How To Request A Leave Of Absence When You Need A Break

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Feb. 7 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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Life can throw unexpected challenges our way, sometimes necessitating a step back from work — from mental health woes to personal obligations. With that in mind, employees may need to take a leave of absence (LOA). In fact, there are multiple leave of absence options available to support individuals during difficult times. However, when requesting a leave of absence, maintaining clarity, professionalism, and consideration is essential. Keep reading for a series of ways to aid in how to ask for a leave of absence.

What Is A Leave Of Absence?

A leave of absence is an extended period when an employee is permitted to take time away from work while retaining their job. LOAs are taken for various reasons, ranging from personal or family health issues, paternity leave, and other personal circumstances. Remember, an LOA may also be paid or unpaid depending on company policies and laws, among other things. It’s important to note that during this time, the employee may or may not maintain certain benefits, such as health insurance.

What Are The Types Of Absences?

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Common types of leaves of absence include:

Medical Leave: Taken for health-related reasons such as an illness, injury, surgery, or medical treatments.

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA): In the U.S., FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for qualifying medical or family reasons.

“Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles,” per the U.S. Department of Labor

Maternity/Paternity Leave: Time off for employees around the birth or adoption of a child.

Personal Leave: Granted for personal reasons, such as education, travel, or personal matters.

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Military Leave: Granted to employees serving in the military under applicable laws.

Bereavement Leave: Covers an employee’s leave in the event of the death of a family member or close friend.

Here’s How To Ask For A Leave Of Absence

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Although there are various ways to ask for a leave of absence, experts at Indeed suggest putting the request in writing.

Formal Written Request: Write an email or letter to your employer requesting the leave of absence. Include the dates of absence, the reason for your request, any relevant details such as how your workload will be managed during your absence, and more. 

Provide Adequate Notice: Give your employer as much notice as possible, especially if your leave will impact your team or require adjustments to work schedules or projects.

Follow Company Guidelines: Familiarize yourself with company policies when requesting a leave of absence, including any forms or documentation required.

Be Flexible: Be open to negotiating and compromise. This is key if your time away will impact the bottom line. While it’s not your responsibility to come up with solutions, consider alternative arrangements or adjustments that will accommodate you and your employer’s needs.

Express Gratitude: Regardless of the outcome, express gratitude for your employer’s consideration and any accommodations they may provide.

It can be stressful to think about asking for a leave of absence. That said, approaching the situation in a professional and respectful manner increases the likelihood of a successful outcome when requesting a leave of absence.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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By: Truth Hawkins

Truth Hawkins, a seasoned wordsmith with over a decade of experience spanning entertainment, culture, and lifestyle news, navigates the dynamic landscapes of pop culture, lifestyle, and music. More than a reporter, Truth is a dedicated storyteller, unearthing narratives that deeply resonate with readers and invites them to engage in meaningful conversations.

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