Writing a Request Letter for Family Emergency Leave [Free Sample]

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It is not unusual in any family to have an emergency situation arise such as an accident or sudden illness. 

It is recognized that when a person’s family is in trouble, it’s more productive for their employer to let them tend to the emergency than keep them at work while they are worrying and stressful. 

When this happens, it may be necessary for a family member to take emergency leave from his or her work to help at home. It is not possible, in such circumstances, to apply for leave in advance. 

However, it is courteous and responsible as well as essential to inform an employer or human resource department if a person needs to leave work quickly. 

Rules And Regulations

It’s important to follow any rules and regulations relating to leave in a person’s contract, but emergency leave will also be allowed. The person concerned needs to write a family emergency leave letter to their employer or head of human resources to request this type of leave.

Some companies have emergency leave policies and may require proof of the emergency such as a police report of an automobile accident or medical documents pertaining to an illness or other accident. 

The employee should make sure he or she is following all company policies with regard to emergency leave. This type of leave is not to be used as sick leave for the employee.

Family And Medical Leave Act

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act in the United States, people have the right to take leave from their work for legitimate family emergencies without worrying about losing their job or being demoted. 

Along with illness or accident, other reasons for taking family emergency leave are the birth or adoption of a child. Employees may want to use their vacation time for emergency leave. Otherwise, the leave may be without pay. 

It is recommended to make the subject line or RE: in bold. A family emergency leave letter should contain: 

  • The type of emergency
  • The expected date of return
  • The contact information of the employee
  • Other details that may clarify the situation

The tone of the letter should be respectful as well as convincing. It is not recommended to go on at length about a horrible accident or illness. However, it is important to give details about the reason for the emergency leave request. 

For example, the letter may say the employee’s child was in a car accident and has been taken to the hospital, but it need not say the child’s leg may be broken or there may be serious internal injuries. 

Even though an emergency leave cannot be planned, it should contain specific dates. For example, the person may want to leave the office immediately, but they should give a date for when they plan to return. 

Return Date

In some cases, it may not be possible to give a return date, but the employee should try to select a return date even if it is longer than needed. They may only need two days to take care of the emergency, or they may need two weeks. 

Below is a sample family emergency leave letter. It should be written in a formal business-letter style and delivered by hand to the person concerned. As with all formal communication, it is recommended for the employee to keep a copy of the letter in his or her files. 

The employee should send the letter to the employer or head of human resources and a copy to his or her direct supervisor, so the letter will be put in the employee’s file.  

Sample Family Emergency Leave Letter

Your Name
Your Address
City, State, Zip Code


Name of Employer or HR Manager
Name of Company
Address of Company
City, State, Zip Code

RE: Emergency Leave

Dear Name of Employer:

This letter is to inform you that I need to take emergency leave starting today. My daughter just called me to inform me that my wife collapsed in the grocery store and has been taken to Name of Hospital. 

I need to go to the hospital as soon as possible. I don’t as yet know if she is seriously ill, and will inform you as soon as I can.

I plan to return to work the day after tomorrow on DATE because I need a day to arrange for someone to come live in our home for a few days until my wife is discharged from the hospital. 

I have informed my colleagues of my situation and am assured that my work will not suffer during this time. I can be reached at Phone Number at any time if you have any questions or would like more information. I can also be reached at Email Address. 

Thank you for your consideration at this unsettling time. I look forward to receiving a positive response. 


Your Signature
Your Printed Name
Cc: direct supervisor

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