Negotiate your departure while on sick leave

Negotiate your departure while on sick leave

Negotiate your departure while on sick leave

When you want to negotiate your departure while on sick leave, one must differentiate 2 cases:

  • This is at your employer’s initiative and in this case, the law frames what’s possible for him;
  • This is at your initiative because you don’t want, don’t wish or can’t resume your job at the end of your sick leave and/or don’t want to stay in this company.

The 2 forms that your leaving within your sick leave can take are the lay-off and the Mutually Agreed Contract Termination (MACT). It is never advised to quit your job while on sick leave.

Discover more in detail our tips on how to negotiate your departure.

Coaching to negotiate your departure while on sick leave

At your employer’s initiative

Cases where your employer can lay you off while in sick leave are:

  • Your prolonged and/or repeated absences disturb the company’s normal running (if you were to sew the company to court, they would have to demonstrate this);
  • Your definitive replacement is unavoidable for the company;
  • The consequences of your illness make you unfit to do your job but this has to be medically proven;

He cannot lay you off in cases where:

  • Your absence is the result of one of your employer’s negligence vis-à-vis his security obligations: depression from harassment, burnout from work overload …

At your initiative

When you’re in sick leave for a long, non-professional disease, you can absolutely offer your employer to terminate your contract in a mutually-agreed, amicable way and negotiate an MCAT.

This only works for undetermined duration contracts, even part-time.

Warning! If you have been declared unfit for work by the occupational medical services then signing a MACT is prohibited.

Free consent by both parties is necessary to sign such agreement. Otherwise, it is null & void. To make sure that consent is free, both parties discuss this possibility throughout one or more face-to-face meetings during which you can be assisted.

Let’s look at this last case in the context of this article.

Put things in writing:

Starting with your request. Here’s is a French model to request a MACT:

Salarié(e) de votre entreprise au poste de (poste) depuis le (date d’embauche), je vous informe que j’envisage de quitter les fonctions que j’exerce actuellement.
Afin de mettre fin à mon contrat de travail de façon amiable, je vous propose d’entamer la procédure de rupture conventionnelle prévue aux articles L1237-11 et suivants du 
Code du travail. En cas d’accord de votre part, je me tiens à votre disposition pour convenir d’une date d’entretien afin que nous fixions ensemble les conditions de mon départ de l’entreprise. 

Then make sure that meeting minutes are written down and do reflect the content of the meetings without any important omission or alteration, otherwise always make your addition/change in writing also. In France, an email (particularly digitally signed but not necessarily) is legally recognized as proof of communication.

Up to make sure that all details and, in particular, details on the severance agreement are written down in the MACT document.

You then have 15 days to retract yourself after signing, then the document is sent to the regional labor authority which also has 15 days to oppose the agreement otherwise it is validated.

Never accept vague invitations bearing some sentimental blackmail such as “you know me, we don’t need to write everything down, don’t you trust me?”. Writing the details down is a function of our Adult which relates to the reality of the here & now. “It’s not a question of trust, it’s a question of writing things down”.


  • Never criticize, never accuse, offer this possibility as a mutual way out of a difficult situation for both parties;
  • Seek help to prepare your meetings, from a coach and/or a lawyer;
  • Set your objectives
  • Insist on the mutual benefit of the MACT (unemployment allowances for you, conflict avoidance for them)

It is not because you are the originator of the request that you’re not entitled to other break-up terms:

  • Noncompetitive clause lift-off (if you intend to stay within the same domain that is)
  • Professional reference use
  • Anticipate your departure to make it easier for your employer
  • Beyond legal/conventional financial package

Conclusion on how to negotiate your departure while on sick leave

To negotiate your departure within your sick leave period is absolutely possible. Either endured or to your initiative, you have the same rights as if you were not sick. Except that the fact of being sick or the actual reality of your disease may put you in a weak spot either seen or experienced as such. Seeking help is then a precious support.

To know more on the topic of negotiating your departure while on sick leave please use the enclosed contact form or speak directly with a coach specialized in departure negotiation.

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