How to Write a Paternity Leave Out-of-Office Message

Learn to write paternity leave out-of-office messages with the right tone and information to suit the needs of you and your company.

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picture of out of office text on post it note hanging outside on clothes line with blue sky in background.

The paternity leave out-of-office message might be one of the most exciting automated responses a man ever gets to compose. It’s a good time to let the excitement show, just a bit, but be sure to keep it professional. You’re about to become the father of a new child. Here’s how to compose a professional yet fun out-of-office paternity voicemail or email message. Make sure that you make it happen. It should be one of the final items on your to-do list, before you’re headed to the hospital.

This article will take you through the process of writing that out-of-office message. Read on and learn.

The time frame for a paternity or maternity leave message

Both new fathers and new mothers should set up out-of-office messages. Those messages should be on email and on their work phones for the full duration of their parental leave.

Most men need only a simple message that states their return date. It’s the rough equivalent of leaving a vacation automated response, which usually has a simple end date.Men who intend to take more time off should include details on when they will check their messages. It also helps to note if you’ll have limited access to email or that you’ll check email only at certain intervals. It might not be enough to provide only a return date and then to ignore emails for weeks and weeks. Some new fathers can take 8-12 weeks off for paternity leave. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what you should do. Should you write or voice just a quick message? Should you be checking your voicemails regularly while you’re away? Or should you just try to leave your work altogether, and just be a new dad?

To get the best answers to those questions, have an honest conversation with your supervisor about your company’s policies. Then, be sure to communicate with your clients and colleagues, using professional messages that start with a good subject line.

Setting boundaries with an automated paternity leave message

Clearly state the return date on your office message. Note when you’ll be checking messages. When you do this, you will implicitly set expectations and limitations for your communication while you’re on leave. You shouldn’t have colleagues or customers pestering you for an answer on a project-related topic. You also shouldn’t risk angering colleagues and customers by not answering. Make sure that your intervals for checking email messages are reasonable and have been cleared with your supervisor. You might even run these office messages past your supervisor to be sure that it suits your work environment.

Providing a point of contact

Although you might be away from the office on paternity leave, that doesn’t mean that people’s inquiries can wait. Pressing matters are bound to occur, so you should identify a point of contact to whom questions can be directed. Depending on your responsibilities and communications, you might identify one or several alternative contacts. Those people might be:

  • Someone who can answer general inquiries. This contact person might need to respond to customers, colleagues, former coworkers, media contacts, and the like. It could be an assistant, a colleague, or a general customer service representative.
  • Someone who can answer questions about project-related tasks. This contact might have to provide project updates or send or receive work files. Maybe they’ll need to confirm deadlines or respond to coworkers’ requests for help. It could be a team member or your supervisor. It might even be an assistant—if they’re familiar with the details of your work.
  • Someone who can provide immediate assistance for inquiries or for urgent matters that require quick responses. The contact might answer questions themselves, or they may forward questions onto the appropriate person. It could be an assistant, someone under you, or a general customer service representative.

Paternity leave email template and message examples

send coworkers Depending on your personality, position, and field, you might want a different type of out-of-office message. You’ll want to customize it and make it your own message. Even if you need to be terribly professional, however, you can show a glimpse of your joy. Be yourself, within reason. No one will begrudge a father appreciating his brand new baby. Also, you might record a formal message for outside communication and send coworkers a fun message.

General template for paternity leave email

Despite which tone you’re going for, your out-of-office reply should follow this general template:

  1. Subject line. Write a great subject line that states that you’re out of the office. Add some humor if you’d like to.
  2. Greeting. Offer a brief greeting that sets the tone of the email.
  3. Absence details. Note that the reason is paternity leave, and be sure to list your return date. Include humorous comments here if you’re writing a funny paternity leave email.
  4. Availability. Provide an alternative contact, and state when you’ll be checking email despite your leave (if, indeed, you will).
  5. Closing. Acknowledge the recipient and end the email. Include a comment about fatherhood if you want.

Professional paternity leave email example

Subject: Out of Office – [Name] on Paternity Leave

Dear [Recipient],

I hope that this email finds you well. I am writing to let you know that I will be out of the office on paternity leave from [start date] to [end date]. During this time, I will be taking some time off to spend with my family as we welcome a new child. We’re quite excited to have [child’s name] as a new part of our family.

For urgent assistance, please contact [alternative contact name and email]. I will respond to your email as soon as I can, but the promptness of my response may be limited during this time.

Thank you for your understanding and support as I take this time to be with my family.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

Funny paternity leave email example


This is [Your Name], and I’m currently on baby watch! My partner and I are expecting a little bundle of joy, and I’m going to be taking some time off to welcome our new addition to the family.

If you need help in an emergency, or a more immediate response, please contact [alternative contact name and email]. They’ll do their best to save the day while I’m busy changing diapers and singing lullabies. Do not call, please—you’ll risk waking a sleeping baby.

If your matter is less urgent or if you have tips on how to properly burp a baby, I promise to get back to you once I’ve had some sleep. I hope that will be sooner than 18 years from now—more like on [end date] when I return to the office.

Please wish me luck!

[Your Name]

Paternity leave out-of-office messages

After you compose and set up your paternity leave email and voicemail messages, make sure you’re informed on all that paternity leave includes. Your out-of-office messages are just the start. You’ll want to know more about how to smoothly return from paternity leave, as well. In fact, you’ll find a wealth of human resources information that can help you in your career (if not your fatherhood) at Workest.


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