Recent large-scale redundancies have put thousands of people back on the jobseeking trail. It is important to remember, however, that despite the demoralising effect it can have, you still possess the kinds of skills and experience that employers want. The key is to keep motivated.
If your job has been made redundant, there are steps you can take to get you back track:
Network – make the most of your contacts and do your best to cultivate more. By keeping informed about the job market, you are more likely to hear about any vacancies. Brush up on your networking skills and get the latest employment news.
Consider a career switch, – if the sector you just left looks unlikely to recover for some time, you should consider other sectors where your skills could be applicable. Find out how to make the most of your transferable skills and what skills are currently in demand. Have you thought about working within the UK’s largest employer – the public sector?
Do your homework – Find out about the companies you are applying to and the market sectors they operate in.
Update your CV – make sure to include everything from your last position.
If you have been made redundant, you will have certain rights. Check your employment contract – redundancy terms may be stipulated there – or your employer may already have an agreed redundancy procedure. In general, employers’ redundancy schemes are more generous than the minimum stated by law. Problems occur if your employer wants to exclude employees from these schemes to lower the cost of redundancy. This is especially true if the employer has to make a large amount of people redundant.
You are entitled to redundancy pay if you have at least two years’ continuous service. The right to redundancy pay may sometimes be extended to those whose service falls just short of the two-year mark, but this is at the employer’s discretion. Your redundancy pay will be calculated by taking into account your age, years of service and average weekly pay.
If your employer has no redundancy package of its own, the law stipulates how much you should receive, but, beware it is by no means generous. Weekly pay is limited to a maximum of £240 per week and the maximum years of service that will be considered is 20. The calculation is further complicated by your age in relation to your years of service, as follows:
Number of years of service worked between the ages of 18-22 x half your weekly pay
Number of years of service worked between the ages of 22 and 41 x your weekly pay
Number of years of service worked from the age of 41 years onwards x week and a half’s pay
You may also find your period of employment crosses two or even three age/pay award bands. Redundancy pay is not payable to employees aged 65 or over the normal retirement age for their particular organisation.
You are also entitled to reasonable time off to seek alternative employment provided you have worked for your employer for two years continuously. How much time you can take in this way is down to the matter of negotiation and reaching an amicable agreement with your employer. If an employer feels an employee is abusing the situation, they can refuse to pay you, or if the employee feels the boss is being unfair, they can apply to a tribunal.
If you are served a redundancy notice, seek advice before accepting any terms. Contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor (for a contact in your area visit the employment solicitors web site on www.employment-solicitors.co.uk.