What is a planned leave of absence and how do you request one?



Leaves of absence (LOAs) are becoming an increasingly popular way for employees to manage their work-life balance, but there is still some confusion around what they are and how they work.


To eliminate some of that confusion, let’s break down what a planned leave of absence is and how to go about requesting one, as well as offer a few good tips for ensuring a smooth transition back into the workplace.


What is a planned leave of absence?

A planned leave of absence is a period of time during which an employee is away from work with the approval of their employer. Planned leaves can be taken for personal reasons, such as vacation or maternity leave, or for educational purposes, such as pursuing a degree or taking professional development courses.


In most cases, employers will require employees to submit a leave of absence request form in advance, so they can plan for the employee's absence. If the reason for the leave is medical in nature, employers may also require employees to provide a doctor's note confirming that the employee is medically cleared to return to work.


Common examples of a planned leave of absence:

  • To care for a sick family member

  • To deal with personal health issues

  • To bond with a new child

  • To deal with an unforeseen natural disaster

  • To take an extended trip overseas

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Planned leave of absence vs sabbatical leave

When it comes to taking time off from work, there are two main options: a planned leave of absence or a sabbatical. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose the option that's right for you.


A planned leave of absence is when you take time off for a specific purpose, such as to travel or care for a family member. The main advantage of this type of leave is that you can typically continue to receive health insurance and other benefits from your employer. However, the downside is that you will likely have to forfeit your salary during your leave.


A sabbatical, on the other hand, is usually taken for research or professional development purposes. Unlike a planned leave of absence, most employers will allow you to keep your salary and benefits while you're on sabbatical. However, the downside is that you may have to take a pay cut. Sabbaticals can also be difficult to get approved, so it's important to plan ahead if you're interested in this option.

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How to request a planned leave of absence

It's important to notify your employer as soon as possible if you anticipate the need for a planned leave of absence.


The length of time required for the leave, as well as the specific dates, should be included in your request. If possible, it's helpful to provide your employer with a doctor's note or other documentation explaining the reason for the leave. Your employer may also require you to submit a formal leave of absence form.


In most cases, your request will be granted provided that you have sufficient cause and give adequate notice. However, if your employer feels that the leave would create an undue hardship, they may DENY your request. If this happens, you may be able to appeal the decision or negotiate an alternate arrangement.


Template for requesting a planned leave of absence

I am writing to request a planned leave of absence from work. I am scheduled to begin my leave on [start date] and return to work on [end date]. During my leave, I will be [reason for leave]. I have already arranged for [coverage for responsibilities during leave]. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at [contact information]. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Tips for returning to work after a planned leave of absence

After taking some time off for a planned leave of absence, it can feel daunting to return to work. However, there are a few things you can do to ease the transition back into the workplace.


First, touch base with your supervisor before returning to work. This will give you an opportunity to catch up on anything that happened while you were gone and to let them know of any challenges you might be facing as you return.


Additionally, take some time to reconnect with your co-workers. Let them know about your leave of absence and ask about anything that happened while you were gone.


Finally, be patient with yourself as you reacclimate to work. It may take some time to get back into the swing of things, but by following these tips, you can make the transition back to work as seamless as possible.

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