5 Common Necessitous and Compelling Reasons for Quitting

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You can be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits even if you quit your job – as long as you had a “necessitous and compelling” reason to leave

“Necessitous and Compelling” Reasons: The Basics

Section 402(b) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law (“Law”) applies when you seek unemployment compensation (“UC”) benefits after voluntarily quitting your job. In order to be eligible for benefits after a voluntary quit, you have to be able to prove that you left your job due to a “necessitous and compelling” reason.

Specifically, the Law states: “An employee shall be found ineligible for compensation for any week in which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature.”

Examples of Necessitous and Compelling Reasons for Quitting

  1. Health Problems

Health problems can limit our capacity to work and interfere with our employment situation, sometimes resulting in a voluntary quit. If a health problem is limiting your ability to perform all the duties and functions of your job, you should (1) inform your employer of your condition before you quit and (2) be able and available to work should your employer offer you a reasonable accommodation. Without a reasonable accommodation, your health problems can be a necessitous and compelling reason to quit.

  1. Poor or Unsafe Working Conditions

Suppose you are facing sexual harassment at work. You attempt to maintain the employer-employee relationship by following your company’s procedures (e.g., reporting the harassment, filing a complaint, etc.). Despite your actions, the harassment continues. Your employer does not seem to be making an effort to remedy the situation. Quitting due to this unacceptable working condition can be considered a necessitous and compelling reason.

  1. Commuting Problems

Let’s say, through no fault of your own, you lose your means of transportation and are unable to get to work. You unsuccessfully attempt to secure an alternate means of transportation. You quit your job because of your lack of transportation. In this scenario, you would be eligible for UC benefits under Section 402(b) as long as you are still able and available for work (within your commuting limitations, of course).

  1. Substantial Change in the Conditions of Employment

When you start a new job, you and your employer agree to all conditions of employment. A drastic reduction in pay, a drastic change in hours, or new job responsibilities that make your work unsuitable may be reason enough to quit. Typically, substantial changes in the conditions of your employment are considered necessitous and compelling reasons to quit.

  1. Childcare

Suppose you have children and cannot find childcare for them. You quit because you cannot leave your children home alone while you work. In this scenario, you may be eligible for UC benefits under Section 402(b) of the Law.

Remember, when seeking UC benefits after voluntarily quitting:

  • The employee has the burden of proof in establishing good cause for quitting
  • The cause must have been real and substantial
  • The employee must have had no other alternative other than quitting
  • The employee must have made every reasonable effort to maintain the employer-employee relationship

The above-mentioned examples are not the only examples of necessitous and compelling reasons to quit; others exist. Contact KM&A for a free and immediate consultation if you have any questions or concerns regarding your voluntary quit and/or UC benefit eligibility.

We represent clients across Pennsylvania and believe that, in order to aggressively pursue our clients’ interests, we have to be extremely accessible. You can call us in western Pennsylvania at 412-626-5626 or in eastern Pennsylvania at 610-616-5686. We can also be reached by email at lawyer@lawkm.com.