be creating a document that contains detailed information of your daily work. You can also indicate that you will be available in case of any emergency during your absence.
  • Contact Information: Provide accurate contact information to ensure you are reachable during your leave. Sometimes emergencies come up and you are the only one who can solve the problem. For instance, if you are the only one who knows where a certain key document is located, they might need to reach you for assistance.
  • Official documents: You should be ready to provide any documents, if necessary or if asked for, that support or corroborate your need to take a leave of absence. For instance, if you are taking sick leave, a letter from the doctor may be necessary.


Below are some things to keep in mind when writing a leave application;

  • Use a formal format: Ensure you draft the leave application in a formal format. This is because the leave application is an official letter, making your employer officially aware of your absence. You may have already informally discussed your leave-taking with the manager or supervisor, but it is the application letter that makes the matter official, which is why it needs to be written in a formal format. As for the contents of the application, we have already covered that above.
  • Be concise: Don’t beat around the bush. Instead, get to the point straight away. Furthermore, don’t get too carried away explaining your reasons for taking leave – especially to the point of giving away too many personal details. Identify the most important details that need to be in the application and express them in a matter of a few paragraphs.
  • Polite language: Use courteous language in the application. No matter how entitled you feel to being granted the leave request, don’t display that entitlement in the application letter. Use language that is polite, tactful, and convincing. This is especially important when you are taking a sabbatical – what some people call “adult gap year”. It is very easy for you application for a sabbatical to be rejected. You must therefore use tactful language to try and convince HR that this is something that a) you need, and b) might be beneficial to the company.
  • Make it clear that you are coming back: Employees have sometimes been known to go on leave and not come back, perhaps due to being poached by other companies or quitting their jobs. To allay such fears, provide assurance to HR or your reporting manager that you will come back to the office and your duties as soon as your permitted leave duration ends.
  • Show conscientiousness: Show conscientiousness about your duties and responsibilities at the workplace. That means you should demonstrate that your duties and responsibilities are important to you. If you simply write an application letter and talk about going to leave, but you don’t say anything about the work you will be leaving undone, it might give the impression that you don’t really care about your job.

Show conscientiousness by planning for how your duties and responsibilities will be taken care off in your absence. You can organize this with your supervisor or your close colleagues.

This is to ensure that there is smooth workflow even in your absence. It could also mean stating that when you come back from leave, you are going to make up for all the lost time.

  • Express your thanks: At the end of the application letter, be sure to include one sentence where you thank the manager for taking the time to read through your application and (hopefully) for approving your request.
  • Verbal permission: It is also advisable to get verbal permission from your reporting manager prior to writing your leave application. The application letter then becomes a way of making official what has already been approved.


The following are some of the things you should avoid when drafting your leave application letter:

  • Ensure that there are no grammatical errors in your letter. Once you have typed it, read it at least two or three times to correct any grammar mistakes and punctuation errors.
  • Don’t write in a casual tone.
  • Don’t use complex terms or purple prose to show off. Ensure your application is as simple to understand as possible, something that can be read and understood quickly without having to consult the dictionary.
  • Don’t use an informal format or make your leave application too long.


1. Sick Leave

This is when you take a leave of absence on account of an illness. Sick leave scenarios include physical illness, mental illness, health checkup, taking care of a sick loved one or dependent, or when you need to take time out to cope with or overcome the physical, psychological, and legal repercussion/effects of domestic abuse.

At the moment, there are no existing federal legal requirements for paid sick leave. Companies that are subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are, however, expected to provide unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks for certain medical situations.

When crafting an application for sick leave, ensure you give relevant details (not too detailed, however) to prove credibility.

2. Study Leave

This is leave you take solely for the purpose of studying or carrying out research. Study leave, with or without pay, is not a legal requirement/obligation. Whether you get it and if you get paid is up to your employer. Keep this in mind when you are applying for study leave – remember that you are not entitled to either the leave or the pay. Choose your wording carefully.

3. Sabbatical

A sabbatical leave is the kind where you (for a given period) stop reporting to work for an extended period of time but you are still an employee of that company. Another name for it is “adult gap year” or “career break”. It’s highly likely to be an unpaid leave of absence.

There are no laws that cover you if you want to take a career break. This may be the most delicate application to write.

When writing the application for a sabbatical leave, figure out how to show that doing this will make you better at your job when you come back. Don’t display any entitlement, lest you either a) get denied, or b) lose your job in the process.

4. Vacation/Holiday Leave

Vacation leave is a period when you take time off from work to rest, relax, or attend to your own personal affairs. It is quite similar to annual leave (paid time off work). While vacation leave is not covered by law, there are many employers who offer paid vacation, usually as a means to attract employees.

The approach you take when writing your vacation leave application should be informed by your company’s guidelines or regulations concerning vacation leave.

5. Maternity/Paternity Leave

Maternity leave is a period during which a mother, before and after her child’s birth, is allowed to take time off from work. The US laws do not guarantee any national statutory paid parental leave for new mothers and fathers.

That said, there are some employees who are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for birth, adoption, or medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Unfortunately, not all companies are covered by the FMLA (they have to have at least 50 employees).

6. Emergency Leave Application

This is when you need to take leave to deal with unforeseen circumstances that have emerged, such as the death of a loved one. Other scenarios include an accident, a major surgery, to visit a terminally ill family member, and so on.


Now that we have covered the different kinds of leave, let us look at samples of how to write applications for some of the different leave types.

1.  Study Leave Application Letter Sample


Manager’s Name
Institute’s Name

Sub: Leave Application for Further Study

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing this to request for a six-month study leave, to start on [date]. During the leave period, I will be at [name of educational institution] pursuing a [name of program or course]. The program starts on [date].

After I have completed my period of study, I believe I will bring greater value to the organization. Should my leave application be granted, I intend to resume my duties at the office on [date]. I will be greatly indebted to the company for giving me this opportunity to further my studies.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to serve this company.

Yours faithfully,
Job Designation
Contact Number


2. Sick Leave Application Letter Sample


The Manager
Company Name


Subject: Leave Application Due To The Flu

Dear Sir/Ma’am

This is to inform you that I am currently suffering from the flu. After visiting the doctor on Wednesday, I was diagnosed with the flu and bed rest was prescribed.

My fever is consistently at over 100 degrees, my muscles ache, I have chills and sweats, and I cough throughout the day. I also have frequent headaches, nasal congestion, and sore throat. I am afraid that not only does my illness make it impossible for me to discharge my duties, but it also poses a risk to the rest of my colleagues who might also contract the flu if I continue coming to work.

For that reason, I am applying for a ten-day leave to ensure I am completely well when I return to the office. Attached to this application is a letter from my doctor. I hope you take my application into consideration.




3. Annual Leave Application Letter Sample


Manager’s Name
Company Name


Subject: Annual Leave Application

Dear Mr. /Ms. [Recipient’s Name]

I am writing this to let you know that I will be taking my company-sanctioned annual leave for a period of one month, starting on [start date] and ending on [end date]. Throughout the year, I have not gone for leave, and would like to at this time utilize my full annual leave allowance.

Having had this discussion with my supervisor already, my responsibilities and duties have been distributed to colleagues in my department. I can therefore take this leave with a clear conscience that work will continue smoothly in my absence.

During the leave, I intend to travel, and due to the nature of said travel plans, it will be difficult to reach me on phone. I therefore urge that in case of any urgent work-related matters that require my attention, do write to me via email: [enter email address].

I will be grateful for a positive response to this application.

Thank you and regards,



4. Sabbatical Leave Application Letter Sample


Dear [Recipient Name],

My name is [name] and I have been working in the IT department for the last three years. Of late, however, I have felt the desire to be more and do more in my work. I feel as if I am stuck repeating the same monotonous tasks daily. I would like to take a sabbatical leave to help me renew my motivation and at the same tme increase my skills, particularly in coding and graphic design. I believe this will be instrumental in helping me take on more responsibilities and more complex tasks when I come back.

It is due to this desire for self-development and for a renewal of my passion for my job that I am requesting an extended sabbatical leave of [period]. During this time, I will take a few online courses on coding and graphic design.

Committed as I am to this company, I believe that when I resume work, I will be in better shape to give my all to the job and truly be of high value to [company’s name].

It is with the earnest hope of approval that I write this application.

Thank you.

Best regards,



5. Maternity Leave Application Letter Sample


Subject: Application for Maternity Leave

Dear Sir/Madam,

This is to inform you that I intend to take the allotted [write down number of weeks/months] of maternity available to me, starting on [start date]. In the event that there are no pregnancy or delivery-related, unforeseen issues that crop up, I intend to resume my duties at the end of my maternity leave on [tentative joining date].

Should my plans change for any reason, be sure that I will inform you speedily. Attached to this application is a letter from my doctor with confirmation of the relevant details.

During this period, you can reach me at this number for any emergency: [contact number].

Yours Sincerely,



6. Vacation Leave Application Letter Sample


Subject: Leave Application for Family Vacation

Dear Mr. /Ms. [Recipient’s Name]

I am writing this to request approval for a 12-day vacation leave, starting on [start date] and going on up to [end date]. My family and I have been planning a trip to Brazil.

Having known for a while that I intend to take vacation leave, I have in the last few weeks been staying extra hours at work to ensure that I finish my most urgent work projects. I have also communicated with my immediate supervisors and had my work duties and responsibilities distributed to my colleagues to ensure smooth continuity even in my absence.

Thank you, and I am looking forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,



7. Leave Application For Emergency


Subject: Funeral Leave

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write this email to inform you of a family emergency that has disrupted my life and made it impossible for me to come in to work. Last night my sister passed away, having been bedridden in the hospital for the last two weeks after a heart surgery. Arrangements of the funeral – as well as the grief – are going to keep me preoccupied for the next few days.

I am sorry for any inconvenience that will be caused by my absence and have called into the office to organize the distribution of my most urgent duties to colleagues. In any case, I will be back at the office on [date], during which I will complete the remaining tasks.

Thank you for your kind consideration.


Your name



The biggest take-away from this is that leave application letters should be formal, polite, and follow a particular format. The what of your application is also very crucial, and this means giving the reason why you want to take leave.

The more urgent or pertinent your reason, the higher your likelihood of getting your application request granted.

Another important thing to remember is conscientiousness. The moment you say you want to go on leave, the management starts to wonder what will happen to the work you are supposed to be working on.

Though this might depend on the context and on the organization’s protocols, it is usually a good idea for you to make arrangements that ensure the disruption in workflow is as minimal as possible in your absence.

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