How to Write a Formal Letter Requesting to Be Late at Work

by Amelia Jenkins; Updated September 26, 2017
Address your supervisor in your letter.

If you know you need to come in late to work one day, you have a better chance of getting an approval from your supervisor and avoiding any problems later on if you formally request to come in late. By making this request in writing, you can also keep it for your records.

Step 1

Write the date you made the request, formatting the date with the full month, day and full year. Indent the margins to 2 inches below the top of the page and format the text to the left side.

Step 2

Add a double space to the letter. On the second line, address your direct supervisor by name in the salutation, such as “Dear Sam Johnson.” Add a colon after your supervisor’s name.

Step 3

Skip a line between the salutation and the body of the letter. Use the first paragraph to request permission to arrive to work late. Include the date you need to arrive late and what time you expect to come to work. Add a double space between all of the paragraphs.

Step 4

Provide a reason for your late arrival in the second paragraph. Give your supervisor an honest reason, but keep your explanations brief and to the point.

Step 5

Thank your supervisor for his time in the closing paragraph. Include information on how he can contact you if you do not deal with him directly on a regular basis.

Step 6

Add a closure to the end of the letter, such as “Thank you.” Follow the closing statement with a comma. Type your full name two spaces after the closure, or four spaces if you plan to print and hand-sign your formal request.

Step 7

Deliver the formal request letter to your supervisor. If you frequently contact your supervisor through email, you can simply email the request. Alternatively, you can print the request, add a personal signature and mail or hand deliver the letter.


  • Avoid using a conversational tone when addressing your supervisor. Keep your text brief, sharp and professional throughout the body of the letter.

    Double-check the spelling of your supervisor’s name and his current mailing address to ensure the request reaches the right person.

About the Author

Amelia Jenkins has more than eight years of professional writing experience, covering financial, environmental and travel topics. Her work has appeared on MSN and various other websites and her articles have topped the best-of list for sites like Bankrate and Kipplinger. Jenkins studied English at Tarrant County College.

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