Redundancy: A Resource To Help You Cope
Earlier this week Tesco announced it will be cutting 4,500 jobs, HSBC said it will cut up to 4,000 jobs, fast food outlet Spudulike announced it’s closing all 37 branches putting 300 people out of work, and earlier this year Jaime Oliver’s restaurant empire collapsed leading to a loss of about 1,000 jobs from a total workforce of 1,300.
For those who have experienced it, redundancy is horrible. It can come out of nowhere and can feel like the world is ending.
Losing your job can be one of the hardest things you have to face in life. The combination of emotions can be overwhelming, leaving you depressed, stressed, anxious and your confidence severely knocked.
It’s a difficult topic to talk about as very few of us like thinking about the negative until it happens.
Here are our tried and tested suggestions to help you get through this difficult period.
Take a Deep Breath
We mean this both literally and figuratively. You want to keep a clear and objective mind as much as possible.
Taking a moment to stop and try and clear your mind to keep calm will help you cope through this stressful time.
Doing this will also help your mental health from spiralling.
There are lots of reasons why you could be made redundant:
- Your role in the company or the service you offer is no longer required
- Your role in the company no longer exists
- Your employer is looking to cut costs
- The business is closing down or moving site
Whatever the reason may be you need to remember to not take this personally.
We realise that it is going to feel very personal but the vast majority of cases, there is nothing personal about it.
You’re going to want to keep a positive frame of mind and look for the positive opportunities in this experience.
Check Your Contract
After you have taken your breath, dig out your contract.
There should be a section around dismissal and what you are entitled to in the case of redundancy.
Read over this to make sure you are being given everything you are entitled to.
There are guidelines, rules and laws that all employers must follow when making anyone redundant, so you are going to want to check these are being adhered to.
If you’re being made redundant, you might be eligible for certain rights, including:
- redundancy pay
- a notice period
- a consultation with your employer
- the option to move into a different job
- time off to find a new job
You must be selected for redundancy in a fair way, for example, because of your level of experience or capability to do the job. (Source: GOV.UK)
You cannot be selected because of age, gender, or if you’re disabled or pregnant. If you are, this potentially could be classed as unfair dismissal. If you are
Your employer should:
- Give you a written explanation of why you’re being let go
- Give you at least one week’s notice if you’ve been employed between one month and two years
- Give its employee representatives (i.e. union) 30 days notice if they are making between 20 and 99 redundancies
- Give its employee representatives 90 days notice if they are making over 100 redundancies
- Try and find you alternative work in the organisation if possible.
Now, sometimes, your employer will be selecting individuals out for redundancy. If this is the case there are a number of factors that can single you out as a candidate.
- last in, first out (employees with the shortest length of service are selected first)
- asking for volunteers (self-selection)
- disciplinary records
- staff appraisal markings, skills, qualifications and experience
Your employer can make you redundant without having to follow a selection process if your job no longer exists, for example, if your employer is closing down a whole operation in a company and making all the employees working in it redundant or if you’re the only employee in your part of the organisation
You have the right to appeal against your redundancy.
If you feel that you were not properly consulted, you have not been given adequate compensation, or you have been discriminated against in any way, shape or form, you can take your case to an employment tribunal to dispute the decision.
You are also entitled to redundancy pay if you have been with the company for two years or more.
You should receive a written explanation of how your employer calculated it.
The amount you are compensated will vary depending on your age, and how long you have been with the company.
You’ll normally be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you’re an employee and you’ve been working for your current employer for 2 years or more.
- Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22
- One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41
- One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older
The length of service is capped at 20 years.
If the company has gone into administration or has other financial difficulties meaning that they cannot afford the payment, the Redundancy Payments Office may make the payment. To calculate how much you would be owed you can use the government’s redundancy pay calculator.
Look after your Mental Health
We’re not going to lie, it’s going to be a whirlwind of emotions. It can be a really heavy burden to bear, especially if you have a family relying on you.
The old adage “a problem shared is a problem halved” has a lot of truth behind it.
If you know that becoming redundant is a possibility in the near future, talk with your partner about this before it happens. This can give you time to process and prepare. When it does happen, talk to your partner about the next steps you are going to take and have a frank discussion about how you will cope financially.
Don’t forget to talk to your children about this change. You don’t have to go into detail, but do explain that you will be looking for a new job. The trick here is to reassure them whilst being honest about the changes that are happening.
Depression is a common side effect of job loss with men being especially susceptible. One in seven men develops depression within six months of losing their job, according to figures from Mind. It’s thought this is because men, in particular, often define themselves by their profession.
“Regardless of gender it’s crucial that people have access to support to help them overcome the day-to-day challenges they might face,” says Rachel Boyd, information manager at Mind. “We know that difficult life circumstances, such as debt and unemployment, can have a huge impact on our mental health. If your feelings are impacting your day-to-day life, then try opening up and talking to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Visiting your GP is your best bet as they can outline the different options available to you.”
While it is important to start looking for new employment, don’t dive headlong straight into this, as you need to take time to care for your own well being too.
Self-care techniques, physical activity and mindfulness can help manage symptoms of stress or mental health problems and prevent things from getting worse. If you are concerned or need someone to talk to please call Mind on 0300 123 3393 or the Samaritans on 116 123. They are free and can provide help.
Plan Your Next Steps
Now, you are looking for a new role. This can feel like there is a lot of time pressure as the money you have received as redundancy pay begins to dwindle.
Be calm and plan your next steps. This may feel like the last thing you want to do after the whirlwind of emotions you have had. Trust us it will help in the long run.
First of all, plan your finances out accordingly as searching for a new job can take a little while. You don’t want to burn through your money.
- Updating or creating a budget so that you can cope with the adjustment in income versus your outgoings
- Find ways to cut back on your bills. Use a comparison or a switching service to find the best deals on your bills and insurances
- Minimise and get rid of as many debts as you can, particularly credit cards and payday loans with their high interest rates
- Check your contract and the redundancy pay calculator for any potential earning that could be coming your way.
- Look at your savings and see how long you can last with this money
- Look at alternative ways of making money such as temporary work or “side hustles”
Once you’ve sorted your finances, you have a good idea of how long you have to find a job before your money dwindles too far.
Now is the time to start looking for work.
Hunting for a job can be a real pain.
Dust off your CV and update your details. Now is the time to start job hunting and you are going to want to have a quality CV.
There are hundreds of job boards with thousands of recruiters on there advertising their job roles.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and can be hard to stand out.
So job search smarter by following these 5 steps.
Alls Well That Ends Well
Being made redundant is horrible and can feel like it has come out of nowhere.
It can severely affect your confidence, your finances and your mental health.
It is, however, something you will overcome.
If you really want to stay with the company (and if feasible) you can always try negotiating part-time hours or a drop in wages with your employer.
You should only do this if you are still financially comfortable with the adjustment.
During that time, however, we do recommend you continue your job search and use this period as a bridge between your next role.
Don’t be scared or ashamed about being made redundant. Remember this isn’t personal and does not reflect on your ability.
It is not a reflection of your work, and you should never start doubting yourself. It could happen to anyone, and it does.
If it all begins to get too much: don’t panic. Here is a list of links that can help you take control and help you
- ACAS – Employment Rights
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Mind, The Mental Health Charity
- GOV.UK Redundancy Page
- Redundancy Pay Calculator
- Money Advice Service
Remember that although this can seem like a bad time, you can turn this into a great career move or promotion for you. This is the chance for you to go after that career or dream role that you have always wanted. This is a great time to grow in your career and although tough, you will overcome it.
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