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

Unsure on how to request for vacation days? This easy-to-follow guide will help you achieve your well-deserved days off. 

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. (If you need to write an email, we can help with that too)

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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 them 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.

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

  • Tip#1: Send a vacation request email weeks in advance.
  • Tip#2: Be friendly.
  • Tip#3: Be sure to use the word “because” when explaining your reasons.
  • Tip#4: Ease any concerns about finishing your projects on time.

FAQs About Requesting Time Off

Can an employer ask why you are requesting time off?

Yes they can, but an employee generally does not have to answer the question if they do not want to

Can I ask for vacation after 3 months at a new job?

The general rule of thumb is likely to wait around three to six months. However, it strongly depends on the organization and their culture.

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