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How to: Deal with redundancy

By Michael Cheary

Unfortunately, being made redundant is sometimes unavoidable. But dealing with it in a positive way can be half the battle.

Losing your job can be one of the hardest things you have to face in life. Often, the combination of emotions can be overwhelming, leaving you depressed with your confidence severely knocked.

Redundancy is never easy, but there are ways to soften the blow. Here's what to do to prepare yourself if the worst has happened.

Step one: Try not to take it personally

This can often be the most important thing to consider when facing redundancy. Losing your job is extremely stressful, but you’re not alone. It’s an unfortunate fact that hundreds of thousands of people are made redundant every year in the UK. Possible reasons for redundancy could include:

  • 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 happens, and whatever your circumstances, there are always positives you can take from the situation. The important thing is not that you have lost your job, but how you deal with losing your job.

REMEMBER: Always check your contract first (if you have one) to see what you’re entitled to.

Step two: Know your rights

Before you do anything, it’s vitally important that you check your entitlements. All employers are required by law to follow a strict set of guidelines when making any redundancies. 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.

If your employer is forced to be selective in making redundancies, there are a number of factors which will be considered. These include disciplinary and attendance records, qualifications, experience and competency of work.

If any of these things haven’t happened, or haven’t been considered, your redundancy may be considered as an unfair dismissal.

REMEMBER: You do 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.

Step three: Redundancy pay

You are entitled to redundancy pay if you have been with the company for two years or more. You should also 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. 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.

For specific information about how much redundancy pay you are entitled to, you can use Directgov’s online calculator.   

Step four: Planning your finances

If you do receive a redundancy payment, don’t get tempted to spend a lump sum straight away. It may sound obvious, but it’s always worth drawing up a list of your outgoings and trying to determine a budget moving forward. This will also help to give you a timespan: so you know exactly how far your money will go, and how long you can dedicate to finding a new position.

You will of course be entitled to state benefits during your period of unemployment, for example Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support. To find out exactly how much you can claim, visit your local Jobcentre+.

Step five: Searching for work

Once you’ve sorted your finances, and set yourself a deadline, you can then start to search for work with a sense of focus (and hopefully a little less pressure). The most crucial thing is to begin with is to update your CV.

No matter how long you have been in your previous role, there will be skills and achievements which you can take into your new job. It’s not as simple as just adding the dates, and a few tasks. You can use your attributes and accomplishments throughout your CV. This will not only show practical representations of your career development , but also show that you’re a more rounded candidate.

Also, it’s probably been a while since you’ve updated it. Freshen it up, add a specifically crafted cover letter for each role, and you’re ready to go. For help and guidance writing your CV, and for examples and CV templates, our CV builder is the best place to start.

Visit our Free CV builder

How to: find a new job

How to: write a covering letter

Final thoughts...

If financially viable, try offering your employer to drop your hours or a temporary wage decrease. This could be a short-term way of bringing in some form of income, while still continuing your job search.

It can be tempting, but don’t spend every hour of every day looking for jobs. You will only add more pressure on yourself, and find the process tedious very quickly. Also, it can be incredibly depressing.

Network, network, network. If you know anyone in your industry, let them know you’re looking for work. You’ll be surprised what your contacts can throw up.

Tell people that matter. Your partner, friends and family are sure to offer you support and guidance. More often than not, they have been in a similar situation at some point.

You should not be ashamed of your redundancy. 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. There are people that can help if you begin to feel overwhelmed. (Acas) offers free advice on employment rights, and your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can also provide free and impartial advice.

Turn a negative into a positive: your redundancy could be the perfect time to move forward in your career, or change your career direction. Deal with it in the right way, and you’ll be fine.


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