Updated : 08/02/2023

What if you are feeling well, but someone in your household (your children, your partner, grandparents, etc.) is sick and needs your undivided attention, could you request a family emergency sick leave? Yes. In this article you will find a sample letter and basic information to formally request a family emergency leave.

Table Of Contents

1. What is considered a Family Emergency Leave?

Whenever a family emergency is presented our first response is to drop everything and take care of our family member. In those situations you need to carefully consider what qualifies as an emergency.

✓ Possible Family Emergencies Examples
  • Birth & care of a newborn child
  • Adoption or foster care of a child
  • Taking care of a immediate family member with a serious health condition
  • Car or similar accident of an immediate family member
  • Death or funeral of an immediate family member (this applies as an exception to extended family members such as aunts/uncles, great grandparents/uncles and cousins)
  • Natural disaster or other external danger that puts that immediate family member in danger
  • Any emotional threat, trauma or detriment of an immediate family member

Who is considered an immediate family member?

Though it may seem obvious, not everything qualifies as a family emergency. You also need to remember that this formal request only applies to immediate family members.

✓ Immediate Family Members
  • Spouse or Domestic Partner
  • Parents or Legal Guardian
  • Grandparents
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • Mother & Father-in-law
  • Sister & Brother-in-law
  • Daughter & Son-in-law
  • Stepfamily Members

2. How to Write a Family Emergency Leave Letter

Does your situation fall under the emergencies mentioned above? Does the person qualify as an immediate family member? If the answer is “yes” to both questions, feel free to use our Family Emergency Leave letter sample below as a guide in creating your own, and be sure to customize your letter.

If you think that you can work remotely while going through this emergency you can also write a formal letter using this Request to Work from Home letter sample.

3. Family Emergency Leave Letter Example

Ms. Catherine Sommers Director Human Resources Red Rock Financial Services 749 Starr Street Beverly Hills, CA 90210   Dear Ms. Sommers,   As per our conversation, writing this letter to formally put in my request for an immediate family emergency leave. As you are aware, my father’s cancer situation has worsened. He relapsed with no hope for treatment six months ago. Yesterday, he was readmitted to the hospital with doctors informing us the family should all say last goodbyes.   While the last thing I would want to do is walk off leaving my current projects in the air, everyone here knows how close I am with my father. To be honest, the idea of not being with him and my family at a time like this terrifies me.   As discussed with you and my department head, this family emergency leave letter would take effect at the end of business today. I am moving forward under the idea that I will be back in the office in two weeks.   Staff has been informed of the situation. Several of my projects have already been handed off to other agents in my absence. They all have my personal contact info in case there are any questions or concerns. I will do my best to help out, responding as quickly as I can.   I want to thank everyone at Red Rock for their consideration and empathy at this most difficult time. I will be sure to pass on your sentiments and kindness to my father and family.   Respectfully, Jason Pons

4. Family Emergency Leave Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: To whom do I request a family emergency leave?

A: First you will need to talk to your immediate supervisor, let him know what’s going on and try to find his approval. Have an agreement or plan on who to hand out your projects/duties. Establish a good communication with your partners so there’s no doubts or questions on how to handle your tasks while the emergency leave is in effect.

Once you do this, write your letter and hand it off to the Human Resources department. Make sure you include in your letter that you have already talked to your supervisors and team mates.

Family Emergency Leave Questions Q: Do I need proof of the emergency?

A: Though you may have no reason to lie about a family emergency, it is always a good idea to provide the necessary documentation. Providing documentation or proof can have better support from the Human Resources Department and your Supervisor.

What proofs could you hand out? In case of a family member death you can provide memorial pamphlets, obituaries, formal claims, or military correspondence. For medical emergency reasons you can provide medical documents, or special forms. You can also ask the doctor in charge of the case to make a note or letter explaining the situation.

Q: Can you get fired or penalized for having a family emergency leave?

A: Getting fired or penalized for a family emergency can sound drastic and unfair, but it is possible. Have in mind that firings and penalties may not even be based on a personal decision against you. Some employers do not provide support for family emergencies and lack of funding, some are understaffed, or don’t have corporate policy for these situations.

However if you suspect you were wrongfully terminated, you might want to look into the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by the United States of America Department of Labor. This act was designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women. This could help you can contest for the proper benefits from your employer.

5. You Are Not Alone

Even though we may feel overwhelmed, it’s important to remember that these situations are not permanent and they will pass. There are different support systems to help you navigate these rough times and you are not alone.

We personalize your experience.

We use cookies in our website to ensure we give you the best experience, get to know our users and deliver better marketing. For this purpose, we may share the information collected with third parties. By clicking “Allow cookies” you give us your consent to use all cookies. If you prefer to manage your cookies click on the “Manage cookies” link below.

Manage Cookies