If your business has a growing number of employees, you can use a time off request form to track and approve requests for time off. This can help you make sure that you always have enough manpower to cover your business needs.
To learn more about providing time off, read our complete paid time off (PTO) guide for small business owners.
Free Vacation Request Form Template
ABC Company Vacation Request Form
Please submit this form for approval at least four (4) weeks in advance of your preferred vacation dates. All requests should first be verbally submitted to your supervisor in person; forms can then be submitted via email or in person after this initial conversation. Vacation time that is not approved but still taken by the employee will be unpaid and subject to progressive discipline.
Employee Name: ____________________________________________________
Vacation Dates Requested: ____/____/______ through ____/____/______
Total Number of Days/Hours Requested: __________________________________
Signature of Employee Request Date
Approval (circle one): YES NO
Supervisor Name Approval or Denial Date
FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY:
Recorded into Employee Calendar: YES NO
Recorded into Payroll System: YES NO
What To Include On Your Time Off Request Form
There are certain parameters you will want to include on your time off request form:
- Employee name
- Dates/hours of leave requested – Put in both the days off that the employee requested (e.g. January 3, 2017 – January 6, 2017) and the total number of days or hours (e.g. 4 days).
- Reminder of your policy, such as how far in advance your employees need to request time off and the method for requesting time off (i.e. can the time off request form be emailed?)
- Request date and approval/denial date
- Signature of employee and the supervisor who approved or denied the request for leave
We also recommend including a section to remind yourself to record the dates on the employee calendar and into your payroll system, which is especially important if you provide paid time off (versus unpaid).
You may have different processes for requesting different types of time off, i.e. vacation time versus sick time versus bereavement leave. It also might depend on if the time off is paid or unpaid, and if you have a shift system where someone “calling in” might need a different process than a salaried office worker. You can learn more about our recommendations on paid time off policies and a guide to them for small businesses here.
Top 3 Reasons to Have Vacation Request Forms
Why should you have time off request forms? Let’s look at the top 3 reasons:
Reason 1: It keeps you and your employees informed about their time off.
No more questions on whether Susan has 3 days left and John has 4.5 days left. It will all be tracked and documented so that every employee’s balance of time off leftover is clear. If your business doesn’t set any hard limits on the amount of time off, you can still use these forms to get insight into who is constantly requesting time off and putting undue hardship on the other team members.
Reason 2: If you do have paid time off and need to fire someone, you have to pay them for it.
Tracking time off pays off, literally. You will want an accurate record of how much paid time off you owe someone at their termination.
Reason 3: It can help you anticipate hiring and scheduling needs.
Maybe you run a restaurant and all your servers always want Saturdays off. Or maybe you run a daycare and constantly have people asking for Fridays off. Noticing this pattern can help you figure out if you need to hire more people, or if you need to play with your work schedule, such as rotating people who work on the least desired day.
Have a busy office-based company with a lot of requests like this? Gusto can track your employees’ time off requests electronically and automatically.
The Bottom Line
Having proper forms to document your employees’ time off requests makes sense, especially if your payroll provider does not document time off. It also makes sense if you have shift workers where you need to make sure you are covered for staffing and lets you anticipate your work schedule needs in advance. Vacation forms are an easy solution to annoying problems for the small business owner. Don’t forget to try Gusto to streamline your payroll.