Top tips if you're made redundant
Find out how to get organised, or even snap up a bursary or grant to retrain for a new career if you're made redundant.
Unemployment figures released last week revealed that there are now 2.47m people out of work in the UK. That's includes a rise of 88k between June and August!
A good deal of those people will have been made redundant. So what should you do if you are one of them? Well it doesn't have to be the end of the world - it just takes a bit of focus.
Know what you're entitled to
First up, make sure you know your rights. Read your contract and find out what sort of redundancy package you may be entitled to.
If you've been with your employer for two or more years you will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay. But be prepared - this is quite meagre; just one week's pay for every year of work if you're aged between 22 and 40 (and just half a week if you're under 22). If you're 41 or over you're entitled to 1.5 weeks per year served.
What's more, only £350 per week of an employee's earnings is taken into account with these calculations which may be far less than you earn. Fortunately, many employers offer a more generous deal.
Note that the first £30k of redundancy pay is payable tax free, but anything over this, including unpaid wages and bonuses, may be taxed.
If you feel you have grounds for unfair dismissal, you may need to consider an employment tribunal - the free Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) may be able to help. It's also worth consulting your trade union.
Organise your finances
Next you should take a look at your finances. Ideally you'll have an emergency fund in an easy access account containing around three month's income stashed to keep you and your family going while you look for a new job.
If you are entitled to a healthy redundancy package, remember it may have to keep you going for a while so don't start planning any luxury holidays just yet.
In the meantime, take some time to organise your budget - it's prudent to pare down your spending and cut out any unnecessary expenses to make your money stretch as far as possible.
Don't waste time
If you have been made redundant, don't waste your days wandering around in your PJs, eating Pot Noodles and watching daytime TV, however tempting it might be. There's a lot you can be getting on with.
For a start, update your CV - and don't forget to include details of any training courses you've taken and new skills you've gained in the last few years.
Make a plan of attack - decide when and where you will look for work, make a note of all employers contacted and responses received.
Consider signing up with recruitment agencies and with networking sites such as LinkedIn, and make contact with old employers and colleagues. Many jobs are never advertised but filled by word of mouth, so it can be well worth letting everyone know what you're looking for.
When the time comes to be interviewed, you need to pull out all the stops to impress your potential employers.
Do that company research, look smart, turn up on time and try and have some interesting questions of your own to ask. Check out this list of interview questions and top tips from Job Centre Plus.
Finally, redundancy can even prove to be very positive for some. If you've been dissatisfied with your choice of employment, wish to change career or learn a new trade, now could be a great time to have a fresh start.
If you have a healthy lump sum available from your redundancy package to cover any courses or retraining costs, that's great. But there are grants and bursaries available for some training courses.
Try this Skills and Interests assessment from Career's Advice to get an idea of the job groups that might appeal.
You can get free advice from the Careers Advice Service and take training courses at home with Learn Direct or Vision2Learn. An Adult Learning Grant could provide you with £30 a week to help with learning costs.
And you may be eligible to apply for a Professional and Career Development loan of between £300 and £10k (although this of course will need to be repaid).
If you're over 50 and would like to bring your trade qualifications, industry knowledge or other skills up to date, or you'd like to improve your computer skills, you may be eligible for a Fifty Plus In Work Training Grant, worth up to £1,500.
And if you've ever fancied yourself as a teacher, now could be the time to consider it seriously.
If you decide to take the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course full-time, you'll be able to apply for a student loan to cover your tuition fees in full as well as a maintenance or special support grant (worth up to £2,906 in 2009/10). You may even be able to apply for a bursary from your university or college.
So redundancy, though shocking and upsetting doesn't have to spell doom and gloom. Stay focused and if you're lucky, you may just find yourself in a new career that suits you far better.
Get help from lovemoney.com
If you need a bit of help with budgeting, we can help.
First, adopt this goal: Manage on a small budget
Next, watch this video: How to save when you've got no money
And finally, why not check out Q&A and ask other lovemoney.com members for hints and tips about what worked best for them?
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