Quitting a Job Due to Illness

Trying to juggle your illness and work can keep you from getting better.
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Quitting a job is rarely an enjoyable experience. But sometimes it's unavoidable, such as when you or a close family member is sick. For your own long-term illness, you might be forced to quit once you've run out of sick days. If your company falls under the Family Medical Leave Act, you can stay out with a sick family member for 12 weeks without quitting, but a long-term illness might require you to resign.

Telling Your Boss

    That moment when you must look your boss in the face and tell her that you're leaving can be stressful. However, be confident that you're doing the best thing for yourself and your family. Have a brief professional resignation typed up and signed so you can hand it to her when you tell her that you must resign due to illness. Giving her a letter from your doctor, or the doctor of your family member, to back up your resignation can help explain your situation and ensure a positive reference in a future job search.

Giving Notice

    With illnesses, it's not always possible to give an appropriate notice. Most employers request at least two weeks' notice, so try to work out that length of notice if possible. Working a notice gives your employer time to begin searching for a replacement for you and makes her more likely to give you a positive reference when you're ready to look for a new job. If you're unable to come to work during your notice, offer to do some work from home if you can to show your employer you're committed to helping as much as possible.

What To Avoid

    It's best not to burn your bridges, so handle your resignation in a professional manner even if you can't work a notice period. Before posting your plan to resign on your social networking sites, be sure you've told your boss first. Your boss should also know before your co-workers do. Don't delete files off your computer, even if they are files you no longer need; your employer might need to reference older files when planning new projects.


    In some cases, quitting your job due to illness means you qualify for unemployment benefits. These benefits are for a limited time, sometimes up to 18 months, and pay a percentage of your regular salary. You might qualify whether you are sick or if you are taking care of a family member, such as an elderly parent, spouse or child.

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