Tough times are ahead. Sadly, the economy is in bad shape. Jobs will be lost and people will be made redundant. Some estimates suggest unemployment could reach 10% this year.
No one sets out to lose their job or relishes the idea, but there are certain things you can do to make the situation better if it does happen to you. I’m hoping to explain your key rights and what support is available to you, as well as how to find a new job.
In part I’m writing this to dissipate my own anxieties. While I remain hopeful my job is still secure, I am by no means confident this will be the case come the new year. Very few jobs are genuinely safe and any of us could find ourselves out of work in the near future. I don’t write this to scare or worry you, rather to encourage you to be as prepared as possible if you do find yourself in this position.
In this post I will cover:
- Your redundancies rights
- What, if any, benefits you are eligible to receive
- How to access support
- Part-time work
- Updating your CV
- Where to look to find jobs
Redundancy and what to expect
If you are made redundant, you may 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 also be selected fairly for redundancy. If you’re concerned you have not been chosen fairly, you should seek advice from Citizens Advice. You can also make a claim at an employment tribunal if you think you’ve been unfairly selected.
Redundancy pay is where it gets tricky, as to be eligible for statutory redundancy pay you usually need to have been working for your current employer for 2 years or more. This is not good news for many people just starting out in their careers.
If eligible, you’ll receive:
- 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
- Length of service is capped at 20 years.
If you were paid less than usual because you were furloughed due to coronavirus, your redundancy pay is based on what you would have earned normally.
Some firms will offer better redundancy packages. Check your contract to see what you may be entitled to and don’t be afraid to try and negotiate with your employer – if they’re making you redundant anyway, what have you got to lose?
They must also give you a sufficient notice period, through which your employer must pay you as normal. This period is one week for any employment up to 2 years and an extra week for additional year, up to 12 years.
What benefits am I eligible to receive if I’m made redundant?
If you’ve been made redundant, the main benefit you’re entitled to is Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), but you may also be eligible for support with housing and childcare through Universal Credit. The process of applying for UC has been sped up during the Covid-19 pandemic, so hopefully you won’t wait too long for your first payment. However, I would recommend applying as soon as possible just in case.
You may also be eligible for a reduction in Council Tax. You can find out if this applies to you here.
More information on benefits and how to apply for them if you’ve lost your job can be found at the Money Advice Service.
How can I access support?
You can access employment support from the Job Centre Plus Rapid Response Service. You can contact them: if you suspect you will be made redundant; during your redundancy notice period; or up to 13 weeks after you’ve been made redundant.
Here you can get help with the following:
- Writing CVs and finding jobs
- Information on benefits
- Accessing the right training and learning new skills
- Organising work trials (if you’re eligible)
Citizens Advice is also a really good service that can direct you towards the different support available and help get you back on your feet.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support. The services are there for a reason and you should make the most of them if you need to.
One way to tide yourself over is to get a part-time job. If you can support yourself on a lower wage, this will allow you to earn some money, while still having time to dedicate to finding another full time post.
It may not be your dream career, but cash is cash. In the past I’ve babysat, worked in a bar, a restaurant and even an ice cream shop in the middle of winter (that was a fun job…) when I’ve been short of money.
At the time I thought I was working a minimum wage job to have a bit of cash so I could see my friends and afford a few more things while I was finishing my degree and looking for full-time jobs. What I was shocked to discover was employers valued this work, even above internships in some cases.
I probably use more skills I learnt from these jobs in my current job than skills I learnt from my degree. Also, if you’re really nosy like me, interacting with the public is always great fun!
Update your CV
Once you’ve got a job it’s easy to neglect your CV and ignore it until you decide it’s time to move on. I recently noticed mine didn’t include my current job (where I’ve been working for over two years) and this blog, which is probably quite important considering I’m a journalist by day!
Spend some time one weekend going through your CV and making sure it’s ready to go if needed. If you search ‘CV tips’ on Linkedin, you’ll come across lots of advice on how to make your CV look professional and stand out.
Additionally, the workplace is changing and your CV needs to reflect that. Think about how your current skills could transfer into a more secure industry. For example, 1,000 cabin crew members are retraining as carers. The skills they have developed on flights mean they are well placed to make the change to caring.
Another thing to consider is what skills you’ve gained during lockdown. With remote working becoming increasingly common, it is worth mentioning that you work well from home. You should also mention if you’ve started a side hustle or venture during lockdown. This will show employers you are motivated and see the opportunities in difficult situations.
Where to look to find jobs
This depends on what work you’re looking for. But, for any job, LinkedIn is a good starting point. You can ask your connections for help and use the jobs button to search for relevant vacancies. Just like your CV, it’s important to make sure your profile is up to date and you have a high quality profile picture. Don’t forget to turn on the setting that shows you’re open to new opportunities. This will help recruiters find you.
Are there specific sites for your industry? For example, a lot of journalism and PR jobs are posted at Cison Jobs.
Recruitment agencies can be helpful too. I got my current job through one called Inspiring Interns – I would recommend checking them out if you’ve recently graduated or are looking to make the first steps in your career.
Again, Google will be able to help you here. Check to see if there are any agencies for your industry or level. It helps to be specific as they will be able to help you much more than just blanket applying for any and every job advert you see.
I recently read that some employers look down on or ignore applications through Indeed. I’m not entirely sure of the validity of this, considering they choose to advertise the vacancy on there. However, if you’re concerned, you can find a vacancy you’re interested in and then go directly to the company’s website and apply through there rather than through Indeed’s website.
When you do find a new job, don’t forget to transfer your workplace pension to avoid losing out on the contributions you have already made. You can find out more about why this is important here.
If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please do leave a comment! Are you worried about job losses? Are you doing anything to prepare just in case?