Learn how to write an email to request time off work.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and tips and do the exercises.

Reading text

From: Stefan Bauer
To: Emma Louise Jensen
Subject: Request for time off

Dear Ms Jensen,

I'm writing to request some time off between Monday 18 February and Friday 8 March in order to work on my MBA dissertation, which is due for submission on 30 March.

I understand that the three weeks I am requesting exceeds my remaining annual leave by four days. I would like to ask if those four days may be taken in lieu of the extra working hours I put in during the two weekends of the Chicago International Management Conference last November.

I have spoken to Kristian Sander and Jasmine Riber, who have both agreed to cover for me during my absence. I would also distribute a playbook for my team members so that everyone is clear on the tasks they are in charge of and the deadlines they have to meet. During my leave, I would be fully reachable by phone and email to answer any questions or provide any assistance needed. I would also be happy to discuss any further plans to ensure my workload is covered.

I believe that the research I am doing and the resulting MBA will contribute greatly to my professional development, and my improved expertise and qualifications will in turn benefit the company.

Please let me know if you need any additional information. Thank you for your consideration of my request.

Best regards,

Stefan Bauer


  1. This is a formal request for time off, so unless you know the recipient very well, start your email with Dear ... .
  2. State the dates of your absence clearly.
  3. Be clear right from the beginning what it is you are asking for. In some cultures, it might be more common to start by providing full background information about why time off is needed. However, when communicating across cultures, it is better to be direct (but polite) and clear about what you are requesting, so as to avoid possible miscommunication.
  4. Give clear reasons why you need the time off, but don't go into too much unnecessary detail.
  5. Assure your manager that your work can be covered and that any problems during your absence can be dealt with.
  6. If possible, show how your company or team can benefit from your request being approved.
  7. End by thanking your manager for considering your request.



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


How much annual leave do people normally get in your country? In your workplace, what is the general attitude to taking time off work?

In Spain, people normally get one month of annual leave (fifteen days in summer and other fifteen in winter). Currently I'm not working, but in my previous jobs the general attitude to taking time off work is of acceptance, if and when that time you made up for overtime.

Besides anniversary days shattering along the year, we often have 14 days for annual leave. I think those days are enough for most of us because we often work till 6 days per week except for administrative offices, white-collar workers, and international organizations.
In industry zones, workers are often asked for working overtime to meet deadlines. They will be paid extra wages in lieu of extra works, so sometimes they themselves exceed their working time for more money. Their salaries are not high and counted on numbers of products they did. It seems no annual leave there. Their jobs are not asked for high skills, so with a playbook and a short training, a new worker can cover their job easily.
On a bright side of annual leave, some companies will organise picnics for some days off work to tourist sites. Some employees may prefer going by themselves. In case someone takes some days off work, they will ask colleagues for covering their jobs. That's no problem if they are not an expertise or the time off is short. If they are an expertise or the time off is long, technologies of communication will help in case of needs or being due.
Generally, we work almost of the time and overtime, except for emergency tasks, familial incidents or some happy moments like sparkling stars. We love working. Work to death, work for food, work for contests, work for communism, work for patriotism... etc. There is no time to enjoy lives. Hura!

Nice excersice

I like cats and dancing in the dark.

In France, we have 5 weeks per year if I remember correctly, we "win" them by working 2.5 days per month during the years and we have to take those weeks in total before the last day of May of the next year. The first year of a job, we didn't have holidays, except if our boss is okay to make and advance on the next year holidays.

Nice excersice. I am learning alot.

The annual leave days that you have depent of your labor sector and your company. They are between 2 to 8 days.
The private comapnies usually don't show a good attitude when you ask for days off.