How To Write a Parental Leave Letter (Template and Example)
Updated July 20, 2023
A maternity leave letter is a professional way for a new birthing parent to communicate to their employer that they intend to take a leave of absence to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. Sending such a letter ensures everyone understands the dates of your absence from work and how your workload will be managed during this time off. Because your letter should include a proposal for how your work should be handled, writing one can take time and planning.
In this article, we discuss why you should send a parental leave letter and explain the steps you can take to write one professionally, plus we provide a template and example letter to help you craft your own.
The image is titled "Business Letter Format" and shows an example letter with the parts of the letter identified on the left side.
The left side includes:
Name and address
Complimentary close and signature
The letter reads:
February 1, 20XX
ABC Company, Inc.
1234 East Main Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Dear Ms. Jones,
I am submitting this request for a leave of absence to tend to important personal matters beginning next month. If possible, I would like to take my leave beginning March 15 and return to the office April 3, 20XX.
I can make myself available intermittently to answer questions via phone or email, and am happy to do whatever necessary to ensure a smooth transition before my leave begins.
Thank you for your consideration.
Why send a parental leave letter?
It's important to document in writing the details of your parental leave so your manager can make arrangements for managing your workload in your absence. While maternity leave, also known as primary caregiver leave, traditionally applies to the birthing parent, paternity leave is requested by non-birthing parents, who are also known as secondary caregivers. This designation is also generally given to adoptive parents.
When planning for parental leave, it's generally a good idea to share this information as soon as you determine how long your leave of absence will be and when you'll be taking your leave. Share this letter with your direct supervisor as well as any other relevant people, such as an HR manager.
How to write a parental leave letter
Here are the basic guidelines for writing a professional parental leave letter, which applies to requests for primary and secondary caregivers:
1. Use proper formatting
Your letter should be typed using an easy-to-read font, such as Arial, Times New Roman or Helvetica. You should have a one-inch margin on all sides.
Related: Business Letter Format and Example
2. Include the date and address
Start your letter by placing your address in the top left-hand corner. Then, like all formal letters, skip a line and then add the date.
3. Include the recipient's address
Skip a line below the date and then add the business address for your supervisor.
4. Use the proper greeting or salutation
Your greeting should be professional and address your supervisor properly, even if you have a casual working relationship. For example, you could write, "Dear Mr./Ms. [last name]."
5. Explain why you're writing
Be direct in your letter’s opening paragraph and explain why you’re writing the letter and how long you intend to be away on parental leave. You should also include the specific dates you'll be leaving and returning to work. You may also suggest working from home before or after these dates to see if that’s something your employer would be open to considering.
6. Provide a workload proposal
In the next paragraph, propose a plan for how you suggest covering your workload while you’re out of the office. Be honest in discussing work you believe you won't be able to complete, as well as work that will need to be completed while you're away on leave.
If you’re responsible for short-term or long-term projects, define where you are or will be with those projects when you leave. Offer suggestions for who you believe is most capable of moving forward with specific projects in your absence.
7. Set expectations for communication
In the final paragraph, tell your manager the level of communication you intend to have while you're on parental leave. If you plan to stay away from your work email entirely while you're gone, let them know that. If you plan to work some while on leave, set clear expectations for how frequently or how little you plan to check in.
8. Include a plan for your transition back
If you believe that your work schedule will need to change when you return to work, you could include this in the final paragraph as well. If you aren't yet sure, you may want to wait and decide this at a later date.
9. Express gratitude
Express sincere gratitude for your employer's support in taking time away from work to care for your new child. It's important to properly thank them for their understanding.
10. Include your name and signature
If you're handing a hard copy of your letter to your supervisor, it's best to include your handwritten signature on the letter with your name typed underneath. If you're sending an email, you can simply type your name.
Template of a parental leave letter
Here's a template for a maternity leave letter you can use to help write your own parental leave letter:
Dear [Manager's name],
This letter is to inform you that I plan to take maternity leave. My due date is [date] and I plan to continue working until [date or suggest working from home until your due date or delivery]. I plan to take [number] weeks of maternity leave. I don't expect to have any problem returning to my current position and delivering the same quality of work I do now.
While I'm on leave I suggest [name] be in charge of [project name or specific parts of your job]. [Include details of your proposal here.] Please consider these recommendations as the beginning of a conversation about how we will handle my workload. If you have any concerns, please let me know.
While I'm on maternity leave, please contact me at [email] or [phone number]. [If you plan to work while on maternity leave, mention that here.] Please let me know if there are any forms you require from me before I go on maternity leave. Thank you in advance for helping me coordinate my leave.
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
Example of a parental leave letter
Here's an example of a maternity leave letter using the template above. You can reference this example to craft a parental leave letter of your own:
234 Main St., Kansas City, MO 32512
June 1, 2019
1332 First St., Kansas City, MO 32513
Dear Ms. Jones,
I'm writing to let you know of my pregnancy and intention to take a 12-week maternity leave. My due date is Dec. 4, 2019. I plan to work from home starting Nov. 15 and work until my due date. I anticipate returning back to work on March 1, 2020.
I plan to make every attempt to complete all of my high-priority tasks before I am on leave. I also plan to delegate some of my daily responsibilities to Jessica and Kira, who have been working closely with me on several client campaigns. I'm confident in their ability to manage the work in my absence. Kira, in particular, will be able to respond to client questions and set up new campaigns during my time away. Please let me know if you have any concerns about this recommendation or if you have other suggestions for shifting my workload while I'm gone.
Thank you in advance for allowing me to take this time away so I can recover and spend time caring for my new baby. Please let me know if there are any forms I need to fill out in advance of my absence or if there is anything more I can do to make the transition easier. If I need to be contacted during my maternity leave, please communicate with me at email@example.com or 234-123-2345.
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