An Essential Guide to Crafting A Formal Absence Letter

A letter of absence is necessary when you need to skip work for a couple of days due to some reasons. There are many ways to inform your superior at work about your absence, but the most professional form is through a formal letter. Drafting a formal absence letter in advance of your absence is essential to avoid disruption of the normal flow of business.

What is an Absence Letter?

An absence letter is an official letter sent to an employer to disregard an employee’s scheduled work hours temporarily. In this letter, the employee writes the reason for their absence request in detail.

A letter of absence informs your employer of your need to be absent from work due to urgent matters. This letter is crucial because it helps the employer put someone temporarily in place of the employee who requires the leave of absence.

Ideally, an employee sends in an absence letter before missing work. In most cases, the reason to skip work is an emergency, so employees only send in such letters after being absent.

When to Write a Letter of Absence?

An employee would need to write a letter of absence to state the reason for requesting a leave. Among the common reasons for writing a formal absence letter are:

  • Health Issues. You may need to write a formal letter of absence when you have an ongoing medical issue, a scheduled surgery, or mental health issues.
  • Death in the Family. A formal letter of absence is ideal in the event of the death of a family member. Any company would grant an employee some days off in cases like this.
  • Education. In the event of a need to further an educational career, you must write a formal absence letter.
  • Care for Ailing Family Members. A formal absence letter can be written when one need to take time off to care for an ailing family member.

Format of a Formal Absence Letter

The purpose of writing an absence letter is to explain why you will skip work for some time. You can write a formal letter of absence using a hard copy or email format.

You would need to submit such letters to the Human Resource Department, manager, or supervisor. Use professional language and tone, regardless of what format you intend to use to make your request letter.

Letters of absence typically include the following information:

  • The Date: The date is necessary for record-keeping purposes. Write the complete date (i.e., day, month, and year) you write the letter.
  • Your details: Including your name, position at the organization, email, and phone numbers.
  • The name and title of the recipient (usually your supervisor/manager)
  • Name of the company.
  • A salutation (Dear, followed by the appropriate person’s name).
  • The reason for the requested leave stated clearly and concisely.
  • The date when you will start the leave and the date you plan to return.
  • Express gratitude. Use phrases like, ‘thank you for your time’ or ‘thank you for considering my request for a leave.’
  • A professional closing of the letter.

Email requests for leave of absence are more accessible to process than written requests. You can draft an effective email following these steps:

  • Write the reason in the subject line (e.g., Leave of Absence Request, Request for Leave of Absent) followed by your full name.
  • Start by adding the salutation and the addressee’s name to the body of the email.
  • Explain your request.
  • Close professionally.

Tips for Writing a Formal Letter of Absence

  • Write clearly and concisely. Be concise and convey your message in a manner that your employer will understand, providing sufficient detail to support the reasons for your absence. Don’t go into unnecessary details like the symptoms of your illness in the case where you are sick.
  • Understand your company’s policies. Make sure you know how to notify your boss that you’ll be absent. Know the individual to address your letter to and the appropriate means for conveying the message (e.g., a letter, an email).
  • Have a legitimate excuse. Your reason for wanting to leave work should be viable and fair. Your employer might not approve your letter when your reasons are not considered valid.
  • Send the letter in time. It is always advisable to notify your employer before you skip work. Send your letter in time to allow your employer to reassign your tasks to other individuals.
  • State the days you will be absent. State the days you will be away from work and ensure you stick to it.
man wearing blue shirt writing on white paper with bold pen
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

A formal letter of absence is a letter from an employee to an organization requesting an absence from work. It provides information on the circumstances surrounding the request for leave and the period for which the employee will be absent.

An absence letter will help a company develop strategies that will aid business continuity even when an employee is absent. This article will guide you through the process of crafting an effective letter of absence.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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