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How to Write a Request for Time off Email

You’ve been scoping out deals on plane tickets for weeks. You can practically smell the coconut oil and hear the waves crashing onto the sand. One thing holding you back from officially starting the vacation countdown clock is getting the time off from work. Whether you’re taking time off for a much-needed getaway, a family function, a medical procedure, or any other commitment that requires you to be away from work, writing a proper request for time off email is crucial to getting the green light from your boss.

What is a request for time off email?

A time off request email is a professional way to ask your employer for days off of work. In it, you’ll outline the dates you’re hoping to be out of the office and any steps you’ll be taking to ensure your workload is covered while you’re away. 

A time off request email (and the response you receive) also documents your request in case you need to refer back to it.

Why it’s important to send an email requesting time off

First and foremost, getting official approval to be gone on the dates you want is necessary. While it’s fine to run your request past your manager in person first, it’s always best to put it in writing, too, so that you’re not relying on your boss to remember that you asked for the days off, and they said yes. 

Sending a timely PTO request also facilitates advance planning, helping your employer ensure that all work is completed as scheduled while you’re out. It gets the ball rolling for any arrangements that need to be made, like delegating critical tasks to other coworkers during your absence. 

When should you send a request for time off email

With plenty of notice

Ideally, you should submit your time off request one to two months in advance. You’ll want to ask even earlier if you’re asking for an extended amount of time off or if you’re hoping to get away during an in-demand vacation period like the time surrounding holidays.

After giving your boss a heads up

If you want to take more than a day or two off, it’s a good idea to discuss it with your manager first. This way, you can discuss whether your request is feasible and go over dates that would be most convenient for you and the company. 

Whenever you are taking time off

Even if your company has a flexible or unlimited time off policy, getting approval from the appropriate higher-ups before booking any nonrefundable travel or other accommodations is smart.

What to include in a request for time off email

A straightforward subject line

Use something like ‘[Your name] time off request’ to ensure your message is opened and help your boss keep track of it.

A statement of your request

Open by clearly conveying that you’re asking time off and stating the dates.

The purpose for your request

While you’re absolutely not obligated to tell your employer how you’ll be spending your PTO, giving context can sometimes be helpful in getting the request approved, like if you need the time off to recover from a medical procedure.

Any necessary action items

Tell your employer what you’re doing to make sure your work is covered while you’re away and flag any action needed on their part.

What you should omit

Too much content

Keep it brief. This routine professional email doesn’t require a lengthy plea or deep explanation.

Sample emails to ask for time off

Example 1 – Simple

Hi Johanna, 

I’m writing to request time off for a family vacation from September 4th through the 8th. I’ve briefed Roger and Cheryl on my September assignments, and they’ve agreed to cover my essential tasks while I’m away.

I can be reached at 808-234-5679 with any questions. 



Example 2 – Formal

Mr. Ebert, 

This email is my formal request to take PTO days from June 10-24. 

I will be having a medical procedure, and my doctor recommends two weeks’ recovery time. During that time, I will not check email regularly but will be reachable by phone for urgent matters. I expect to be back in the office on June 25. My team is prepared to cover my workload in the interim.

Please contact me at 301-987-6504 with any questions or concerns. 


Julia Reynolds

Once your request is approved, send a reminder email a few days before your departure so your absence doesn’t surprise you. Then, book those plane tickets, schedule your out-of-office email, and get ready to enjoy some well-deserved time off!