In most states and territories, employees are entitled to pro rata long service leave when they resign due to a domestic or other pressing necessity. But what circumstances trigger this entitlement?

What is a domestic or other pressing necessity?

There is no black and white answer. However, the word ‘necessity’ indicates the employee was compelled to resign due to a factor unrelated to their work life.

If the reason the employee resigned was one that limited their ability to perform their role or attend work then it is likely to be considered a domestic necessity. This would include circumstances where the employee needs to provide long term care for an ill or injured family member, or where the employee can no longer travel long distances to work due to domestic or personal circumstances such as ill health or age.

Other examples may include:

  • Where working night shifts has placed too much of a strain on the employee’s family relationships and requests to transfer to a day shifts could not be fulfilled;
  • Where a spouse of an employee has taken a job overseas and the employee needs to resign to reside with the spouse;
  • Pregnant employees resigning for child care responsibilities;

However in any of these circumstances if an employee is wishing to claim pro rata long service leave they will need to provide details around the circumstances that have forced them to resign.

The domestic or other pressing necessity need not have been the sole reason for the resignation, however if it is the motivating or predominant reason the employee is likely to be eligible for the pro rata entitlement.

Employee taking up a job elsewhere?

Whilst an employee resigning to work at another business would appear not to fall within the meaning of a domestic or other pressing necessity much would depend on the reason why the employee felt compelled to resign.

For example, if the motivation for the for the employee changing  jobs was to lessen the travel burden in pressing financial circumstances, this economic necessity will likely be considered a ‘pressing necessity.’ However, would not apply where the employee resigns to take up a better paying position or because the new role is merely more convenient for them.

In summary, the concept of domestic and pressing necessity is vague and will ultimately depend on the individual facts and circumstances of each case. If you are unsure of your long service leave obligations clients should contact the HR Assured team. If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client contact us today for an informal chat.