What to do if you are made redundant

Sadly, every year people lose their jobs and are made redundant.

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. 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.  

What to do if made redundant

In this post I will cover:

  1. Your redundancies rights
  2. What, if any, benefits you are eligible to receive
  3. How to access support
  4. Part-time work
  5. Updating your CV
  6. 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

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 cap is at 20 years

Some firms will offer better redundancy packages. Check your contract to see what you are entitled to. 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.

Part-time work

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!

Make sure your CV is up to date

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 developed through flying – like customer service and first aid – 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 have a side hustle or small business. 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, Cison Jobs posts a lot of journalism and PR roles.

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies can be helpful too. I got my current job through one called Inspiring Intern. 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, 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.

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?

9 responses to “What to do if you are made redundant”

  1. […] may realise you simply don’t enjoy your job. If this is the case, could you start applying for new roles that excite you? Or you consider […]

  2. […] You should also make sure you know what support you may be entitled to if times get tough. I speak about this in more detail here. […]

  3. Build Up Coaching – Helping you reach your full potential

    Really helpful post as this is a situation lots of people are in at the moment and don’t know what to do about their change in financial circumstances. I didn’t know that you can apply for council tax reductions so that’s great to know!

  4. Jodie | That Happy Reader

    A great resource for those who are impacted by job loss in your country.

  5. This is such a relevant post right now. My boyfriend was just made redundant and it seems that all the jobs where we live are just delivery driver ones that require you to be 25+ (he’s 21) so he’s currently finding it difficult to navigate through this period of redundancy x

    Roni | myelevatedexistence.com

  6. crystalsandcurls – I'm going through a bit of an existential crisis right now, I'll tell you about myself when I figure out if I'm real or not.

    This is a really useful post – especially at the moment. It’s a trciky situation for me and my partner because we’re brits living overseas and arent eligible for any benefits. His job is pretty secure, but I’ve had to start thinking about mine because my contract ends in a month! xx

  7. Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) – Canada – Hi there! I’m Michelle and I live in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. I am married with two young adult daughters. I’m a big fan of reducing waste, using less plastic, decluttering and simplifying life as much as possible.

    This is a great post Katie. Although no-one likes to think about losing their job, you’ve provided some really practical tips. Above all, it’s important to think of it as a new beginning, and an opportunity try something new. I know a lot of people who lost their job and later said it was the best thing that ever happened to them.

  8. You provide such a great service to people with these posts Katie! Shows how much you do your research and carry your expertise forward. Might not apply to me at this moment in time but this could help so many people. Great job 🙂

    1. The Twenty Percent – United Kingdom – Hi I'm Katie and I use my blog to help young people take control of their personal finances.

      Thanks so much Tom! I’m just trying to use my knowledge to help people. There’s scary times ahead, so I’m hoping we can be as prepared as possible for any outcome!

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