What Is a Vacation Request Letter?

A vacation request letter is an important business document written by an employee and addressed to his or her employer to request time away from work. The duration for which the employee will be on leave can sometimes depend on how long the company permits it or the number of paid vacation time granted to members of the workforce. However, a 2018 study by Statista claims that the U.S. is the only country with a progressive economy that does not assure its employees with paid vacation leaves. While it may be unfortunate news for anyone hoping to go on a week-long trip, it doesn’t mean that companies prohibit their employees from taking some time off.

In addition to its essential elements, a simple vacation request letter must contain the reasons for the leave and the details regarding one’s proposed absence. The goal is to convince a reader to approve your request without sounding too pushy.


Elements of a Vacation Request Letter

Employers will recognize your vacation request letter as an official document for company records. Thus, it’s vital to secure a copy of the request letter in your computer in case the person you send it to loses the original file. As for the contents of your letter for vacation leave approval, you may want to keep the following components in mind:

Name & Contact Information: It’s essential to note your name and your recipient’s name clearly and distinctly in the letter, primarily if you work in a large company where people share the same first names or surnames as someone else. An updated contact list must also be provided, including your phone number and business email, for reference.Date: The date when the letter was typed or sent to its recipient is a crucial element to include in your request letter. Most organizations expect employees to give their notice of absence a week to a few months before their planned leave for it to be granted approval. If the date of the letter does not fall within the required time frame, there’s a huge chance it could be ignored or rejected by your boss.Body Text: The body of your letter should let your boss know about your vacation request. It generally consists of a formal request, along with the work delegated to your coworkers and words of gratitude for the time taken to read the letter. The letter must also contain your contact information so you could entertain questions that your boss or teammates may have while you’re on leave. Closing: Since you’re writing a formal letter, it only makes sense to end it with the appropriate closing. This will indicate that the reader has reached the end of the letter, while also introducing you as its author. Some commonly used business closings include Sincerely and Yours Truly. Name & Signature: Like all business letters, the letter must have the signature of the person who wrote it for validation. This will verify you as the author of the letter, and prove that the document is a legitimate one. The signature is usually indicated at the end of the message, right above your printed name for recipients to find. While blue ink is often acceptable in some business settings, most professionals would suggest signing the document in black ink for clarity and consistency.

How to Write a Vacation Request Letter

We all need a break every once in a while. Fortunately, most organizations provide paid and unpaid leaves annually, as reflected in their employment contracts. But to make the most of this benefit, you need to compose a letter that will encourage your boss to grant your request for vacation time. Find out how you can notify your immediate supervisor about your plans to take some time off through the steps below.

Step 1: Discuss the Terms of Your LOA with Human Resources

If you aren’t so sure about your company’s leave policy, it’s best to check with the human resources department for confirmation. You can ask about the amount of vacation time permitted to employees, the necessary paperwork to fill, and other relevant details to note down. It’s also possible to speak with your supervisor directly, so any work-related concerns may be addressed clearly and coherently. The discussion could cover any questions or potential problems that may trouble the team due to your absence. You don’t have to call a formal meeting to make this happen, but it’s still a good idea to notify your supervisor about your plan via email. Be sure to do this before sending your vacation request letter.

Step 2: Address the Recipient

Once you’ve educated yourself about your company guidelines for vacation leaves, it’s time to get started with your letter.

Before going to the main points of the letter, don’t forget to address the person you are writing to. Regardless of your working relationship with one another, you must address the recipient of your letter with an equal level of respect and professionalism as you would with a client. A person’s name and their respective title should be included in your salutation as well. If you aren’t sure who to address, feel free to ask your colleagues for answers instead of settling with a generic greeting.

Step 3: State Your Reason for Writing

Avoid beating around the bush and go straight to your reason for writing the letter. You don’t need to explain why this vacation would mean the world to you, as this wouldn’t even matter if you fail to sort through the piles of paperwork sitting on your desk before sending the letter. You’ll also want to keep it as honest as possible. While this doesn’t mean giving a detailed explanation of your proposed LOA, most employers would care to know what you plan to do during your time off, especially if it’s at a critical season for the company.

Step 4: Delegate Unfinished Tasks to Colleagues

Be sure to cover all the necessary bases before going on vacation. As for ongoing projects and assignments on your to-do list, consider assigning these tasks to your coworkers who know a thing or two about the job. Since it’s only temporary, avoid delegating tasks that require an excessive amount of knowledge and skills to complete. The least you can do is to make it easy for them to handle your responsibilities while you’re away. Not only can this maintain a smooth workflow for the business, but it can also lighten your workload for when you get back.

Step 5: Proof the Letter

Never send a letter without proofreading it. Make it a habit to review the letter for any mistakes that could cause misinformation, especially if it involves names and dates. The letter should be easy to understand for it to serve its purpose effectively. If you’re satisfied with its content, don’t wait until the last moment to print and send it to your target recipient.

The Dos and Don’ts of a Vacation Request Letter

Everyone deserves some time off to relax and spend time with family and friends. In spite of being entitled to some vacation time, you might feel hesitant to ask in fear of frustrating your boss and colleagues for the extra load of responsibilities that will be handed to them while you’re gone. What many people don’t seem to realize is how beneficial vacation days can be to individual productivity. Not only does it put your mind at ease after those countless overtimes at the office, but it’s also an opportunity to make up for the lost times you had away from loved ones.

With that said, here are some tips to remember when requesting for that much-awaited time away from work.


1. Do review your company policy. 

Every organization has a written policy for paid and unpaid leaves, and you’re likely to find it in your employee handbook. Although the FMLA Act of 1993 mandates every employer to conform to state and federal laws, companies do have the right to establish their own rules regarding leaves of absences.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry workers in the country are typically granted an average of 10 paid vacation days a year after their employment. The only way to find out if your employer offers the same is if you take the time to ask beforehand. Presenting your request letter per company policies can often increase your chances of getting an approval.

2. Do find the best time to ask your boss. 

Timing is crucial in this case. You’ll want to catch your boss in the best mood, so try not to ask for time off when the company is at a crisis or after a heated argument with a shareholder. You’ll also want to avoid month-end operations when everyone is on the edge of their seats with business reports and project deadlines. To put it simply, avoid stressful circumstances. You can also consider emailing your boss directly to make the request or setting a brief meeting for a thorough discussion. What’s important is that you are aware of your company’s leave system and policies upon making the request.

3. Do ask politely.

It’s only appropriate to be courteous in your request letter. You don’t want to sound demanding in any way, given that you’re still awaiting the notice of approval from your boss. Keep in mind that it’s not a done deal until your supervisor gives you the green light. Hence, make sure that your request letter is just that—a request. Avoid making any references to your vacation plans, especially if you made them before requesting your time off from work. A proper greeting or salutation is also a plus in writing the content of your letter.

4. Do make the turnover easy for your replacement. 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ll be away from the office; somebody has to take your place temporarily to ensure that the business continues to run smoothly even in your absence. The least you can do is prepare a gameplan that your replacement will find useful. You can indicate these responsibilities in your request letter, along with other reminders that one must take note of. Be sure to inform your clients in advance in case they have any questions or concerns that need to be addressed while you’re away.

5. Do set a reminder the week before. 

Though this is done sometime after the request letter had been sent to and approved by your supervisor, it’s still an action that some employees frequently forget to make. You must take the time to remind your colleagues and leaders about your time off from work, especially when last-minute assignments start filling your calendar only days before your LOA. Don’t assume that your coworkers will have the time and energy to accommodate some extra work without prior notice. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as an employee to address any work-related concerns before your vacation begins.


1. Don’t catch your boss by surprise.

Itching to grab that discounted airline ticket to Bali? You may want to think twice before booking your flight. It’s never a good idea to purchase tickets to a place or event unless you’ve earned the permission of your supervisor for the planned dates. But even if you already made your bookings ahead, you don’t want to make it seem that way in your request for vacation leave letter. There’s a vast difference between asking if you could take time off from work and informing your boss that you won’t be at the office during such time, in which the latter would be something you’ll want to refrain from doing.

2. Don’t make it too long. 

Avoid a lengthy vacation request letter at all costs. It’s a good idea to be as specific and direct as possible so recipients can quickly grasp the point you’re trying to convey after reading the first few lines of the letter. You don’t have to impress your boss with complex language to earn their approval, as long as you comply with your company procedure, you should be fine. Listing responsibilities and other reminders in bullets is another technique that you could use to break down points into digestible parts.

3. Don’t do it at a critical time. 

If possible, make sure to work around your schedule before making the request. See to it that your vacation time does not fall in the busiest time of the month or year, especially if your position in the company plays a huge role in its overall operations. As for matters that you have no control over, be sure to explain your leave of absence. A wedding, birthday, or baptism of a family member or a close relative is often acceptable. It might come as an inconvenience for the rest of the team, but a clear and reasonable explanation could get you off the hook.

4. Don’t ignore your responsibilities at work. 

If you’re going to be gone for a couple of days, you need to find someone who could cover for you while you’re away. Employers often encourage their employees to assign temporary replacements who are most familiar with one’s workload. It could be a partner, a teammate, or even your department head if they have the time to complete a few tasks on your behalf. You could leave a few notebooks and journals on your desk for your temporary replacement to use as a reference when accessing client accounts and other related files in the system.

5. Don’t waste it.

If you’re lucky enough to work for an employer that offers a certain number of paid vacation leaves per year, be sure to use as much as you can within the allotted period. These benefits exist for employees to enjoy, so despite your workaholic tendencies, you might as well use them before you end up losing these leaves when the fiscal year renews. You can review the amount of vacation time granted by the company through your handbook. You can also have this concern verified by someone from the HR department in case you missed it during the onboarding orientation.

Regardless of your reason for requesting some vacation time, don’t be afraid to approach your supervisor to have it settled. Going on a long-awaited break from your job can be an excellent way for you to rejuvenate and reenergize from the stress. So, don’t hesitate to take some time off when you need it. Follow the steps and tips above, and you should be able to get your boss to approve your request without any pushback.