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If office whispers about redundancy have you dusting off your CV, or you’ve been offered a redundancy package by your employer, then there’s no need to panic.
Help is available from the government and there are various measures in place to protect employees who are facing job cuts.
Here CashLady looks at what to do if you are facing redundancy, including knowing your rights, seeking financial assistance, and taking the next step in your career.
When you are facing redundancy
Redundancy comes about for lots of different reasons.
A company might shut down completely due to extreme financial difficulty.
Alternatively, it might lay off selected staff in certain departments to help cut costs and improve efficiency.
Redundancy worries can understandably put you under a great deal of stress particularly if you are and are unfamiliar with the process.
Staying calm, swotting up on your rights, and keeping track of all of your paperwork, will help you feel more in control.
I’m being made redundant, what are my rights?
If you are being made redundant then it’s important that you know your rights.
All employers are obliged to engage in a consultation period, where they communicate
During this period, your employer must explain the situation and provide an opportunity to ask questions and raise objections.
The nature and timings of the consultation process depend on how many employees there are.
Generally, employers should look at alternatives to redundancy, explore how to reduce the number of redundancies and do their best to mitigate the resulting hardship on their employees.
If certain staff are allowed to remain in work, be selected for the right reasons, such as their experience or ability to do the job.
Employers should use a fair and objective way of selecting employees for redundancy.
Selecting them on the basis of age, race, disability or gender is discrimination and as such could be seen as unfair dismissal.
Read more about your redundancy rights on the government website here.
What financial support is available to me if I’m facing redundancy?
The prospect of losing your job and regular salary is naturally a cause for concern.
Remeber, however, that financial support is available, plus you’re entitled to paid time off to look for work.
Time off to look for work
You’re entitled to a ‘reasonable’ amount of paid time off to look for a new job or undergo training that will help you secure a new position elsewhere.
If you’ve worked continuously for your employer for at least two years they must pay you up to 40% of a week’s pay to cover your time off.
For example, if you work a five-day week you can take two days off in total to attend interviews or training and your employer will pay you for this time.
Some employers are more generous so it’s worth discussing it with them during the consultation period.
If you’ve been in the same job for at least two years then your employer is obliged to pay you redundancy money.
The legal minimum is called ‘statutory redundancy pay,’ and depending on your employer, you may receive more, so check your contract carefully.
Calculate your redundancy pay on the government website here.
The next step in your career following redundancy
Redundancy is, unfortunately, a common part of working life, particularly in today’s shaky economic climate.
If you need to find a job urgently then contact your local Jobcentre and ask for their Rapid Response Service, which specialises in redundancy. They may also pay for vocational training.
If you are in Scotland then contact Partnership Action for Continuing Employment or use the ReAct scheme if you’re in Wales.
Being made redundant can knock your confidence and so try to stay positive and use the opportunity to brush up on new skills or take that career leap that you’ve been putting off.
The pressure of losing your job may take its toll on your mental health and so, where possible, aim to remain open with your close family or friends and discuss any work or financial worries.
If you feel stressed or depressed, then seek help from your GP or visit Mind for information and support.