If you’re a working professional, you’ll invariably have to ask for leave – both casual leave (which is typically short) and long leave – few times every year.
In this comprehensive post, I’ll cover what you can do before handing over the leave application (or writing email) to your manager, the standard format for writing leave applications, and content for common grounds for leave.
Before you submit the leave application
1. Talk to your boss about your plan for leave
A sudden application without first warming him about the plan may not just hurt his ego (‘why didn’t he ask me first?’), but also convey lack of seriousness of the reason for which you’re seeking leave.
The longer the intended leave, the earlier you should broach the topic. For example, if you’re planning a two-week leave, talk to your manager about it a month in advance. In contrast, if you’re seeking a casual leave for just a day or two, you may speak to him a day or two before proceeding on leave.
You should ideally speak to him at a time when he is not hassled by work and is not in foul mood. A good time, for example, could be toward the end of the day during a coffee or other break.
Remember, an email or phone call is not a replacement for this conversation. Email or phone call may convey lack of seriousness or taking the boss for granted even if you don’t mean it. (However, phone call may be the only option if you’ve to apply for a leave in emergency.)
If he gives his nod principally, then your leave is more or less granted.
2. Think of all critical issues you’re handling before the talk
So before that crucial talk, mentally run through all critical issues you’re handling and think of how they can be handled smoothly when you’re not there. Think of what you can do above and beyond before proceeding on leave so that others don’t face any hiccups during your absence. To give an example, you may think of how you can finish few critical tasks in advance or prepone few meetings or get few approvals in advance.
In nutshell, before meeting your boss, have a clear understanding of all issues – and their solutions – that can disrupt work in your absence. No one wants a screaming client in your absence.
Recommended posts if you’re looking to improve your English language skills:
Format for a leave application
Here is a format of leave letter, with each major component followed by explanation through ‘comments’:
12 March 2018
34 MG Road
Bangalore – 560001
[Comments: Start with date (feel free to use your own format for it) followed by the recipient’s address on top-left corner. You can use commas after each line, but these days a cleaner look without commas is preferred.]
Subject: One-day casual leave on account of ill health
[Comments: Subject should be brief, yet accurate representation of the content of the letter. So, it’s better to write ‘One-day casual leave on account of ill health’ rather than ‘One-day casual leave’, as the former is a better snapshot of the letter. It’s also fine to write ‘Subject’ in bold.]
Dear Mr. Kamat,
[Comments: Salutation can be written in few ways. The most common is ‘Dear [first name]’. In this example, it would be ‘Dear Rohan’. A formal option is ‘Dear Mr. / Ms. [surname]’. In this example, it would be ‘Dear Mr. Kamat’. Having said that, you may follow the salutation norm in your organization if you’re writing internally. So, if ‘Dear Sir/ Madam’ is prevalent, go with it, even though it’s not the best. ‘Dear Sir/ Madam’ is used when you don’t know the recipient’s name.]
I got up this morning unwell with mild fever, sore throat, and body ache. Because of my ill health, I am not in a position to attend office today and tomorrow.
I request you to grant casual leave for the period 25-26 April 2018.
[Comments: Most leave letters are short. You don’t need to go beyond the minimum required facts and personal details. Your language should be objective – and not emotional – howsoever strong your reason for proceeding on leave is. In some cases, especially for long leave, you may need to enclose supporting documents.]
[Comments: ‘Yours faithfully’ is used when you don’t know the name of the person you’re writing to. When writing a leave letter, you of course know the name of the recipient.]
Samples of common leave letters
Here are few common types of leave letters. Only the main body (or the content) is included here. Rest of the framework will remain the same as mentioned in the above format. (Click on the boxes below to see each letter):
Subject: One-day sick leave due to fever
I have had mild fever since yesterday night and, therefore, it will be difficult for me to attend office today.
I request you to grant me leave for today, 12 April 2018.
Subject: One-day casual leave on account of my daughter’s ill health
My 6-year-old daughter has been down with fever and sore throat since yesterday. I need to take her to a doctor and, if prescribed, get further tests done.
I request you to accept this application for casual leave for today, 24 August 2017.
Subject: Struck with chicken pox
On the weekend, I had mild fever and red spots develop on my skin, which was later diagnosed as chicken pox. Since chicken pox is communicable and it takes at least a week to recover, I would request you to grant me leave from 20 to 28 March 2018. I would update you of my recovery in the coming days. I am enclosing medical records in this regard.
Subject: Met with an accident. Need two-week leave to recover
Yesterday, I met with a freak accident while returning from the office. A two-wheeler appeared from nowhere and rammed into my left leg while I was crossing road. Luckily there is no fracture, but few ligaments in my leg have ruptured. My leg below knee is badly swollen and the doctor has advised not to move the injured leg for few days.
I request you to grant leave from 12 to 25 March 2018. I’m enclosing medical reports with the letter.
[Comments: It’s good to enclose medical records if you’re seeking long leave.]
Subject: 10-day leave for mother’s death
With reference to our communication on phone today morning, I am proceeding on leave because of demise of my mother at my hometown. This was sudden, and at this moment I am not sure when I will be able to return.
Kindly grant me leave for seven days tentatively starting today. As and when things settle down, I will update you of my exact plans.
Extension of leave
The cremation of my mother has been performed and I am still recovering from her untimely demise. In the last letter, I had requested for a 7-day leave but then I wasn’t sure when I will be able to return.
There are few more rituals to be performed and my presence is required for few more days to support my family members. I request you to extend my leave by seven days up to October 28.
Subject: 1-day leave for father’s surgery
My father is to undergo surgery on his knee on June 03 at Apollo hospital, New Delhi. Could you please grant a day of casual leave so that I could be with him on the day of surgery?
Subject: 5-day leave for brother’s marriage
My elder brother is getting married on 23 November. To participate in different ceremonies around the date, I request you to kindly grant me leave from November 20 to 24. I am enclosing the invitation card with this letter.
Subject: Leave for marriage
As told to you in our meeting yesterday, I am getting married on 28 January 2018, for which I need 20-day leave. Kindly grant me leave from 24 January 2018 to 12 February 2018.
[Comments: Although no harm in enclosing the invitation card, you may skip it because you would in any case invite your manager and colleagues separately. Note, how brief this letter is. You’ve provided every information that is required for your manager to take the decision. You don’t need to mention the location of the wedding and other plans.]
Subject: 5-day leave for Chhath
I want to join my family in Jharkhand for the festival of Chhath, a popular festival in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. I haven’t been to my home town for this festival for six years now.
I request you to grant 5-day leave from 24 to 28 October 2017.
[Comments: You don’t need to explain what Chhath festival is, but it is fine to mention that it’s popular in your area, which your manager may not know.]
Subject: 15-day leave for annual vacation
I am planning my annual vacation from 20 December 2018 to 03 January 2018. As briefed to you in person by me, I will finish all urgent issues and hand over the charge to Lokesh before leaving. During the leave period, I can be reached at my regular number and firstname.lastname@example.org.
I request you to grant leave for the abovementioned period.
[Comments: In case you won’t be available at your regular number, it’s good to mention your alternate contact number. Your manager should be able to contact you in an emergent situation.]
Subject: Leave for casting vote in Rajasthan assembly elections
Voting in the state assembly elections in Rajasthan, my home state, will be held on November 24. I am still a registered voter in the state and want to cast vote in the upcoming elections. And, as discussed with you, because I am travelling this far, I would like to combine it with a visit to my family in Jaipur.
I request you to grant me 4-day leave from 22 to 25 November.
[Comments: I’ve seen letters on this subject where people even talk about why elections are important. That’s complete BS and unnecessary. Everyone knows the role of elections.]
Subject: Casual leave for son’s birthday
As discussed with you in person, I am expecting many more guests and family members this year for my son’s birthday falling on August 24. Because of the unexpectedly high flow of guests this time, my presence is required to manage the event
Therefore, I request you to grant me a day of casual leave on August 24.
Subject: Casual leave for shifting into a new house
We are changing our rented accommodation on 06 May. Since the change involves packaging two truck-full of luggage and arranging and settling down in the new place, I would request you to sanction 3-day leave from February 21 to 23.
Applying for leave through email
Applying for leave through email isn’t much different from what we’ve covered so far in this post. Subject, salutation, and content can remain the same. Few minor differences are:
You don’t need to write the recipient’s address or date
You can retain ‘Yours sincerely’ or use your regular office norm – regards, best, etc.
And, of course, you don’t need signature