Resigning While on Sick Leave – Can You Hand in Your Notice?

If you are considering resigning while on sick leave, it’s vital to understand your rights under UK employment law before handing in your notice.

You may even be unsure if you can hand in your notice while off sick.

Just being on Sick leave can be a lot to process. Before you take the next step and resign due to ill health, you need an understanding of your entitlements, and correct procedures to follow.

We look at what you need to do to end your employment, when the best time to hand in your notice is, and your rights to notice and holiday pay.

Can You Resign While on Sick Leave?

You can resign while you are off on sick leave. Being off work due to ill health does not mean you can’t hand in your notice. All you need to do is follow the usual procedures as per the policy in your workplace.

This means that when you hand your notice in while off sick, you are still required to hand in a resignation letter. You’ll also need to know the notice period required, and whether you will be back at work during that time.

Bear in mind that there is no obligation for you to return to work during your notice period if you are not well enough to do so.

Our comprehensive guide covers how to hand in your notice in detail.

Resignation Letter While On Sick Leave Template

The thought of putting pen to paper for a resignation letter during sick leave can be daunting. The tone of the letter, coupled with the content, can be important.

For this reason, it is important to write with confidence, and understand how much detail to include.

Let’s start with how to set the right tone and get the content right:-

  • Make sure you date the resignation letter and include your details.
  • Keep the letter formal and to the point.
  • Consider how you want to end the relationship between yourself and your employer. Remember you may require a reference from them in the future. It is important to keep the letter professional.
  • It is important to clearly state that you intend to resign. Remember to include the relevant details, e.g. your last working day.
  • If you intend to resign with immediate effect due to ill health then this too needs to be stated.
  • Try to end the letter positively by thanking them for your experiences which will help you move forwards.
  • Be sure to end the letter formally with your full name and a signature.

Resignation Letter Template

You can use the following template for when it is time to write your resignation letter.

The top should include:-

Your name



Contact Number

Email address

The Date of Letter

Then your letter should follow with your employer’s details:

Their Name

Company Name

Address and Postcode

To Whom It May Concern / Dear (Name) 

Paragraph 1:

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation letter from (job role) at (company name). This resignation will be effective from (date) / immediate effect. You will be aware that I am currently on sick leave so this letter is in line with company procedure. This decision was not made lightly. But due to unforeseen ill health, it has become evident that I can no longer fulfil the tasks set out in my job description.

Paragraph 2:

My reasons for this resignation are (brief outline eg long term sickness/medical advice/other).

Paragraph 3:

I would like to thank you for all the experiences I have pursued while in my job role. I have learned a great deal which will set me in good stead in the future. Please let me know if there is anything I can realistically do to make this transition as smooth as possible for you.

Paragraph 4:

I wish you and the company you are building the very best for the future.

Yours Sincerely,

Full Name and Signature (if possible)

You can find more resignation letter for personal reasons samples on our other guide.

Your Rights when Handing in your Notice

The process of handing in your resignation might be new to you and therefore, a little overwhelming.

Consequently, it’s important to know what your rights are. This is particularly important when you are resigning due to ill health.

This will ensure the resignation process will go smoothly with no hidden issues. Here are some key points to consider during the process of leaving your job.

How Much Notice Should You Give?

Your contract or statement of employment particulars should include the notice period required by the company. If this isn’t the case then the statutory notice you should give your employer is one week.

If you’ve been with your employer for less than a month, you do not have to give any notice. Your notice period will begin on the day you inform your employer (in writing) of your intention to leave.

Holiday Pay Entitlement

If you have untaken holiday days, your employer may let you use them during your notice period.

However, it may not be possible for your employer to accommodate this request. In this scenario you should be paid for any untaken leave still owed up to your first 28 days of accrued holiday.

How Much Notice Pay After Resigning on Sick Leave?

Most employees are entitled to some kind of notice pay at their full rate when off sick. Many employers believe that employees on SSP, or those who have used up their sick pay entitlement do not get paid notice.

If you resign while on sick leave, you are entitled to the balance of any contractual sick pay or SSP during your notice period.

If the notice period in your contract is less than one week more than your statutory notice entitlement, you should be paid your statutory entitlement of 1 week’s pay upon resignation. However, some employers might pay your full salary during the notice period, or they might underpay you.

It’s important to take the time to understand your entitlements when resigning from a job on sick leave. This Landau Law article has several example scenarios which may help.

Confused? How to Get Advice

This guide from ACAS will help you understand what notice pay you are entitled to when off sick.

Employment law around this entitlement can be very confusing. If your contract is not clear on it, or you are confused, we recommend that you call ACAS and get advice on your own situation. Do this before you hand in your notice so that you can proceed accordingly.

Before you call, make sure you have your employment contract to hand.

It’s worth doing this to make sure your employer has understood your rights to notice pay when off sick. Many employers misinterpret the rules around the right to notice pay during sickness.

Can You be Forced to Resign Due to Ill Health?

You cannot, under normal circumstances, be forced to hand in your notice while on sick leave. You can have a conversation in which your employer asks you if you will consider resigning. However, you do not have to agree to this.

Should you refuse to resign and an employer decides to dismiss you for being off sick, then they must follow proper procedures. There must be a valid reason for the dismissal. This is usually referred to as “capability grounds”.

If your employer feels you are not going to be capable of doing your job moving forward, then this needs to be backed by medical evidence.

If your employer fails to do this, you may be able to take them to a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Further Reading

  • Is quitting without notice illegal? Our guide offers hints and tips about the process of resigning, as well as statutory rights. If you wish to resign with immediate effect due to ill health, it may be of interest.
  • Long term sickness rights – an overview of your rights if you’ve been off work sick long term. This may be helpful to review before you decide to hand in your notice.

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