4. Does your family need you at home, or do you run a business?

If your personal or family situation has changed for the worse since you joined the army AND this has been beyond your control AND it’s now essential that you spend more time at home than army life normally allows, THEN the army could grant you Compassionate Leave (temporary) or a Compassionate Discharge (permanent).

The rules for this are very strict. Some of the reasons that can lead to compassionate leave or discharge are:

  • You’re a lone parent unable to cope, or you recently separated from your wife/husband and have custody of the children.
  • You’re the main carer for younger brothers or sisters who live with you.
  • You’re the main carer for other family members who could not meet their care needs without you around (this could be a wife or husband but not a partner outside marriage). You would need a medical certificate to prove that your family member needs you to be with them all the time.
  • You need to run a family business that you worked in before you joined the army, and which would collapse if you didn’t work there.

But these reasons do not usually count: 

  • You and your wife/husband/partner live apart because you choose to. 
  • You have found another job, so want to leave the army.
  • You’re in debt. 

Talk it over first with your Padre, Welfare Officer, or the WRVS. These can advise you and sometimes also support your case. You can also contact At Ease to speak to someone confidentially.