Write an Earned Leave Application

Many private employers and governments provide paid leave for employees, called earned leave (EL). Typically, this leave is earned based on the hours you work and can be used for any purpose. However, before you can take earned leave, you must submit an earned leave application to your employer or supervisor. For some employers, you can simply write a letter that includes all the required information related to your leave. Other employers have a specific form, sometimes called an "earned leave pro forma," that must be completed before your earned leave will be granted. Before you write your earned leave application, check your accrued earned leave (typically listed on your last pay stub) to confirm you have enough leave to cover your request.[1]


Standard Earned Leave Application Format

  1. Find out what information must be included. At a minimum, you'll need to provide the dates you want to take your leave. You may also need to provide your employee number or position title. Depending on your employer or the laws in your area, you may also need to provide a reason for your absence.[2]
    • Your employer may require additional information if you're going to be gone for more than a few days. Also, depending on your position and responsibilities, you may need to provide information about ongoing projects or clients you're handling.
  2. Ask your employer if there is a form you can use. Some employers make forms available to employees who want to request earned leave. Having a form ensures you've included all required information.[3]
    • If there isn't a specific form, your employer may have a sample earned leave application from another employee that you can use as a guide.
    • If you feel more comfortable writing in a different language, ask your employer if there is a bilingual earned leave application form available.
  3. Include your name and the name of your supervisor. If there's not a form you can use, format your earned leave request as a formal business letter. Put your name, job title, and employee number (if you have one) at the top of the letter, followed by the name of your supervisor and their job title.[4]
  4. List the dates you want to take your leave. Your letter doesn't have to be long and involved. Start by stating that you want to take your earned leave. Then list the date you want your leave to begin and the date you want your leave to end.[5]
    • If your employer has requested other information, provide it after you've listed the dates you intend to be away.
  5. Sign and date your leave request. Close your letter with a basic closing, such as "thank you for your attention to this matter." Leave a couple of lines for your signature, then type your name. You'll sign your letter in the blank after you've printed it off.[6]

Completing an Earned Leave Pro Forma

  1. Download the earned leave application form from your employer's website. Larger employers who use earned leave pro forma applications typically make a PDF of the form available on their website. You may need to get a supervisor to access the list of forms for you.[7]
    • If you're not sure where to get the form, ask your supervisor or someone in human resources for help. You may also find more information in your employee handbook.
  2. Fill out the form completely. A pro forma for earned leave typically requires you to provide more information than you would if you were simply writing a letter requesting leave. Any information you don't provide could result in delays or even denial of your request.[8]
  3. Review your pro forma carefully for errors. Before you sign your pro forma, go over the information you've provided. Pay close attention to dates and numbers, which are easy to enter incorrectly. Make sure all required questions have been answered.[9]
    • If you want some additional assurance that you've filled out your pro forma correctly, you might show it to your supervisor or someone in human resources. If you haven't provided the correct information, they should be able to tell you so you can make the corrections before you submit it.
  4. Sign and date your pro forma. When you're confident that your pro forma is correct and complete, sign it on the provided line along with the date. Typically, you'll want to use the date that you plan on submitting the pro forma to the proper authorities.[10]
    • Under your signature, print your name clearly and legibly. You may also want to include your employee number if you have one.

Submitting Your Earned Leave Request

  1. Find out the deadline for submitting your leave request. Many employers have strict policies on how far in advance you must submit a leave request, in the absence of an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. This information is typically available in your employee handbook. You can also ask your supervisor or someone in human resources.[11]
  2. Take your written request to your supervisor in person. Whenever possible, it's most efficient to submit your request in person. That way, your supervisor can ask you any questions they have immediately.[12]
    • If you send your supervisor an email with your earned leave request, you should still plan to discuss it with them in person. They may have questions to ask or other details that need to be covered before your request can be granted.
  3. Confirm that you've met the requirements to take your leave. Some employers may have additional requirements you must meet before you're eligible to take your leave, even if you've earned it. Your supervisor will let you know if you've met these requirements, although you can also check your employee handbook or talk to someone in human resources.[13]
    • For example, US state government employees typically have to work for at least 6 months before they are eligible to take any earned leave. If you haven't worked 6 months yet but the time off you're requesting isn't until after that period, you may be able to go ahead and submit your request.
    • Some specific forms of earned leave may be limited, or you may need to combine different types of earned leave.
  4. Work with your supervisor to plan and schedule your leave. When you submit your leave request, your supervisor will likely have some questions for you. If your supervisor is reluctant to approve your leave for the dates you've chosen, they may be willing to provide some alternate dates that you can consider.[14]
    • Your supervisor may also want you to work with co-workers to prepare for your leave. For example, if you work in sales, your supervisor may want you to brief a co-worker on your clients so they can cover for you while you're gone.
  5. Get your supervisor's approval of your leave in writing. When your supervisor approves your leave, make sure you have a copy of their approval as proof in case something happens in the meantime and you're scheduled to work on days you'd requested off. This is especially important if the specific dates were adjusted, since they may differ from your request.[15]
    • If your supervisor simply signed your request, make a photocopy of it for your own records.
    • If your request was approved by human resources, make sure your immediate supervisor knows when you will be gone and can make whatever arrangements are necessary to cover for you while you're gone.