How to Write a Letter Denying an Employee Time Off

by Lauren Treadwell; Updated September 26, 2017

Employers often have to make tough decisions when an employee requests time off. Sometimes, the dates the employee requested are already taken by another employee or the employee already has used his leave. In cases like this, you often have no choice but to deny the request. The way you notify the employee of your decision is crucial because the employee probably will be disappointed or frustrated about the denial. Your letter should be short but still include a tactful explanation.

Step 1

Write the employee's name and, if applicable, employee number on the left side of the page. Put the date under the name.

Step 2

Tell the employee you denied her request for time off in the first sentence. Give a brief explanation of why you cannot give the time off, such as being short-staffed or having an important meeting or deadline during that time. Be fair in your reasoning so the employee doesn't feel slighted by the denial.

Step 3

Give a date, or dates, more suitable for the employee to take off if you can. If not, simply state that you are sorry.

Step 4

Type your name and position at the bottom of the page. Sign it and give it to the employee.

About the Author

Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.