After I finished my study, I had to chose not to do any job because I had to take care of my parent. The period took 3 years. And then I was back free to have a job. What is that period called.

On the Internet I found Personal leave, carer’s leave, compassionate leave, family leave and career break. Which one is more appropriate for me to put in my resume for those 3 years?

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    Leave implies that you were given time off by an employer (leave of absence), so I think you would have to call it a career break. Nov 15, 2019 at 14:52
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    In the UK you're just "economically inactive", so far as the taxman is concerned. Is it really necessary to explain exactly what you were doing? Maybe you were struggling with mental health problems, and/or spent time in prison. Whatever - all that matters is you weren't in paid employment with someone who might confirm this with a reference. Prospective employers don't need to know any more than that. Nov 15, 2019 at 14:53
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    Career break ("a period of time when you do not do your usual job, for example because you have children to care for" -- oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/career-break); sounds best to me. See also, hrzone.com/hr-glossary/what-is-a-career-break . Sabbatical works, too, if the context is otherwise clear.
    – Kris
    Nov 15, 2019 at 15:02
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    I also think career break is the best, but you will likely have to add a some explanation what it was for, e.g. Jan 2017 to Feb 2019 . Career break (Caring for ill relative).
    – k1eran
    Nov 15, 2019 at 16:07
  • don't put any of that on a resume... put self-employed Nov 15, 2019 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


Presuming you want to put the best face on things, compassionate leave and family leave seem best of the alternatives you listed, even though as noted in a comment you were not actually on a "leave".

Career break as described in Wikipedia seems neutral and applicable, although three years is a longer term than that entry mentions.

If you were an actor, the euphemism resting would apply. If you were previously employed and returned to the same employer, sabbatical might be appropriate. Other terms for gaps include hiatus and interregnum, the latter more applicable if you are a government or royalty. Or you could say you were slacking, but some regard that as not good on a resume.


As in this article:

1999 Washington Post (Electronic ed.) 18 June In a world where everyone has sick days, personal leave and mental health breaks, 12 years of perfect attendance is a rare feat.

Personal leave if frequently referenced in AmE to absences from work due to 'personal' reasons, which you may or may choose not to elaborate on.

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