By Joe Crowe 

Asking to take time off from work can be touchy subject. Even when you’re entitled to sick time or vacation time, sometimes it can feel stressful to ask. That’s in addition to the stresses of whatever the issue is, whether it’s sickness or injury. The good news is that experts say that there are a number of ways to approach such requests successfully.

Use your vacation time

Find out the details of your company’s vacation time, by checking with Human Resources, your manager, or the employee manual, says Alison Doyle at The Balance. If paid vacation is not offered or if you have already used it all, you can still request time off. It’s likely that you would not be paid during your absence, but it’s still possible that your manager would agree to it. If you need more than a few days, because of illness, injury, or family concerns, look into a family leave or medical leave, Doyle says.

 Know the details about FMLA (The Family and Medical Leave Act)

Employers who have more than 50 workers must provide employees who’ve been on the job for at least 12 months or 1,250 hours over the previous year with up to 12 work weeks of unpaid Family Leave time. Under FMLA, after leave is over, the employer must give the employee back his or her job, or an equivalent one.  The law states that covered employers must grant unpaid leave due to caring for a newborn child or an adopted child of the employee; care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious medical condition; to recover from a serious injury; or to deal with issues related to the employee’s military service. (For more about FMLA, check out )

Once you know what your job allows, you’ll be more ready to make the time-off request.

Make the request face-to-face, and put it in writing

“This is not the time to send an email or a text message,” says management consultant Susan Heathfield in U.S. News and World Report. Then follow up your request for in writing, so there is documentation when your time off occurs, Doyle says.

Leave your employer in good shape

Get on top or ahead of your usual tasks. If your work needs to be done while you’re out, make a plan with your manager or coworkers. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask. If possible, work in your time away around busy seasons, or extremely busy times of the day, week, or month.

 Ask, don’t tell

Make it a request, not a demand, Doyle says. Don’t phrase your plans as a done deal before you get approval. In other words, don’t say, “My mom’s got the flu, I’m out of here,” as you run out the door.

Follow these suggestions and you can handle your work responsibilities and your life responsibilities at the same time.

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