How to request time off from work

Depending on where you work, your will get a set amount of time-off every year.

This is a great benefit to take advantage of if you have important life events that you don’t want to miss, like

  • Graduation
  • Wedding
  • Family reunion

Below, we are going to outline the best policies for requesting time off.


Step #1: When hired, clarify your employer's time-off policy 

When you’re hired, make sure to first ask: "Do I get any paid time off or non-paid time off days in this job?" The answer to this question will let you know how many days, if any, you have off each year. And, it will let you know if they are paid or non-paid days off.

After finding the answer to this question, next you should ask: “If I want to request a day off from work, what is the process for this?” The answer to this question will set you on a track to get your off days approved.

It’s important that you ask your home care agency’s specific rule for off days because rules are different everywhere. If you assume that the rule for requesting days off is the same everywhere, you might make a mistake when requesting days off.

It’s bad to make a mistake in requesting days off because you can really upset your employer if you do. For example, if you don’t correctly request a day off, that can leave your manager struggling to find someone to cover it when the time comes for your day off.

This is why it’s really important to understand your home care agency’s time-off policy.


Step #2: Email your manager as soon as possible when you want a day off 

The general rule is to ask for your time off more than two weeks in advance.

As an important note: two weeks is the general rule for when you should let your boss know about the time you’re requesting off. This isn’t the rule everywhere.

In order to ask for this day off, you can send them an email saying something like:

(Insert Manager’s Name), 
Hope you’re doing well! I wanted to email today to ask if it would be possible for me to take one of my off days for this year on Friday, August 5th, 2022. I am requesting this day off so that I can attend my cousin’s graduation from high school.
This is my first day requested off of the year. I wanted to make sure to email you now so that we have enough time to find someone to cover my shift with (insert client’s name) from (shift start time) to (shift end time).
Please let me know if this is possible, and I really appreciate your help.
Thank you so much again,
(Insert Your Name)


By sending an email like this, you will have successfully requested a day off. Doing this will give your manager enough time to find someone to cover your shift or to work something out with your client’s family.

As a reminder again, sure this email is sent two weeks before the day you’re requesting off OR how ever many weeks in advance your company's off day policy requires.


Step #3: Reach out to your manager 1-2 days before your off day to remind them

Make sure to reach out to your manager 1-2 days before your time off and remind them that you won’t be working.

This way, they are reminded to double-check that your shift is covered. Or, they are reminded to check that your client’s family is set to take care of their family member that day.

An example of what to say in an email for this is:

(Insert Your Manager’s Name), 
I am emailing to remind you that I will not be working my shift on (date of shift) from (shift start time) to (shift end time) because of my cousin’s high school graduation.
I also wanted to thank you for figuring out who to get to cover my shift. I really appreciate your help with this, and for helping me to be able to go to my cousin’s graduation. It'll be the first time my family is all together in 5 years!
I hope you have a great weekend, and please let me know if you need anything from me.
Thanks again!
(Insert Your Name)


By sending an email like this 1-2 days before the shift you have off, you’re reminding your manager that you won’t be there. This reminds them to double-check your shift is covered. Sending an email like this also allows you to say thank you to your manager. Saying thank you is something you should do to show your appreciation for their help and time.



If you make sure to:

  1. Clarify your home care agency’s time-off policy when you’re hired
  2. Let your manager know as soon as possible when you want that day off via Email
  3. Reach out to your manager two days before your off day to remind them,

Then, you will have successfully requested an off day in a way that makes it easy for your manager.

Always remember that letting people know about off days as soon as possible is most convenient for everyone. Also, always remember that communication is key. If you remember both of these things and follow the steps we have outlined, you will be set to get your off day approved!

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