The crucial asking for leave etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for asking your manager for time off politely and effectively.

What asking for leave etiquette is

Asking for a leave etiquette is the set of rules to politely ask your manager for time off. Such rules include:

  • How to make an appropriate request for a leave.
  • The behaviors to avoid.

As an employee, when asking your manager for a leave, follow these etiquette rules to ask politely and make the right impression.

As a manager or an employer, promote asking for leave etiquette to encourage your team to make mature requests and enjoy their time off.

General asking for leave etiquette principles

Asking for leave etiquette is based on three main principles.

  • Ensure that your rights as an employee are respected.
  • Prevent avoidable inconveniences to your manager and team.
  • Not being perceived as entitled or aggressive when asking for a leave.
etiquette rules for asking your manager for vacation leave or time off

Asking for leave etiquette rules

1) Know your rights and your duties

Every employee has the right to take time off. Employees must be able to enjoy all the time off provided for in their contract or by local laws.

At the same time, employees have duties too. Your leave may be inappropriate if it creates an inconvenience to your manager or team. For example, if you announce today that you will be out of the office for three weeks, starting tomorrow, your team may be unable to plan properly and absorb your workload. For this reason, employees do have the right to time off, but they have to ask for their manager’s approval.

Thus, when asking your manager for a leave, do not act entitled. Your company owes you your days of leave, but they do have a say in how you should request them and when you can enjoy them.

2) Choose the right time for asking for a leave

The success of your request largely depends on the timing. Asking for a leave at the right time significantly increases the chances of success. While asking for a leave at the wrong time results in almost certain rejection.

For example, it s best not to ask for a leave during a busy period, such as the closing of the year. Similarly, try to avoid peak season, when most employees leave, as it is harder for a manager to cover the absence of multiple team members at the same time.

3) Ask for leave as early as possible

Signal to your manager that you intend to request leave at least a few weeks in advance. The shorter the notice you give, the lower your chances of success. On the other hand, if you ask well in advance the manager will have plenty of time to plan and approve your request.

In general, you should ask for a short leave of 1 or 2 days about two weeks in advance. For a leave of 2 weeks or longer, ask at least 3 or 4 weeks in advance.

4) Be clear and appropriate when asking for a leave

Assess what you can or cannot ask your manager. Understand the limit of what you can ask for. Do not overshoot as you risk losing credibility and harming your relationship with your manager and team.

Start your request by making your intentions clear. State what you need and would like to get. Make your request precise, stating the exact days of leave. .Keep a positive tone of voice and positive body language.

Ideally, ask for leave in person. Asking it over the phone, text messages, voice messages, or email can be appropriate too. However, such channels look impersonal and the message and its tone can be misinterpreted. Never ask for leave in public, as you risk putting your manager in an embarrassing spot.

5) Do not explain the reasons behind your request

When asking for leave, you do not need to state the reasons behind your request. Vacation time or simply time off are among your rights as an employee. Thus, you do not need to explain anything or provide additional detail.

6) Respect a well-motivated negative answer

If the manager does not accept your request for leave, you should respect their answer.

However, it is perfectly appropriate to ask why they are rejecting your request. The manager should provide some explanation and suggest some alternatives. In other words, the manager should turn the “no” into a “not now”.

Rejecting your request without providing any reason is not correct. If this happens, discreetly reach out to human resources or another manager to ask for their support.

7) Thank your manager if your leave is approved

Thank your manager if your request for leave is approved. While time off is your right, your manager and your team have to plan for and cover your leave. Thus, it is perfect etiquette to show appreciation for the effort.

8) Confirm your leave in writing

Always confirm your leave in writing after its approval. First, people forget. Second, writing helps avoid any misunderstanding.

If your company has a clear policy to request and confirm time off, it is sufficient to stick to it. Otherwise, you can send a calendar reminder or an email to your manager and team with the days of your leave.

asking for leave etiquette mistakes

Asking for leave etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst asking for leave etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Not thanking your manager after approval.
  • 8/10. Not accepting a “no”.
  • 8/10. Asking for a too-long leave.
  • 8/10. Giving a too-short notice.
  • 7/10. Asking for leave in public.