How to request time off like a pro?
Tips and examples included

Taking time off from work is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and improving overall well-being. It also allows employees to recharge and return to work with renewed energy and focus, ultimately benefiting the company.

In the following article, we will describe the steps needed to request time off, provide several sample templates of emails you can use on different occasions, and provide tips and best practices.

How to ask for day off?

To ask for time off, employees should follow these steps:

Step 1: Check company policies and procedures regarding time-off requests. 

Each company may have its rules and regulations for requesting time off, such as how much notice is required, how many days can be requested at once, and whether certain times of the year are restricted.

Review aspects such as:

  • How is your time-off allowance calculated?
  • What is the minimum notice before submitting the request?
  • If you are a new hire, can submit your request during the probation period?
  • If you have already used your allowance and if you can request unpaid days off.

The most frequent types of time-off requests:

Tip: If your company doesn't have a company policy and procedure document, it's time to start one, and we help with a template.

Step 2: Check your company calendar

If your company has implemented some time-off management software, you might have access to a company calendar, from where you can see who your coworkers are absent in the following days across your team or department. Vacation calendars also show when the following public holidays occur and support the time-off planning process. If the business has policies that require that you need to have a backup before you're out, then ensure that your replacement is available during your vacation. Also, if more than 50% of your coworkers are out, on a particular day, then select a different one.

Tip: Start using free of charge the attendance tracking calendar from LeaveBoard.

Step 3: Check with your manager about your upcoming time-off request

Before sending the formal email with your time-off request, schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your request. In this way, you're informing your supervisor about your upcoming absence so that he can prepare backups and plan who can take over the ongoing and upcoming duties, deadlines, and activities. Although this step is not mandatory, if you want to have a good business relationship with your boss, we do recommend following this step.

Tip: By discussing in advance with your manager about your time-off request, you're strengthening your work relationship, build trust and demonstrate professionalism (versus sending a last minute request, without notice).

Step 4: Arrange coverage for your absence

Discuss with your coworkers about your upcoming vacation and ensure there is a continuity plan. Brief your backup about your ongoing work, the critical tasks that require attention, and the milestones that need to be finished in your absence, and share the draft work with your colleagues. 

Tip: Let know to your substitute what are the pending issues that you haven't finished, and have deadlines or important milestones durring your absence.

Step 5: Draft a time-off request email to your supervisor

The email should include the dates requested for time off, the reason for the request, and any necessary details about the employee's work or responsibilities.

Tip: Find below are samples you can personalize according to your needs for multiple situations.

Step 6: Submit the time-off request email to your manager

The request usually goes to your direct superior or manager. If you work in a multinational, you might need to include your department manager or HR leader in cc.

Tip: Remember, the earlier you send your email, the better. Short-notice email messages are usually not recommended; however, we do understand that such situations exist, and you should submit the request rather than not giving any notification to your coworkers. 

Step 7: Communicate your absence to your team

Once your request is confirmed, notify your team members that you will be away for a few days. 


  • If you use tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, update the status to indicate that you will be on vacation for the following days.
  • You might set up out-of-office messages on your Outlook during your absence.
  • Also, on Outlook in the calendar, you might introduce the time-off entry so that when your colleagues check your availability, they will see you're unavailable on the defined period and the reason.

Time-off request email examples

In the following lines, you can discover 5 examples of 5 time-off request email examples below that you can customize according to your needs to get your message clear to your manager and have maximum chances of getting the request approved.

1. Sample time-off request email template for one day


Subject: Time-Off Request for [Date]

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

I would like to request time off for [Date] due to [reason for time off]. I have finished all my work for that day and have made arrangements with [colleague's name] to cover my duties during my absence. Please let me know if there are any concerns or questions. Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

[Your Name]


Tip: Boost your productivity with a streamlined, automated and transparent absence management system. Free of charge for up to 9 employees, or just $1.35 per user for larger business.

2. Sample time-off request email template for several days


Subject: Time-Off Request for [Date Range]

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

I would like to request time off from [Start Date] to [End Date] due to [reason for time off]. I have finished all my work and have made arrangements with [colleague's name] to cover my duties during my absence. Please let me know if there are any concerns or questions. Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

3. Time-off reminder email template


Subject: Time-Off Request Reminder

Dear [Supervisor's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to remind you that I will be out of the office from [Start Date] to [End Date] due to [reason for time off]. I have arranged with [colleague's name] to cover my duties during my absence. Please let me know if there are any concerns or questions. Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

[Your Name]


Related: Discover 12 examples of email reminders, plus tips about writing them like a professional.

4. Time off request on short notice sample

When sending a time-off request on short notice, we recommend to clearly stating the reason for your submission, whether it's a personal matter, illness, or an unexpected situation. Try to put yourself in your manager's shoes and provide the details he seeks. Suggest ways to cover your responsibilities during your absence. This could be delegating tasks to a colleague or working extra hours before or after your day off.


Subject: Urgent Time Off Request - [Your Name]

Dear [Manager's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to request a day off on [date] due to an unexpected personal matter that requires my immediate attention. Considering the short notice, I sincerely regret for any trouble this may have caused.

To ensure my responsibilities are covered during my absence, I have spoken with [colleague's name], who has kindly agreed to oversee my daily tasks. I will also ensure all my current work is up to date before my day off.

I appreciate your understanding and flexibility in this matter. Please let me know if there's any additional information you need or if there are any other arrangements I should make.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Best regards, [Your Name]

5. Time off for personal reasons sample

You can submit time off for personal reasons, however, do it professionally, following the advice provided above. Use a formal tone and be respectful. You don't need to detail your personal reasons, but honesty's essential. If it's a sensitive matter, simply state that you need time off for personal reasons.


Subject: Personal Time Off Request - [Your Name]

Dear [Manager's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to request time off from [start date] to [end date] due to personal reasons. I prefer not to disclose the specifics, but please understand that this time off is necessary for me to attend to personal matters.

During my absence, I suggest that [colleague's name] can handle my responsibilities. I will ensure a smooth transition by providing them with all the necessary information and resources.

I understand the importance of planning, so I am making this request as early as possible to ensure minimal disruption. I appreciate your understanding and discretion in this personal matter.

Thank you for considering my request. I am available to discuss this further if needed.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Top 10 tips for asking for time off:

Find below the top ten tips when requesting time-off, to maximize your chances of getting your request approved, vetted by HR professionals:

  1. Plan ahead: Give your employer plenty of notice to ensure they have time to make arrangements for your absence.
  2. Be honest and upfront: Explain the reason for your time off and be honest about your needs.
  3. Follow company policies and procedures: Make sure you understand the company's time-off policies and follow them accordingly.
  4. Be considerate: Avoid requesting time off during busy periods or when your absence could negatively impact the company or your colleagues.
  5. Provide a detailed plan: Explain how you will handle your workload in your absence and ensure all your tasks are covered.
  6. Be flexible: Be willing to negotiate and compromise with your employer if necessary. Remember to adhere to proper email etiquette.
  7. Be professional: Keep your request professional and avoid using emotional or confrontational language.
  8. Keep it brief: Your request should be concise and to the point.
  9. Express gratitude: Thank your employer for considering your request and for their understanding.
  10. Communicate in advance: Keep your employer informed of any changes to your plans or needs.
Editor update

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Requesting time-off FAQ

What are the most common types of time off?

Employees may need to take time off from work for various reasons, such as illness, personal emergencies, holidays, or vacations. Taking time off when necessary is important to ensure physical and mental well-being.

The most common types of time off include sick leave, personal leave, and vacation time. 

Sick leave is typically used for illness or medical appointments, while personal leave can be used for various personal reasons.

Vacation time is used for planned time off, and holidays are typically predetermined days off for everyone in the company.

How do you politely ask for a day off?

To politely ask for a day off, employees should follow the same steps as above but specify the date and reason for their absence. Providing sufficient notice and ensuring all necessary tasks are covered in their absence is also essential.

What is the difference between Paid Time Off vs. Unpaid Time Off?

The main difference between PTO and UTO is that PTO compensates for the employee's absence, while UTO does not.

  • Paid time off (PTO) refers to time off for which an employee is paid, such as vacation time or sick leave. 
  • Unpaid time off (UTO) refers to time off for which an employee is not paid, such as personal leave or extended time off. 

What are some examples of request day off email subjects?

When submitting a time-off request, you don't need to be very creative with the subject line. Using a formula such as [time-off type] + [date range] as a subject is always a good idea. Here are just some extra ideas:

  • "Request for Time Off - [Your Name]"
  • "Leave of Absence Request - [Date]"
  • "Time Off Request for Personal Reasons - [Your Name]"
  • "Vacation Request - [Your Name] - [Date Range]"
  • "Sick Leave Request - [Your Name]"
  • "Family Obligation - Time Off Request"
  • "Personal Day Request - [Your Name]"

How far in advance to request time off?

The specific time frame can vary depending on your company's policy, but a general rule of thumb is to send the notification at least two weeks' notice for short leaves (a day or two) and at least a month's notice for longer leaves. For unexpected situations or emergencies, notify your employer as soon as possible.

Remember, every company has its policies regarding time off requests, so it's important to familiarize yourself with these policies to ensure your requests are made in accordance with them.

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