Redundancy is horrible and can feel personal, even if it isn’t. If you’ve been made redundant, make sure you know your rights and entitlement to pay. We talk you through what you need to know.

Girl being made redundant

We're sorry. It sucks. And we're here for you.

What is redundancy?

Redundancy means your employer can no longer offer you work, either because they’ve run out of money and need to downsize, or the work you do is no longer needed. But let’s be clear here, if you’ve been made redundant it’s not because you’re rubbish at your job.

It’s illegal to make someone redundant simply to get rid of you, or because you’re pregnant or on maternity leave.

Why was I made redundant?

No matter what anyone says, being made redundant feels like a whacking kick in the teeth and it’s hard not to take it personally.

Common ways employers make redundancy decisions:

  • A last in, first out policy – choosing people who’ve worked for the company for the shortest time
  • Measuring skills and qualifications of workers against each other – which is pretty hard for everyone involved, and can mean you have to reapply for your job
  • Look at everyone’s disciplinary records – so if your slate isn’t squeaky clean, you may get picked

Whatever the reason, give yourself time to panic and feel utterly shit. That is totally normal. And also make sure you’ve not been discriminated against, or been unfairly dismissed.

How much redundancy pay do I get?

If you’ve been working there for more than two years, you’re entitled to:

  • Half a week’s pay for every year of employment whilst you were under the age of 22
  • A week’s pay for every year of employment whilst you were over the age of 22

You can calculate your redundancy pay here.

How much time do I have to find a new job?

You must be given a notice period that’s at least:

  • One week – if you’ve been there between one month and two years
  • A week’s notice for each year – if you’ve been there for over two years

If you’ve been working there for two years, your boss should let you take reasonable time off to look for other jobs and go for interviews.

Being offered ‘suitable alternative employment’

Your boss might offer you a different position instead of making you redundant – although it needs to have similar responsibilities, rights, and pay to your existing role.

If you turn down this new role, you may lose your right to redundancy pay.

If there’s a suitable role that’s not been offered to you, then you could claim unfair dismissal.

I’m panicking, what should I do?

Redundancy can create shockwaves through all other parts of your life, so make sure you look after yourself during this stressful time.

Your mental health

Losing your job can have a huge impact on your self-esteem. Allow yourself some time to feel crappy, but if you find yourself in a depressive spiral, then it may be worth talking to your GP.

Your cash flow

Losing your job means losing your monthly cash cow. If you don’t have any savings and/or have a lot of debts – things can get quite serious, quite quickly. Look at The Mix’s advice about paying your bills, how to budget, signing up for JSA, and avoiding pay day loans to keep on top of your finances.

Getting a new job

Yes, it may feel like you’re right back at the beginning again, but you could use this as an opportunity to find a better job. Have a look at our articles on having the perfect CV and acing job interviews to help you get back on your feet again.

How should I talk about redundancy on my CV?

It’s really important not to be ashamed of your redundancy. You really don’t have anything to be embarrassed about – though it may not feel that way. Employers are more than aware that we’re living in crappy economic times and won’t think any less of you for being made redundant.

Therefore it’s best to mention you were made redundant on your next CV. This rules out other reasons for leaving, like getting fired, and you can turn it into a positive at interview. Talk about how it’s made you reassess your career plans and made you even more determined.

However, if it’s been a few jobs since you were made redundant, it’s not necessary to keep it on your CV. If you’re asked specifically in interview, don’t lie though. Remember – nothing to be ashamed of!

Photo of redundancy by Shutterstock

Next Steps

  • Acas offers free advice about everything to do with employment law. 0300 123 1100
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


leaving work


Updated on 29-Sep-2015