How To Compose a Vacation Request Email (With 3 Examples)
Updated July 31, 2023
A person works on their laptop while sitting at a shared workstation table in an office setting.
A vacation request email is your opportunity to ask your employer for specific dates off from work. An effective request email informs your employer of your plans to ensure your work is completed or covered in addition to when you’ll be absent from and returning to work. You can write a clear, concise and informative request email that promotes communication and trust between you and your employer.
In this article, we discuss why this email is important, show how to write an effective one and provide samples to help you get started.
Why is writing a vacation request email important?
It is important to write a vacation request email to get approval from your supervisor to take time off from work. Requesting time off well before your vacation gives your team extra time to ensure that your work is covered when you are out of the office. It can be helpful to have your request in writing in case you, your supervisor or the HR department need to reference it later.
How to write a vacation request email
You can follow a few steps in writing an effective vacation request email to maintain professionalism in the workplace and ensure you follow your company’s specific time-off policies. Here are the steps to writing a vacation request email:
1. Write a short, direct subject line
Subject lines are a recipient’s first impression of your email. For a vacation email request, write a brief line that states the general purpose of your message and the dates related to your request. If you work in a large company, consider also writing your last name in the subject line to ensure the recipient can quickly identify who is requesting time off and when.
Related: How To Write a Professional Email
2. State your purpose for writing
After greeting your recipient, use the first line of your email to directly state that you are writing to request time off. You can use a statement if you’ve already spoken with your supervisor about your request, or you may phrase your purpose as a question if this email is the first you’re discussing the request. Asking your supervisor or employer if they’d allow you to take time off is a professional courtesy that shows your respect of their time.
3. Include the dates you’re requesting
In the first line or first short paragraph of your email, be sure to include the dates you’re requesting time off. Be sure that the dates match those listed in the subject line to ensure clarity. This step can help maintain clear communication about your request and provide your employer with accurate documentation.
If your company follows an accruing paid time-off policy, you may also consider mentioning how many hours you’ll be taking off. This element can show that you understand how this request impacts your remaining paid time and assists your employer in updating this information.
Related: How To Negotiate Extra Vacation Time
4. Consider mentioning why you’re taking time off
Though optional, mentioning the reason for your vacation can further help with accurate documentation of your time off. It may let your employer know that you’re taking a vacation, but if you take time off for another personal reason, providing some reference to that reason may help your employer better understand the purpose of your request. This step may help your supervisor or employer decide whether to approve your time off.
Related: 5 Reasons To Take a Personal Day
5. Discuss how you’re preparing for time off
In the second part—often the second brief paragraph—of your email, provide details regarding the tasks you’re completing, the work you’re delegating and the other ways in which you’re preparing your team and other relevant parties for your time off. This step shows your dedication to your organization’s success while you’re away and ensures your employer understands the full extent of your absence’s impact on efficiency.
Consider listing the projects and tasks you’re working on, what you’re expecting to finish and when and who you’ll be assigning your work to while you’re away. If you have outstanding tasks, let your employer know what those are so they can plan and delegate the work accordingly.
6. Remain available for questions
End your email by allowing your employer or supervisor to contact you for further information and to confirm the decision of your request. This element is a professional courtesy that also promotes clear and open communication between you and your employer.
Related: Guide: Out of Office Email Messages
Tips for drafting an email vacation request
When you are planning to take time off and are drafting an email vacation request, consider these steps as you do so:
Research your company’s vacation policy
Companies can have a wide variety of vacation and time-off policies. Before you request time off, make sure you understand your company’s vacation policy. If your company does not have a written policy, ask your supervisor or human resources department about the best or preferred practices. If your company follows an accruing paid time off policy, know how many paid and unpaid days you have available to use so you know how much time off it is acceptable for you to request.
Select dates with as much advance notice as possible
It is helpful to ask for time off at least two months in advance. Some organizations may require a certain number of days, weeks or months when putting in a vacation time request. For time off around popular vacation times—such as over the summer or during the winter holidays—provide your employer with even more notice.
Asking for time off with as much notice as possible can show to your manager you are handling the request responsibly and assures them you have plenty of time to plan for how your work will be handled in your absence.
Find convenient dates
If possible, take work patterns into account when deciding on your vacation dates. Try to schedule time off around slow work seasons, after big projects are due to be completed and based on the schedules of your team members. This strategy can help you select a time that is most convenient.
Ask your supervisor or employer in person first
It’s best to discuss your potential request in person to give your employer an idea of when you’re planning to take time off. In this conversation, you can ask for their preferences on dates, lengths of time, alternative work options and how to best prepare for your time away.
Send a follow-up email
After your in-person discussion, you can send a vacation email request via email as a follow-up message to confirm the details and provide your request in writing. This step can help you update communication on your time off should anything change.
Provide a reminder email
You can also send a reminder email to your employer and your team before your vacation begins. This email can let them know your process for ensuring all work is complete or covered and who to contact in your absence.
Vacation request email examples
Here are a few sample vacation request emails and a reminder email draft to help you get started:
1. Informal vacation request email
Subject: Vacation request June 1-15
I’d like to request vacation time from Monday, June 1st through Tuesday the 15th. I will be traveling to visit my parents/taking family vacation time.
While I’m away, I’ll be reachable by email at my work address, firstname.lastname@example.org, but not by phone. As we discussed, my team has agreed to provide coverage while I am away, and I will complete my project after I return by August 1st.
2. Formal vacation request email
Subject: Smith – Vacation request June 1-15
Dear Ms. Gonzales,
This letter is a formal request for one week’s vacation leave from Monday, June 1st to Tuesday, June 15th. I will be back in the office on Wednesday, June 16th.
All of the projects that I am working on will be completed before I leave. My team has agreed to cover my responsibilities while I am away. My team leader has approved my vacation request (please find an approval letter from her attached).
If you have any questions or concerns, I can be reached at my work email address, email@example.com, or by phone at 1-555-445-5454. While I am away, I will not be able to check my email regularly, but I can be reached at my cell phone number if urgently needed.
Thank you for considering my request.
3. Vacation reminder email
Subject: Reminder – Smith Vacation, June 1-15
I just wanted to remind you that, per our conversation last month, I will be out of the office Monday, June 1st through Tuesday, June 15th.
As we discussed, my colleague LeAnne Girard will be covering my project while I am away. We completed our team project ahead of schedule, so I will be able to get the follow-up paperwork to you by next week.
Again, I will be available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you or anyone on the team needs to reach me. Thank you.
Frequently asked questions
How do you request vacation time at a new job?
If you already have vacation plans before accepting a new job, it's best to share your plans with a hiring manager or supervisor before accepting the position or as soon as possible after you start. It's always important to arrange for coverage and ensure you complete any time-sensitive work before you leave for vacation, but it's especially critical when you're new, as you may still be building trust with your employer. If your plans are flexible, consider waiting two to three months before requesting time off from a new job.
Who should you email to request vacation time?
The right person to contact to request vacation time can vary depending on your employer's policies, but it's usually best to ask your direct supervisor's permission first. They may be able to approve it themselves, or you may place a formal request with HR with your manager's permission.
Do you have to send a vacation request email?
Many companies allow employees to submit vacation requests through software programs or HR systems. Some may also manage time off using paper forms. Follow your company's policy for time off requests, however, it's still best practice to inform your manager directly.
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