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How To Handle Being Laid Off Work

Published: Wednesday 15th April 2020

Being laid off work can be an overwhelming and stressful experience of uncertainty and change. For some people, a layoff could be an unexpected relief from a complicated job situation or a chance to move on in their life to pastures new. But for many, being laid off can have a significant emotional impact, especially when in the middle of a global health and financial crisis due to Coronavirus. Redundancy and job loss are never easy, but there are ways to soften the blow and figure out your next steps by putting a plan in place. So, here are some steps to help you prepare yourself if the worst has happened…

 portrait of sad businesswoman holding box of personal belongings leaving office after being fired job

Step 1: Laid off work? Don’t take it personally

This may be one of the most important things to consider if and when made redundant. Understandably, losing your job is stressful but remember that you’re not alone. Unfortunately, thousands of people lose their job every year in the UK. Whatever happens and regardless of your circumstances, there are always positives you can take from every situation. What’s crucial in this case isn’t that you have lost your job, but how you deal with losing your job and the steps you take thereafter. Furthermore, it’s crucial you keep your dignity. While it may be tempting to fire some bad words towards your employer, bear in mind they’re the ones who will provide your next work reference, so it’s best to keep them on your side and remain professional.

Step 2: Check your contract and know your rights

Employment Contract Obligation Terms Agreement Concept

Before you do anything, it’s vital that you check your entitlements when laid off as all employers are required by law to follow a strict set of guidelines. Therefore, you should check whether you are entitled to:

  • A written explanation of why you have lost your job
  • A consultation with your employer
  • Have at least one week’s notice period if you have worked between one month and 2 years
  • The option of alternative work within the company if/when possible
  • Time off to find a new job
  • Specific rights if your employer is insolvent

Remember that if you lose your job because of COVID-19, your employer might be able to continue paying 80% of your monthly salary with the help of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Step 3: Plan your finances

Woman distributing budget and planning

First of all, check your rights on redundancy pay. You should receive redundancy pay, if you have been at the company for two years or more and also get an explanation of how your employer has calculated it. Of course, the amount you receive will vary depending on your age, and the time period you have been with the company. Moreover, to calculate your redundancy pay you can use Directgov’s online calculator.

However, if you do receive a redundancy payment, don’t tempt yourself to spend a lump sum straight away. It’s always worth drawing up a list of your monthly spending and determine a budget moving forward to plan your finances. This will also give you an approximate time span on how long you can devote to your job search to land yourself a new position. During your unemployment period you will also be entitled to state benefits, such as Job Seeker’s Allowance or Income Support. To find out exactly how much you can claim, you can visit your local job centre or check online.

Step 4: Search for a new job and start fresh

"Fresh Start" cloud word on sky

Once you’ve sorted your finances, and set yourself a budget and a deadline, you will hopefully feel less stressed and more focused to start your job search. So, now’s the perfect time to start fresh and take some time to rethink things through. If you enjoyed your job and want to continue in your career path, look for positions that match your skills and experience level. You can begin looking for job opportunities on Zoek, on desktop or mobile. But if you’re unsure or looking for a new career path, take time to consider jobs that sound enjoyable or interesting and research them. You may also consider taking additional training or education if your new career requires it or even have a year off if you can afford to do so.

Once you choose your course of action, continue with updating your CV. No matter how long you have been in your previous role, there will be skills and achievements which you can take into your new job. So, freshen your CV up, add a specifically crafted cover letter for each role, and you’re ready to go. For help and guidance writing your CV, cover letter or successful interview tips and common questions you can visit our InfoHub to prepare yourself.

hand writing showing Job Opportunity. Business photo showcasing an opportunity of employment or the chance to get a job after being laid off work

Final thoughts…

Losing your job is not a nice feeling, whether it’s due to business cost cutting, seasonal changes, health or political changes, or worse still if you’ve been fired. Despite it feeling like the end of your career at the time, there are things you can do to get through the tough time and bounce back a lot stronger than before. So, keep your emotions in check, take a little bit of time to reflect on what you should do now, what you could have done differently and surround yourself with positive people to help you move forward. If you are ready for your next career opportunity, visit Zoek and let the new job find you!

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