How to write leave application for work (with letter format)?

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Date published: 5 Nov 2020
by DocPro Legal
Last Update: 27 Nov 2020

During the course of employment, you will need time-off from work every now and then. It could be for several reasons such as for recovering from an illness, giving birth to a baby or taking your child to the doctor etc. In any scenario, you will have to notify your supervisor and request approval for leave i.e. you will need to write a leave application to your supervisor and explain your case so he can understand your circumstances and grant the leave request.


What is a Leave Application for Office?


A leave application is a formal letter to apply for a leave of absence from work for a specific period of time. It is a standard practise for most businesses that requires employees to notify their supervisor about their need to take time-off from work due to personal reasons. It also helps the employer to track the different types of leaves taken by the employees and the number of leaves still available to their credit.


Generally, companies have an employees' manual/handbook to outline their policy regarding leave entitlements, eligibility and procedure for submitting leave application. You must go through the company's leave policy in the employee’s manual and understand what is expected from you when applying for leave.


The most common types of leave application are as follows:

  1. Annual Leave
  2. Sick Leave
  3. Casual Leave
  4. Maternity Leave
  5. Paternity Leave
  6. Adoption Leave
  7. Bereavement Leave/Compassionate Leave
  8. Sabbatical Leave
  9. Study Leave
  10. Unpaid Leave

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5 Things you need to know before writing a leave application


Before you attempt to write a leave application, you must gather certain information to ensure the application is not rejected outright by your supervisor.


1.     Type of Leave


Most companies have a structured leave policy and categorize the different types of leaves their employees are entitled during the term of employment. So, identify the type of leave you need before you begin writing a leave application. For instance, if you are going on vacation then you need to apply for vacation leave; or if you are sick then apply for sick leave.


2.     Eligibility Criteria


The leave policy will include the eligibility criteria for each type of leave. The company may require you to complete a minimum number of months/years of employment to avail certain leaves. For instance,  you may be required to finish at least 5 years of employment to be eligible for sabbatical leave. So, if you are a new employee then you are not eligible for sabbatical leave.


Once you have identified the type of leave you need, check if you meet the eligibility criteria for that leave. This will show that you have done your due diligence before applying and that the application is not rejected outright by the manager/supervisor.


3.     Leave Entitlement


The leave benefits (such as the minimum number of leaves) provided by every company vary depending upon your level of seniority, years of employment, internal policies and the applicable laws. So, you must check the company’s leave policy on the number of days you are entitled to take time-off from work.


Also, you will utilize the number of leaves available to your credit from time to time. It’s important to keep track of the used leave days in the manner required by the company.

Before applying for leave, you must take notice of the number of leave days you are left with.



4.     Advance Notice


One of the common reasons for rejection of leave application is the lack of advance notice. Therefore, the companies outline the required notice period for every leave category in the leave policy,.


As an employee, you must check the notice period and ensure that your leave application is submitted well in advance to allow you and your manager to make alternative work arrangements.


5.     Inform your Supervisor


It is always a good idea to speak to your direct manager/supervisor first before you make the formal application for leave. It would be helpful to discuss with reasons on why you would need that particular period off (e.g. coincide with your child's school holiday). It will minimise the chance of rejection by your supervisor. Also, you could also seek help from your direct supervisor in the approval process if further approval from senior management / human resources is necessary.

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What to include in a leave application?


Generally, a good leave application letter should include the following points:


1.     Subject Line:  Type of Leave Requested


Identify the type of leave you intend to take from the leave policy and specify it in the subject line. For instance, the subject line for sick leave will be ‘Sick Leave Application’.


2.     Salutation: Name of the Addressee


The letter should be addressed to the person who has the authority to approve your leave.


After receiving the verbal approval from your immediate supervisor, you should identify who you are writing the leave application to and whether you should write it to the same supervisor/manager? In addition, you must ascertain if there is any formal approval procedure that requires you to write to the Human Resource department along with the direct supervisor. For instance, companies generally require you to inform the HR department when taking time off for long periods such as for maternity leave/sabbatical leave.


3.     Reason for leave


The leave application should include a good reason for taking leave so that your supervisor grants your application. The reason for the absence given should be clear, reasonable and credible. It should justify your request to take time off from work otherwise your application will be rejected.


Also, the reason should be brief, simple and to the point. For instance, if you are taking your annual leave entitlements, you may simply state "taking annual leave" as your reason instead of saying something like "going to my best friend's bachelor party in Thailand". Keep it formal and simple and avoid giving unnecessary excessive details. Writing a whole lot of reasons about why you will be absent from work will just make you sound disingenuous and defensive. 


4.     Number of Leaves requested


The duration of leave you are applying for must be clearly mentioned in the leave application.


You should specify the exact dates and whether the dates are inclusive or not. For the purposes of clarity, you may want to specify the start date and end date of your leave.


5.     Work management plan in your absence


It is important to demonstrate in the leave application how you have planned the work arrangement during your absence. You may want to talk to your substitute first and provide him/her with a handover note on your daily routines, existing work and projects (in particular for an extended leave of absence). However, in case a substitute is not required, it is always prudent to designate a colleague to handle any emergency in your absence.


So, take time to arrange your work to ensure that your supervisor’s requirements are met prior to and during your leave.


6.     Your contact information during the leave period


Specify your contact information during absence so that your supervisor/colleague can reach you when needed.


7.     Signature


If you're sending an email, just type your name at the end of the letter. If you're giving a physical copy of the letter, then add a handwritten signature above your name and designation.


8.     Supporting documents


Enclose all supporting documents such as a medical certificate in case of sick leave so that your supervisor has all the information required to approve the leave application.




Important tips for writing a leave application


A well-drafted leave application enables your supervisor to understand your situation and approve the application. While it’s important to give due consideration to the contents of the letter, it is equally important to understand how to write it professionally. You must ensure that:


  • the tone is formal and polite

A leave application is instrumental in convincing your supervisor to grant the leave request. It should be professional i.e. the tone of the letter needs to be polite, formal and not casual or friendly.

  • the letter is brief and precise

The contents of the letter should be brief and straight to the point. It must expressly set out all the details that your supervisor needs to approve the leave request.


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Top 10 leave application letter templates for office


Still unsure on how to write your leave application? Here we have the sample templates for the most common types of leaves.


  1. Annual Leave/Vacation Leave


Annual leave is taken when you need time-off for a vacation or any other personal reason. Generally, this holiday is for an extended period so you must submit the leave application in advance to allow your manager adequate time to make alternate work arrangements.

Here’s a template for annual leave application:


  1. Sick Leave


Sick leave is allowed when you are unable to perform your duties due to an illness. It allows you to rest and take care of your health. It is a good idea to inform your supervisor about your illness and the expected date of return by writing a leave application letter.


Here’s a template for sick leave application:


  1. Casual Leave


Casual Leave is used for attending to personal matters except for vacation. Generally, the duration of leave is short and fully paid.


Here’s a template for casual leave application:


  1. Maternity Leave


Maternity leave is a period of absence from work that is granted to a mother before and after childbirth. The terms of maternity leave policy vary depending on the laws applicable in the country you are working in.


In any case, maternity leave is an extended break and you must inform your supervisor much in advance of your intended start date of maternity leave to have adequate time to train your replacement.


Here’s a template for maternity leave application:


  1. Paternity Leave


Paternity Leave allows a male employee to take paid leave after birth of his child. It allows a father to take time-off from work and bond with the baby and take care of his wife.

Here’s a template for paternity leave application:


  1. Bereavement Leave/ Compassionate Leave


Bereavement leave is granted at the time of death in the family. It allows you to take time off from work to attend funeral, make necessary arrangements and most importantly to grieve together with your family.


Here’s a template for Bereavement Leave/ Compassionate Leave:


  1. Adoption Leave


Adoption leave is taken by the main adoptive parent and it commences after the placement of a child in the household by the adoption agency.


In the leave application, you need to identify yourself as the main adoptive parent to qualify for adoption leave and submit the application well in advance to give adequate time to your supervisor to make alternate work arrangements.


Here’s a template for adoption leave application:


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  1. Sabbatical Leave


Sabbatical leave is generally taken as a break in career to pursue hobbies and interests after long service with the company.


Sabbatical leave is not mandatory by law and its approval is at the complete discretion of your supervisor. Therefore, a well drafted leave application for sabbatical becomes very crucial. It’s a tool that you can use to demonstrate how valuable you are for the company, your commitment to work and desire to take a sabbatical.


Here’s a template for sabbatical leave application:


  1. Study Leave


Study leave is a leave of absence from work taken to pursue additional qualification. training and development activities. Like sabbatical leave, its not mandatory by law to provide study leave to employees. It entirely comes down to the arrangement agreed between you and your supervisor.  


A leave application is an opportunity for you to explain why pursuing additional qualification is essential for your growth and how the company can benefit from it. In case the leave request needs additional approvals such as from HR, then a well-reasoned leave application will enable your supervisor to present the case appropriately.


Here’s a template for sabbatical leave application:


  1. Unpaid Leave


Unpaid leave can be taken for personal matters after you have exhausted all the leave entitlements. It could be for any reason such as for sick leave/extension of maternity leave or paternity leave etc.

Here’s a template for unpaid leave application:


Please note that this is a general guide on the most common leave applications an employee will need. This does not constitute legal advice. As each case, may be different, you may want to speak to your local lawyer.



Leave Application


Types Of Leaves


Sample Templates


Kinds Of Leaves


Annual Leave


Adoption Leave


Casual Leave


Bereavement Leave




Unpaid Leave


Study Leave Policy


Compassionate Leave


Maternity Leave


Paternity Leave


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