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How to ask for vacation days (Word-for-word email script)

Today, I want to help you write a vacation request email that will get your boss to approve your PTO without any pushback. You’ll even get something at the end of this post that can help you get an extra week or two of paid vacation.

Ramit Sethi

The holidays are coming up.

You send your boss an email asking to take a few days off for vacation. But what do they say?

“Sorry, we have too much going on. We’ll need you here.”

Today, I want to help you use your PTO vacation days without any pushback. You’ll even get something at the end of this post that can help you get an extra week or two of paid vacation using the same techniques my students use to get $43,000 raises.

But first, let’s look at how you can get your boss to say “Yes” when you ask for leave time. Starting with a word-for-word script you can use when requesting vacation time — even if it’s during a “busy time” for your company.

Script: A simple vacation request email

Subject: Vacation request (October 2nd through October 6th)

Hi Jack,

I’d like to request vacation time from Monday, October 2nd, through Friday, October 6th because I’ll be taking a family vacation over those days.

While I’m gone, I’ll be reachable by email but not phone. I’ll be making sure that we have coverage in the support queue while I’m gone, and I’ll also be distributing a playbook to my team so it’s clear who owns which issues.

Is this OK?

Thanks,

-Ramit

Now, what makes this so effective?

To answer that, let’s look at this email from your boss’s perspective.

What reasons might they have to decline your request to take vacation leave?

  • They’re worried a project you’re working on won’t get done while you’re gone
  • They don’t want your workload to wind up on their desk
  • They don’t want to run around reassigning your tasks to other people

Now let’s see how this email overcomes these objections and gets them to say “Yes” to your vacation leave request.

1. It opens with a friendly tone. Saying “I would like” is a much softer request than stating “I request” or “I’m taking this time off.”

2. The word “because” is strategically chosen as it increases compliance. Saying “because” and giving your boss a reason for the time off (no matter what the reason is) makes it more likely he or she will say yes.

3. Remember how your boss was worried your work wouldn’t get done? Well in that last section you ease that concern by showing him you’ve already thought about that. You’ve even gone the extra mile to ensure any projects you’re working on still get finished on time.

Finally, be sure to send vacation request emails weeks — even months — in advance. It’s far easier for your boss to say “Yes” when they have plenty of time to plan around your absence.

Bonus: Want to finally start getting paid what you’re worth? I’ll show you exactly how in my Ultimate Guide to Getting a Raise. It’s absolutely FREE!

To recap, here’s how to ask for time off:

  • Send a vacation request email weeks in advance.
  • Be friendly.
  • Be sure to use the word “because” when explaining your reasons.
  • Ease any concerns about finishing your projects on time.

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1 Comments

 
  1. avatar
    Life Outside The Maze

    I like the general theme of the presumptive close here. No one likes to say no when all the reasons are there to say yes and the yes has been presumed. Working for a boss is a relationship and as a boss myself, I like to say yes to my employees.