Your ‘how to ask to leave work early’ email

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

A total surprise for me is that my post ‘How to Ask your Boss if you Can Leave Work Early – Like a Pro‘ has become my my popular, with over 2million views since publishing in 2013. Since then, I have received thousands of emails and messages requesting that I help the sender craft an email to their boss in order to gain permission to leave early.

It made sense that I should publish a model email to help more people with their request to their boss. So I’ve done just that.

Related:  The Best Excuses for Asking Your Boss to Leave Early
  How to Sneak Out From Work Early Without Getting Caught
  How to Ask Your Boss for Emergency Time Off

My model email is below, but before you go cut&paste it for yourself, take note of this guidance first:

  1. This is a model email that works for me. It’s worded how I prefer to express myself. You might have a different style of communication, and I always recommend that you adapt any model communications to your own style.
  2. The model is brief, deliberately. By all means ‘top and tail’ what I’ve written below, but I urge you not to add ‘waffle’, or you will distract your boss from the main point of the email.
  3. If it’s not obvious to you, I’ve included some placeholders in the model content. These are for you to replace with your own words. For example, replace [Boss Name] with the name of your boss; [when] should be replaced with when you wish to leave early; [whatever] is to be replaced by your reason for needing to leave early. And so on. I’ve provided an example at the end of this post to show you what I mean.
  4. When you’re sending the email, if you can, add a ‘read receipt’. That way you will know if your boss has read your email request. If it’s culturally acceptable in your workplace, if you can, add an ‘urgent’ flag. BUT, I would advice you against tagging your email as ‘important’ – because your request may be important to you, but it is unlikely to be important to your boss.
  5. After sending your email request, don’t pester your boss for an immediate reply. BUT, do follow up at a later time if your boss hasn’t replied. If your boss hasn’t read the email (or if you haven’t received a ‘read receipt’) then I suggest you follow-up your request in person or by phone.

OK, so onto the model email. Here goes:

Subject: Request to leave work early [when]
Hi [Boss Name]
I would like your permission to leave early [when] because I have an urgent situation with [whatever]. This is really important to me because [reason why]. Please understand that I ask you because I have no other option. To compensate [employer/company name] for this, I could [work longer next day or do an extra shift, etc] - perhaps you have an idea of your own. 
Thanks in advance
[Your Name]

As an example, here is one I have used:

Subject: Request to leave work early tomorrow
Hi Colin
I would like your permission to leave early tomorrow evening at 3pm because I have an urgent situation with my son's school. This is really important to me because his SAT scores are at risk. Please understand that I ask you because I have no other option. To compensate ACME Inc for this, I could make the time up the next day - perhaps you have an idea of your own. 
Thanks in advance

How did this work for you?

If you use this model email, please share your experience using a comment below. Thanks!


About the author /

Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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