How to write a letter of resignation due to family emergency

Updated February 21, 2017

When you must leave your current job due to a family emergency, take the time to write a resignation letter that explains your exact reason for terminating your employment. This may make it easier if, in the future, you decide to ask for reinstatement of employment after the family emergency passes. Your employer can reference your resignation letter and see that you left to attend to family responsibilities -- not as the result of dissatisfaction or a desire to make a career change.

Use a block format for your letter. Left-justify the text and use single spacing, except for a double space between each paragraph.

Include positive information in the first paragraph such as your enjoyment working at the company and a mention of something you have learnt or experienced. For example, "I have appreciated the opportunity to work at XYZ for the past three years. I have been able to expand my knowledge as a paralegal and have experienced the true meaning of teamwork, working side-by-side with my colleagues."

State your reason for resignation in the second paragraph. For example, if appropriate, you could write, "I regret to inform you that I am resigning as a result of a family emergency. I will be the primary caregiver for my critically ill spouse. In line with my employment contract, my last day of work will be two weeks from the date of this letter."

State your desire to return to your current position or a similar one at a later date, if applicable. For example, if the situation warrants it, you could say, "I would like to return to work within the next three months, depending on my husband's health condition. I will keep you informed of his progress and my availability to return to work. Thank you for your understanding and consideration during this difficult time."

Sign the letter and make a copy for your files. Keep your employer informed as you promised in the letter.


Always use a courteous and positive tone in resignation letters.


Even if returning to your job is not a top priority, write the letter of resignation as if it is. Once the emergency subsides, you may find that you want to return to work.

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About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.