Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Eight of the best but worst annual leave request templates

With the advent of the internet, it was reasonable to expect that much of what we did would move online. But even in a world where it's possible to operate entire organisations remotely, the humble leave request form continues to exist in its paper form. With products like Leavetrack, there's no need to keep paper records of who took leave when. All annual leave is tracked online and our request forms are emails that go straight to your managers' inboxes.

If you are looking for an annual leave request template, why? I have learned a few things in my time and one is that designing forms to be good is really hard. It's even harder when trying to do it in Word or Excel. If you are insistent, pay a bit of money to a designer to help. Here are some alternatives and tips:

  • set up a Google Form or similar - that way you get a digital record that you can control access to. Yes, it doesn't have approval workflows but it's quick, easy and a record of what's happening.
  • use a Google Sheet Holiday Tracker - this is preferable to Excel because it can be used by multiple employees at the same time but if you're not a Google organisation, we can provide an Excel annual leave tracker template too.
  • separate the policy from the form. Too many forms have 17 bullet points listing out what can be requested by whom and when.
  • use Leavetrack or one of our competitors (no I won't list them because they're not as good) but you can find them if you search. Leavetrack offers email and Slack notifications and approvals; customisable leave types; block bookings and comprehensive reporting so you get control and visibility on employee annual leave.

After that, on to the best-worst annual leave request forms. I will say at the start that I have avoided annual leave request templates produced by schools - it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Public sector is fair game though - they have no excuse. I'm looking at you, Norfolk Council.

Let's get started with our top 8.

Toner Giant

It's not a bad sales tactic for your toner to suggest that your customers continue to use manual annual leave request forms. For any reasonably sized company, they will need a dedicated printer and toner cartridges to print enough copies.

I like the simple layout but am curious about the "processing to personnel files". How will the employee know that their leave request has been approved. Presumably HR will confirm it back using an intra-office memo.



I can see how appealing it would be to do a blog article on an "sample holiday request form" - no doubt if you're in the game (and I am) your marketing people will tell you that it will rank well for search engines.

Nevertheless it strikes me as odd that a company selling a tech solution would construct a serious post around the notion of a template. Maybe they felt the same because if I was a user looking for a leave request template, I'd feel cheated by the low effort example here. "Here's some words, brand it, put it on your business letterhe...zzzzz".

Much easier to write a blog post on annual leave request forms and be snarky about it.

Synergy Care

Something slightly snazzier about this one - it's an actual web form for starters. It does have a bit of a tone to it though - "No December leave will be considered until September, therefore please do not request Christmas leave until then." I wonder if Janice has been trying to grab the best days before everyone else?

Synergy Care

CIPD - HR Inform 

These guys are trusted by thousand of HR professionals which surprises me as I wouldn't trust any HR company who advocated for a Word based annual leave request form like this. I mean, what state must this form be in by the end of the year after it's been sat in a desk drawer, pulled out and walked round to the manager six or seven times? Crumpled, tea-stained and not really fit to go in the hanging files I guess.

What is the disclaimer about? 

"This document is for your guidance only. Professional advice should be sought before use.

What professional advice should the employee seek before filling in their name? And, if it's to be completed by the employee, how does the employer insist on annual leave at certain times? With Leavetrack, managers can record time for their employees and administrators can block book periods away, for example annual leave during a Christmas shutdown. With this form, I imagine the manager trying to take the form but John pointing at the top going, "It says, 'to be completed by employee'".

CIPD HR Inform


What kind of magical annual leave request template costs £50? I can only assume that this comes with a fake tan session beforehand to look the part on landing, travel insurance and an all-you-can-drink card for the local dive bar in Mykonos.


Very Little Helps

This is the content I am here for. The dodgy scan, the rules about what should be taken when. An "Admin Use Only" section. I could cry with happiness.

The inclusion of this annual leave request template is a bit questionable though, as "Very Little Helps" is a forum for employees of a large UK retailer to discuss work-related topics so this template may well come from that retailer but no guarantees.

With the disclaimer out of the way, let's look at the form.

If I want to take a single day off, I need to check how many days I've taken and then give the form to my manager who will respond within 7 days for one day's holiday!

Not only that but the line manager then needs to send it off to the "Admin Use Only" Team where forms go to die. And eventually I then get a little slip back for me which does at least tell me how many days I have left. I mean, assuming the "Admin Use Only" Team deal with the annual leave requests in order they are received. Otherwise, things might get messy.

Screenshot 2021-04-08 at 22.14.25.png 615 KB

Norfolk Council

Simple. Straightforward. I assume the green is on brand if a little jarring. Whoever put this together nailed it first time with the confident V1.0 at the bottom.

Norfolk Council


This is all fairly standard until you get to the end of the "Terms and Conditions Applicable to you Taking Holiday". 

"Please note there is no half day booking for Fridays and Fridays are booked as full days.

How miserable is that? No long Friday lunch bleeding into Friday afternoon and evening. You need to come back and mope around the office. 

If they tried this in the City of London, there'd be uproar.


Here's a top tip if you are looking for a template annual leave request form - don't use any of these. Don't use a paper form at all. Use Leavetrack.

Posted by Robin on 09 Apr, 2021 in Friday Fun