What to do if you’ve been made redundant

If you've been made redundant it can feel like a kick to the stomach. Especially if you were living on a fixed income. But we promise that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The first bit of good news is that redundancy is nothing personal, which means you still have a bunch of employable skills. To find out more scroll down.

A young man is on the phone. He has just been made redundant. This is a close-up image.

What is redundancy?

Redundancy means your employer can’t offer you work anymore. This is either because they’ve run out of money and need to downsize, or they don’t need the work you’re doing anymore. Regardless, the most important thing to remember about redundancy is that it has nothing to do with your job performance.

In fact, making someone redundant just to get rid of them is illegal. Likewise, the boss can’t make an employee redundant because they’re pregnant or for taking maternity leave. So if you’ve been in either of these scenarios then check out our article on unfair dismissal here.

Voluntary redundancy vs. compulsory redundancy

If an employer is looking to make people redundant they have the option of offering voluntary redundancy. This basically gives employees the opportunity to have their Katniss Everdeen moment and volunteer as tribute, rather than be forced to leave. The major bonus to this comes for people who were already considering leaving because they can claim redundancy pay.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that just because you put yourself forward, it doesn’t mean your employer has to grant it. Although you could claim discrimination if you feel your request has been denied based on protected characteristics, like race or sexuality.

Compulsory redundancy, on the other hand, is the brutal option. You get no say in the matter. Instead you just have to pack your bags.

Why was I made redundant?

No matter what anyone says, being made redundant feels like a massive loss and it’s hard not to take it personally.

But you should know that making someone redundant is usually based on the following considerations:

  • A last in, first out policy – choosing people who’ve worked for the company for the shortest time
  • Comparing skills and qualifications of workers – which is pretty hard for everyone involved, and can mean you have to reapply for your job
  • Looking at everyone’s disciplinary records – so if you’ve got a history of rolling in at 11am, it might work against you

Whatever reason the company give you for your redundancy, it’s okay to wallow. That’s totally normal. And once you’re done with that tub of Ben and Jerry’s, it’s time to start planning your next move. You can start by making sure you’ve not been discriminated against, or been unfairly dismissed with our article on discrimination at work here.

How much is redundancy pay?

If you’ve been working at your job for more than two years, then you’re entitled to statutory redundancy pay equal to:

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

If you’re paid irregular amounts, your weekly pay is taken to be the average you earned per week over the 12 weeks before you got your redundancy notice, usually in the form of redundancy letters. Pretty complicated right? Don’t panic, you can calculate your redundancy pay here.

How long is redundancy notice?

As part of the redundancy process, you should be given a redundancy notice period that’s at least:

  • One week – if you’ve been made redundant after working 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.

Suitable alternative employment

During your redundancy consultation, which may be a collective consultation,  your boss can offer you a different position instead of making you redundant. The catch is that it needs to have similar responsibilities, rights, and pay to your existing role. This means that it’s less likely to happen in a small business. If you turn down this new role, you may lose your right to redundancy pay. But if there’s a suitable role that’s not been offered to you, then you could claim unfair dismissal.

I’ve been made redundant and I’m panicking

Redundancy can have a ripple affect that changes your life. So it’s important to make sure you look after yourself during this stressful time. Here are some tips to stay on top of things:

Your mental health

Losing your job can have a huge impact on your self-esteem. Take it step-by-step. Give yourself some time to feel crappy and question your life decisions. If you’re in a in a depressive spiral, then it may be worth talking to your GP. Plus, you can always check out our depression resources here if you’re concerned about your mental health.

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 real bad, real quick. Look at The Mix’s advice about paying your bills, how to make a budget, signing up for JSA, universal credit and avoiding pay day loans to keep on top of your finances.

Getting a new job

Yes, it may feel like you’re back at square one again, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For example, you could use this as an opportunity to find a better job. Have a look at our articles on how to write a CV and job interview tips 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. There’s honestly nothing to be embarrassed about. Making people redundant happens, and employers are more than aware that we’re living in crappy economic times. They won’t think any less of you for it.

All that’s to say that it’s best to mention you were made redundant on your next CV. You can even turn it into a positive at an interview. Talk about how it’s made you reassess your career plans and given you a fire in your belly. However, if it’s been a few jobs since you were made redundant, you actually don’t have to keep it on your CV. At that point, you need only mention it if you’ve specifically been asked about it. 

Next Steps

  • Acas offers free advice about everything to do with employment law. 0300 123 1100
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


leaving work

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 26-Feb-2022