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How to Write a PTO Request

Crafting and submitting a PTO request is easy, once you know how to do it. Find out how to write a PTO request, and focus on enjoying your time off!

Gabriele Culot
Written by Gabriele Culot
January 24, 2023
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Key Takeaways

1. PTO is crucial to the wellbeing of employees and the success of organizations

2. It’s important to know your rights, company policies, and processes regarding PTO

3. Knowing how how to write an effective PTO request will make the process easy

Taking a sufficient amount of time off from work is crucial to every employee’s mental and physical wellbeing. Moreover, well-rested employees are more focused, creative, and efficient, making time off a key factor to any organization’s success.

Suppose you want to take some time off from work and have available vacation days. However, your company policy doesn’t provide guidelines, or a template, for submitting a PTO request. Your organization may not even have an employee handbook to reference. In this scenario, many employees might postpone their request or give up altogether.

In this post, we break down the best ways to craft a time off request so you can make the most of your vacation days and ensure your wellbeing and productivity are always maximized.

Why is it important to know how to submit a vacation request?

Vacation days are essential to a healthy work-life balance. Research has consistently shown that team members who take advantage of their paid time off are more likely to get promoted, receive a pay raise, or be more productive.

Although the US doesn’t have a federal law guaranteeing mandatory paid vacation time, many employers will offer paid time off as an incentive or perk for new employees, but this is not always the case. Even unpaid leave will need to be requested. Even the process for requesting time off can vary wildly from company to company, so while you’re entitled to your days off as outlined by your company’s vacation policy, it’s still crucial to make your formal request as polite and professional as possible.

Best practices for crafting a paid time off request email

1. Check your company’s PTO policy

Before you start drafting your request, brush up on what your organization’s paid leave policy states. Whether you have your paid time off policy written out or need to talk to someone in human resources, you should know the proper channel for submitting your request, what your rights are, and what format the request should be submitted in.

You’ll need to know if you have an unlimited PTO policy, which means you can take days off whenever and for whatever reason you choose, or if you have a segmented PTO policy that requires you to indicate the type of leave you need. If you have a segmented policy, your request will need to include whether this request is for sick leave, bereavement leave, personal time, or vacation.

Additionally, your human resources department will be able to tell you the number of days you have available, what your PTO rights are as a part-time employee, and whether your company has an official PTO request form.

2. Submit your leave request as soon as you know the specific dates

Of course, your sick days will likely be last-minute requests you send to your employer on short notice. Still, for vacation days or another multi-day leave of absence, it’s best to give as much advance notice to your employer as possible.

Waiting to submit a vacation request email until your boss is in a “good mood” only limits your employer’s time to prepare for your absence. The more time you can give them to ensure you complete any essential tasks before you take a day off or redistribute your workflow for a longer time, the better.

3. Create your vacation request email

If your company doesn’t have an official request form for paid leave, you’ll want to make sure you submit your request in writing. The best way to ensure your request is on the record is to email your supervisor.

Remember, this is a request. Although you are entitled to take paid days off, you still want to ask your boss if the dates you need off will work.

A general email template for your PTO request email should include:

  • A clear subject line: Get right to the point and make the subject something along the lines of “PTO Requested from Mon August 29 to Fri September 2”
  • A greeting: Always include a salutation so your email starts on a positive note
  • Your requested days off: State the specific dates you’d like vacation leave; “I would like to ask for paid time off for a week’s vacation from Monday, August 29 through Friday, September 2”
  • A reason for the absence: If your company has a segmented PTO policy, you’ll need to indicate the type of time off you need; “I will be using my vacation days for a family vacation”
  • Show that you’re prepared: To help cover your workflow, you should include information about how they can reach you or who can handle requests in your absence; “You can reach me at [phone number] in case of a work emergency, and any client phone calls should be redirected to...”
  • Ask for approval: Before you sign off and send, ask your boss if these dates will work; “Will this work?”
  • Close with gratitude: Thank your boss for considering your request as a sign of respect

And that’s it! As soon as your manager accepts your request, you can get ready for your vacation time!

Extra tip: If your request isn’t answered quickly, be sure to send a follow-up email to ensure you get an answer to your request. And even if your request is approved, a reminder email a few days before you leave is never a bad idea, so you can be sure everyone is prepared.

Take the guesswork out of PTO requests with Deel

While PTO management isn’t necessarily difficult, as teams and organizations grow it can become time-consuming and prone to error. Deel makes it insanely easy to request, track, approve, and analyze PTO requests.

Our Slack plug-in lets you integrate your PTO system with the other apps you already know and love, making PTO management a breeze.

Book a demo today and discover the full range of Deel HR tools.

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