There are sadly going to be many people who will be facing redundancy as a result of the economic downturn due to Covid-19.
While the Government has provided significant support to both employers and employees over the last few months it is understandable that many employers will be faced with having to make some staff redundant.
There will also, very sadly, be companies that are unable to carry on.
Each individual employee will face different circumstances but there are a significant number of rules and processes that employers have to follow.
Your employer has to follow a fair redundancy process if you have worked for them for at least 2 years by the time your job ends.
You should be invited to at least 1 individual meeting with your employer to discuss redundancy.
If you are a member of a Union they will also provide advice and support through this difficult time.
It is important to note that Covid-19 does not affect the rights that you have as an employee. You will still have been accruing holiday pay while on furlough.
If you feel that you have been dismissed unlawfully or that there has been any kind of discrimination or unlawful deduction of pay you can of course challenge the employer over this through an employment tribunal. https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals
You must tell the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) that you intend to make a claim to the tribunal.
You will be offered the chance to try and settle the dispute without going to court by using ACAS’s free service.
You can find more details on their website https://www.acas.org.uk/redundancy
Job Centre Plus (JCP) is there for you as well and will be able to provide advice where they can be that with Universal Credit if you need it or with advice regarding employment options or training. It is worth highlighting that JCP support for redundancy is also available for anyone who has been given notice of redundancy, the support can be put in to place 13-weeks before you are made redundant and can run up to 13-weeks after you have been made redundant. JCP are there to help employers through this as well.
A considerable amount of job searching these days is done through intermediary websites and uploading your CV and searching these sites can often be the more fruitful way of acquiring a new job. Social media sites, in particular sites like LinkedIn can offer another avenue to look for work.
The opportunity to retrain should also not be overlooked. There will soon be a tranche of Government investments in skills, retraining opportunities, adult education and apprenticeships coming forward.
You may want to consider for example:
A Higher Education Programme, studying for a couple of days a week towards a degree whilst also being able to access student support funds to help with your living costs;
Learning a new trade with a vocational programme such as in hairdressing, construction or social care, these may be fully funded by government dependent on your circumstances;
Improving your English and maths with a GCSE programme (these are usually free if you don’t already have them);
Accessing one of the many distance learning programmes in, for example, management and health-care that are often available free and can be done from home in your own time;
Or maybe applying for an apprenticeship, (training whilst in work). whilst opportunities may be limited many employers are looking for people with talent to train in a new sector through the apprenticeship programme.
Everybody’s situation will be different, but there is support out there and while things may look bad now this downturn will be short-lived and there are opportunities on the horizon.
Wishing you all the best of luck at this difficult time.