There are many reasons that people find it necessary to resign from a position, and one of the most difficult and compelling is when you have a family situation that requires your full attention.
When you are resigning from a job for family reasons, you may want to mention this in your resignation letter. It's a good way to let your employer know that you're not moving on because of any issues with the job or the company, and it may leave the door open should you find that you want to return to your current position after your family condition changes.
However, don't feel that you have to share the details of the situation prompting your resignation with employers beyond using phrases like "family reasons" or "personal circumstances." It is completely acceptable for you to keep your personal reasons for resigning private.
Check Out Options Before You Resign
Before you resign because of an illness in the family, it's important to check to see if you are eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off from work. You may be able to take an unpaid leave rather than resigning.
If resignation is the only alternative, and you would like to return after your family issue is resolved, it’s fine to mention that fact that in your resignation letter.
It’s unlikely that your job will be waiting for you upon your return, but you never know, and leaving on a positive note is always best.
What to Include in Your Letter
While it's up to you how much detail you want to share about your reasons for resignation, it's wise to include some appreciation for the time you spent at the company, and the experiences you gained during your tenure there. You can mention what you've learned, help you've received from colleagues, or praise your management, co-workers, or the company.
Mention your last day in your letter, and unless it's unavoidable, aim to provide two weeks notice. Finally, discuss transition details. If you are available to train your replacement or provide email or phone support during the transition, let your employer know.
Here are two examples of letters resigning for family reasons. The first is a formal business letter, and the second is an email sample. Use these to help format your own resignation letter.
Resignation Letter Sample for Family Reasons
This is a resignation letter example for family reasons. Download the resignation letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Resignation Letter Sample for Family Reasons (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
September 1, 2018
Oak and Spruce Co.
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Lee:
I am writing to inform you that next month, I will be leaving Oak and Spruce Co. Unfortunately, family circumstances at this time require my full attention, and I have important issues to take care of, which leave me unable to fulfill my duties to the company.
I am very sorry to have caused any inconvenience, but please know that I will be available over the next month to assist with finding a replacement.
In addition, I will be sure that my responsibilities will be properly taken care of in the interim.
Thank you very much for understanding. I have had a positive experience working at Oak and Spruce Co. and I hope my leaving will not affect our relationship. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think of any way I can help with the transition to a new Sales Manager.
Albert Rodriguez (signature hard copy letter)
Sending an Email Resignation Message
When you’re emailing your letter, be sure to proofread, double-check that you have all the information you need, and send a test email to make sure your message is perfect.
Email Resignation Example - Family Reasons
Subject: Firstname Lastname Resignation
Dear Ms. Supervisor,
Please accept my resignation from my position at ABC Company, effective January 1, 2019. As you know, my son is suffering from a serious illness, and is going to require frequent visits to a specialist in another city. I will be unable to fulfill the commitments of my position here for the foreseeable future.
Please let me know if there is anything I can do to ease the transition in any way.
How to Minimize Career Implications
1. Plan before you resign. While there is no question that your family comes first during a time of crisis, it’s not callous of you to take into account the implications quitting your job or taking a leave will have on your career. Make a preliminary plan for how long you plan to be out and what you’ll do to return to your career afterward.
Note: How you resign is as important to your future career as your resume.
2. Consider the financials. Plan for expenses, both during your anticipated time away from your career and after. (You have no way of knowing how long it will take to get a job when you return.) Take into account factors like health insurance, retirement savings, and other benefits. Are there places where you can cut spending temporarily, to minimize the shortfall? Can you rely on savings or part-time freelancing work?
3. Explain the gap. It’s a good idea, when you have time, to give some thought to explaining the gap in your work history and resume that is going to appear after your leave is finished. If you choose to consult, freelance, or work part-time during your time away, this will be easier. But even if you must be out of work altogether, preparing an explanation will make it easier to explain the gap during interviews.