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How to Write a Resignation Letter for an Unexpected Emergency

Updated on April 2, 2024ProfessionalsWriting Tips

Sometimes, an unexpected emergency will arise in your personal life. Maybe you or a family member is confronting a sudden medical or health issue; maybe military or legal reasons require that you immediately uproot your life. In the face of such an emergency, resigning from your job might be the last thing you want to deal with. However, your resignation should still be handled professionally so that you have the highest chance of maintaining a good relationship with the company that will soon be your former employer.

If you do have to leave your job due to an unexpected event, you’ll have to follow your company’s official protocol for closing out your employment. In most cases, that means you’ll need to write an emergency resignation letter. Keep reading to learn how to write a professional, well-formatted letter without causing extra stress for yourself or your employer during an already stressful situation.

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Understanding emergency resignation letters

An emergency resignation letter is a legal document that states your intent to leave your job due to something that has happened suddenly, usually in your personal life. Companies often require employees to submit a resignation letter so that the company has an official record of their departure. In addition, you may need written documentation if a question comes up later about how and when you departed.

Companies usually prefer that employees who resign give them two weeks’ notice before their last day of employment. However, in the event of an emergency, you may have to leave the company immediately. If that’s the case, you’ll want to express in your letter your regret for not being able to provide the customary two-week notice period. This is important to do because you want to leave on as positive a note as possible in case you ever have to ask the company, your manager, or your colleagues for a reference.

Crafting your emergency resignation letter

Like other professional communications, your emergency resignation letter should be clear, concise, and to the point. The tone should be one of gratitude to the company, avoiding any negativity.

The format of your emergency resignation letter should be a formal business letter. You should maintain a professional stance throughout, and keep in mind that you can use Grammarly to check for concision as well as correct grammar, punctuation, and tone. Essential elements to include in this letter are:

  • The date
  • The name of the company
  • The name of the person you’re addressing the letter to (usually your immediate boss)
  • The fact that you are resigning for emergency reasons
  • Your final date of employment (this can be immediately)
  • An offer to help with the transition
  • Appreciation for the company and the opportunity to work there
  • Your name

Grammarly’s AI resignation letter generator can help you draft an immediate resignation letter template. Simply enter the addressee and a reason for the resignation, and it will generate a letter that you can then tailor to your unique needs.

Example emergency resignation letter

Below is an example of an immediate resignation letter for personal reasons. Of course, you should personalize this letter to suit your own situation.

[Today’s date]

[Name of employer]

[Address of company]

Dear [manager],

I am writing to formally notify you of my resignation from [Your Position] at [Company Name], effective [Last Working Day, typically two weeks from the date above, unless an emergency requires an immediate departure].

This decision was not made lightly. Due to an unforeseen personal situation that requires my immediate and full attention, I find myself unable to continue fulfilling my duties with the dedication and commitment they deserve. I understand the challenges my sudden departure may cause to the team and the company, and I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Please know that I am willing to assist in the transition process in any way that my current circumstances allow. Whether that involves helping to identify a replacement, training a current team member, or documenting my work and responsibilities, I aim to support you and the team to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

I want to express my genuine gratitude for the opportunities for professional and personal development that I have been given during my time at [Company Name]. It has been a pleasure working with you and the team, and I am deeply saddened to leave under these circumstances. I hope to maintain a positive relationship with the company, and I look forward to possibly crossing paths in the future under different circumstances.

Thank you for your understanding and support during this difficult time. Please let me know the next steps and how I can assist in the transition.


[Your name]

Tips for your emergency resignation letter

Resignation letters for a short-notice emergency can take your manager by surprise. Your company may not have someone to fill in for you right away. You may be leaving before you can complete a project that only you have been working on and are deeply familiar with. For these reasons and more, it’s imperative to communicate the situation tactfully. Here are some tips for doing that in your immediate resignation letter:

Format the letter professionally

An emergency resignation letter is, first and foremost, a letter. It may appear on official letterhead or as an email, depending on your company’s policies. Whatever the format, your letter should include the person it’s addressed to, the date, and the company, and it should be signed with your name.

Keep the tone formal

Even though you’re leaving your company, your resignation letter still qualifies as a piece of writing for work. You should use professional words and tone throughout your letter.

Proofread your letter

Pay particular attention to detail in your official resignation letter. Grammarly can help in the proofreading stage to ensure your writing is grammatically correct, uses correct punctuation, and is written concisely.

Keep your explanation for leaving short

Your emergency resignation letter does not need to describe your emergency in detail. Lengthy stories about what happened in your personal life to trigger your resignation don’t belong in a short letter intended simply to communicate your departure. Keep it brief and to the point.

Express regret for the sudden notice

State that you know your sudden departure will leave the company with a gap until they find your replacement. If it feels authentic, you can include a farewell message to your colleagues in your letter to help ensure you leave on a good note.

Offer to help with the transition

If you’re not required to leave immediately, it’ll benefit the company—and maybe your reputation as well—to assist in transitioning your responsibilities to other team members. This process could include drafting a handoff document that details all the significant files and projects you’re currently working on or are connected with at the company. Additionally, it might involve scheduling meetings with those colleagues who will be taking on additional duties in your absence. No matter the duration of your remaining time with the company, try to complete as much of your current work as possible.

Find the right channel of communication

Consult your manager or HR representative about the preferred communication channel for submitting your resignation letter. Different companies have varying preferences: some may require a formal letter on personal letterhead in a PDF format, while others may find an email to be sufficient. Additionally, consider accompanying your resignation letter with a direct conversation with your direct supervisor or someone from the HR department, keeping in mind that this discussion should complement, not replace, the official written notice.

FAQs on resignation letters for an unexpected emergency

How do I write a resignation letter in case of an emergency?

To write a resignation letter in case of an emergency, include the name of the company, your manager’s name, and your name in the letter. Also include a short reason for the resignation and your intended last day of employment at the company. You can use Grammarly’s AI resignation letter generator to draft your resignation letter in just a few clicks.

What are tips for writing a professional resignation letter in an emergency?

In the event of an emergency, keep your professional resignation letter short and concise. Take a formal tone. Avoid going into detail about the nature of your emergency. Thank the company for the opportunity to work there. If your circumstances allow, offer to help them with the transition.

How can I use AI to help with writing a resignation letter in an unexpected emergency?

Grammarly’s AI resignation letter generator can help you draft a well-formatted, professional resignation letter quickly and efficiently. Simply enter your target audience and details of your situation. You can then take this draft and refine it.

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