How To Cope With Redundancy During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Being made redundant can cause huge financial and emotional uncertainty during an already anxious time, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you navigate this life change.

Now that the government’s job retention scheme is winding down and the UK faces what could be its worst ever recession due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of jobs are at risk of redundancy.

Being made redundant can cause huge financial and emotional uncertainty during an already anxious time, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you navigate this life change.

From knowing your rights to payment information and keeping your mental health in check, here’s how to cope with redundancy.

Let go of any shame and embarrassment

It’s important to remember it’s your job that’s redundant, not you. The moment you realise this isn’t’ personal but rather a logical, business-driven decision, you’ll be able to make your peace with it and protect your energy and confidence.

Redundancy is not a dirty word, nor is it a reflection of your work ethic – it can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time. You are not on your own and it shouldn’t be a taboo subject. It’s good to talk with other friends and family members that may have already gone through it themselves.

Use the downtime

This is a unique period of time to look after yourself and take stock of what you want to do next. Losing a job is a seismic life change and it’s normal to feel uncertain, anxious, angry and everything in between, as you come to terms with your job loss.

Many people struggle with their self-worth during this time, particularly if your job has been a huge part of your identity, your daily routine and sense of purpose. But you know what? Personal growth thrives in difficult situations.

You can use this as an opportunity to prioritise yourself, polish your CV and really nurture your mental wellbeing. Focus on the things you can control, readdress your work/life balance and your life goals moving forward.

Perhaps the job you had before was simply a means to an end. We’ve all been there, cruising through a 9-5 we can do with our eyes shut because, well, we’re hella comfortable. Well, now’s your chance to find something that pushes you out of your comfort zone in the best possible way.

You deserve to feel excited and enthusiastic about your future! Yes, this is the end of a certain period of your life but it’s also the very beginning of a new and exciting you. Thank you, next!

Know your rights

Reading up on your legal rights and what to expect throughout the redundancy process will help demystify the process and make you feel more in control, particularly if you’re going through it for the first time. From notice periods to payment, once you know exactly what redundancy entails and have a good understanding of the terminology, you can start to take the practical next steps from budgeting to looking for work, or just taking some time out to reflect.

The job search

First thing’s first, make sure your CV is up to date and JUICY – this is your chance to showcase your achievements, experience and personality. Tailor each cover letter for each role, detailing exactly how you fit the job criteria. It may seem laborious at the time but first impressions count and a blanket template won’t wash. Show them why you’re a candidate too good to miss.

It’s important to look after yourself and practise self-care beyond the bubble baths, too. Applying for jobs is a job in itself, so don’t forget to take some time out to speak to your loved ones, eat healthily, move your body and celebrate your accomplishments.

Redundancy notice

During the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll still have the same employment rights including notice of redundancy. Your employer should notify you about your risk of redundancy in advance. If you’ve been at the company for less than 2 years, the minimum notice period is one week. For every full year, you should have one week’s notice (up to 12 weeks).

Consultation period

By law, your employer must have a consultation with you at least once, to discuss why you’re at risk of redundancy. During coronavirus, this is likely to be via video conference call rather than the usual face-to-face meeting. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions and discuss any possible alternatives to redundancy.

Redundancy pay – the facts

If you’ve worked for your employer for at least 2 years, you’ll qualify for minimum statutory redundancy pay and this should be based on your normal wage, not your furloughed wage (if different). If you haven’t worked for your employer for a minimum of 2 years before they make you redundant, you are not entitled to a redundancy pay out.

For those who have at least 24 months of continuous service, your redundancy pay depends on your age and how long you worked for the company. This is capped at 20 years.

The first £30,000 is tax-free and it’s based on a maximum annual salary of £27,976.

If you’re aged 22 or under:

Your employer must give you half a week’s pay for every year you’ve been with the company.

If you’re aged between 22 and 40:

You’ll receive a week’s pay for each full year you worked at the company and half a week’s pay for each full year you worked before that.

If you’re aged 41 or over:

You’ll receive a week and a half’s pay for each full year you’ve worked after age 41 and 1 week’s pay for each full year you worked before that.

Many firms have their own redundancy policies and more generous packages than the legal minimum, so check your contract and staff handbook.

Your employer should give you a breakdown of your redundancy calculations in writing and payment should be received either on your last day of employment or on your next usual pay date.

Holiday pay

All untaken holiday should be paid. Your employer may also give you the option to take use your holiday days before you leave.

Further reading and helpful resources

ACAS – Your rights during redundancy

Citizens Advice – Check if your redundancy is fair – Calculate your redundancy pay – How to claim for statuary redundancy if your company went bust

Citizens Advice – Leaving a job

Money Advice Service – Budget Planner – Find a Job