If you must resign from your job because of a family emergency, it’s common courtesy to give your employer a resignation letter. Under normal circumstances, you do not have to say why you are resigning. In the case of a family emergency, however, you should say why so your employer knows that the problem does not stem from job dissatisfaction.
For a professional look, use a word processing program to prepare the document. At the top of the page, write your name and address. Under your contact information, write the date. Below the date, put your manager’s name and business address. You do not have to include a subject line. However, if you choose to, you might write: “Resignation due to family emergency.”
Since you are leaving your job because of a family emergency, the situation is likely critical. Regardless of how emotional you might be feeling, keep the tone of the letter optimistic and polite. Start your first paragraph with a positive statement about the company. For example, you could say, “I appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your team over the past four years. The experience has allowed me to broaden my knowledge as an accounting assistant and to develop a true understanding of teamwork.” You might also highlight a specific experience, where you and your coworkers collaborated on a successful project.
In your second paragraph, say why you are resigning. You might write: “I regret to inform you that I am resigning from my position because of a family emergency that requires that I become the lead caretaker to my ill husband. It would be best for me to remain at home and give him the support he needs during this tough time in our lives.” Finish the paragraph by stating your last work day. If possible, give at least two weeks’ notice and offer to help train your replacement.
If you would like to return to your current position at some point, say so in your last paragraph. You could say, “I will keep you informed on my husband’s progress. If his situation improves, I would like to check back with you to see about returning to work for you." Since you are tendering a resignation rather than requesting a leave of absence, it is better to simply let your boss know you are interested in returning at some point rather than provide a specific time frame. Your job will likely be filled sometime before or shortly after you leave, so you can't assume your boss will keep it open for you. Even if you do not think you will be able to return to work, still include it as an option in the letter. Things might change after the emergency passes. Encourage your manager to stay in touch, thank her for her time and consideration and sign the letter.
Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.