For most people, at some point in their lives they may find it necessary to take a leave of absence from their job. Whether it’s with or without pay, these important sabbaticals can be used for any number of reasons.
It could be due to maternity leave, a health related issue, or time needed to care for a sick family member. Here’s what you need to know and also how to write a well-written letter in order to let your employer know about your intentions.
Know the FMLA Laws
FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) laws protect and enable workers to legally take a temporary leave of absence from their job. This federal law allows an individual to take as many as 12 weeks off if necessary from their job while still maintaining their current position. Whether you need three weeks away or just a couple of weeks off the clock, your employer is obligated to you to receive this benefit by law. It’s up to them to fill the void and replace you while you’re away on leave.
Inform Your Employer in Writing
The best way to inform your employer that you need some time off is by writing an official letter. While most employers dread these kinds of letters, it’s sometimes just a part of life and often can’t be helped.
Today, many are sent through email rather than postal mail. If sent by email, it can be somewhat less formal in nature. The important thing is to give your employer as much notice as possible to allow them enough time to cover your position during your absence.
Keep the overall tone of the letter positive and on good terms. Although most employers will likely be upset, they’ll understand given your specific circumstances. However, if your leave isn’t due to medical reasons whether it’s for you or a loved one, don’t count on legal backing for your request and your employer may actually deny it.
No Personal Questions Allowed
Keep in mind that the law dictates how much your employer can ask about your specific situation. They are not allowed to ask questions concerning your personal history and/or background related to your leave of absence. While they still need to know that you have a legitimate reason for temporarily leaving, they do not have the right to bombard you with personal questions.
For instance, you can notify them that your young child needs surgery without actually divulging what the surgery is for. When writing your letter, you are not obligated to disclose any embarrassing details regarding your life. Because your doctor is likely involved in your situation, attach a copy of their professional recommendations to your letter.
It’s completely up to you how open and upfront you want to get with your employer. However, you’re not legally obligated to do so. Basically, this protects you if you’re having an elective or private procedure in nature.
Only gather the information that’s necessary along with the exact dates you’ll be gone or if you intend to use any of your vacation time. Be sure to include a copy of the letter for any supervisors that may need to know about your particular situation as well.
Use the following leave of absence sample letter and modify it for your specific needs.
Sample Leave of Absence Request Letter
Name of Employee
Address of Employee
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Employer
Name of Company
Address of Company
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Request for leave of absence.
Dear Mr. Name of Employer:
As you may already know, my young daughter is having some serious health problems. Although she’s seen a number of different health care providers and endured many tests to address the problem, she unfortunately needs surgery. She requires a serious neuro-based type of surgery and therefore I will need to be at her side and care for her for a number of weeks while she recovers. I am sorry to say that I need the full 12 weeks that are allowed under the FMLA policy.
Her doctor has already filled out the request from that I obtained from the human resources department. Because I respect the company I work for and am trying to be as fair as possible, I am giving you a full month’s notice so you’ll have enough time to make adequate arrangements to cover my position while I’m away. My daughter’s surgery is scheduled for DATE. I intend to work up until the previous DAY on DATE to ensure that my job is covered.
I am more than willing to train someone to do my job or wrap up any business matters if you like. I expect to return on DAY, DATE. As of right now, these are the anticipated dates for her surgery and my time of leave. If anything changes I will let you know immediately. Hopefully I can return before DATE if all goes better than expected and retain my current position in the company.
I truly appreciate your consideration and understanding concerning this sensitive matter. I respect both you and the company and feel it’s been an honor to work here over the past 12 years. Again, thank you for understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, I intend to be here every day until DATE to talk with you.
Signature of Employee
Printed Name of Employee