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Redundancy Survival Guide

Updated on January 6, 2014

Don't PANIC!!!

OK, so you've just received your notice of redundancy. What's your next move?, bury your head in your hands and burst into tears? or run-around waving your arms in the air whooping and cheering?.

No. you need to start organizing the next chapter in your life. Just ask yourself these questions

  • When was the last time you updated your CV.
  • Do you know where your PPI policy is.
  • Do you know exactly how much redundancy and/or PILON you will receive.

Whilst you still have a job, use your time till you leave to obtain written references from your manager and to start laying-out your CV. Remember, your CV is just like a sales brochure. It tells any potential future employer all about what you can do. One of the worst mistakes on a CV is to fail to put a paragraph in about your capabilities. This should emphasis any stand-out points from your employment. This needs to be written from a 3rd-person perspective, i.e. -

"...and whilst working for x, he instigated a cost-reduction project that saved the company £20,000 over the last 18 months. In his role of 'Safety Officer', he reduced the number of accidents and near-misses buy 75%, saving the company 41 lost work days over a 1 year period."

Rather than -

"I am a dedicated member of the team. I am proud to have reduced the accident rate by 75% in my role as 'Safety Officer', saving the company 41 lost work days in the process. I also instigated a project that saved the company £20,000"

Any prospective employer wants to see how others think of you, not how you think of yourself.

Don't forget, by keeping your cv on computer, you can easily tailor it to suit each job application (but please do NOT be tempted to lie, and say you have better qualifications than you really have. As this is a criminal offence). By leaving-off qualifications that are irrelevant to the position you are applying-for, you will not appear to be over-qualified for the position.

The same goes for covering letters. If you are applying across a range of sectors, make sure your letter matches the job-type. This really improves your chances of being picked for interview.

Claiming benefits

If you have worked for more than 2 years as a PAYE employee, then you will be entitled to 'Job-Seakers Allowance'. This is a two-stage benefit. For the first 182 days, you will receive 'Contribution-based JSA'. The amount of which depends on factors such as savings and investments (£16,000 being the cut-off point), for the remainder of the year, the benefit switches to 'Income-based JSA', this takes into account all the benefits and other types of income (such as rent from lodgers) that you receive.

Whichever type of JSA you are on, your benefits will be reduced by £1 for every £250 you have in savings of over £6,000. This also counts for Council Tax Benefits and Housing Benefits as well.

Now, before you pick-up the phone to begin the claims progress, make sure you have to hand the following -

  1. Your final wage slip.
  2. Your N.I. number
  3. Your spouses N.I. number (if they are not in employment)
  4. Bank statement - 1 for each account

The initial benefits claim can be done either online or on the telephone. The whole process takes 45 minutes regardless, but from what I have been told, those who apply online get first pickings when it comes to interview dates for the initial 'First Claimant Interview'. This interview is where you are taken through what is expected of you as a claimant. It is also at this interview that they will take copies of your bank statements and any other information that they asked you to bring with you at the time of your initial claim. It is worth noting that some Job Centres are doing the FCI's as a group session rather than as a 1-1.

At the end of the FCI you will take away a piece of paper with your initial signing-on day and advisor name on it.

The JCP system will not set up additional benefits such as Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction (unless you are put on the new 'Universal Credit' scheme), so you will need to visit your local Council office to go about claiming H/B & C/T/R. If you live in leasehold property, make sure to let the JCP know as early as possible. They will pay your Service Charge and Ground Rent, but it takes a while to set up as you need to provide loads of info from your management company with regards to the amount of the charge, and when it is paid.

Great expectations.

Whilst claiming benefits, you will be required to take 9 actions each week to find work. These can be

  1. Looking at job sites online
  2. looking in local papers
  3. Sending prospective employers letters of enquirey along with a CV
  4. Phoning or calling-in to potential employers to enquire about any vacancies they may have.

If you fail to maintain a record of your efforts, then the DWP can sanction your benefits and cut-off your supply of cash.

After 8 weeks you may be called-in to attend a 'back to work' workshop. My advice is to get there early and sit at the back. These workshops can be really boring, but are a necessary evil if you are to remain in receipt of your benefits.

On 13 weeks you will have a 1-to-1 with an advisor who will review your efforts and adjust your 'Job Seekers Agreement' to extend the distance you would be expected to travel to work.

When job-hunting, you will be expected to apply for jobs with a given traveling-time I.E. 1 hour. This is always assumed to be by public transport and includes the time taken to walk to the bus stop/train station. So it may take you 30 minutes to reach a major industrial area by car, but the same area may take you 90 minutes to reach by bus/train, so this area would be considered 'outside the area' by your advisor.


Since this article was first published, the UK Govt. has launched a brand new website & all jobs are now advertised on 'Universal Job Match'. Typically, this requires a user account to be created in order to allow you to apply for jobs. When signing up for 'Universal Job Match' do not tick the box to allow the JCP staff to view your job hunting. Also, DO NOT lose the 'Govt. Gateway' number you got when you signed-up. It is a real pain in the arse to reset. If you do lose it, you cannot re-apply using the same email address you used to register an account in the first place (well, you can, but it involves emailing the DWP & waiting 3 weeks for them to remove your email from their system). You will need to be able to log in to UJM as some jobs can only be applied-for through the site.

Make the Job Centre work for YOU.

Sounds strange, but you can use the Job Centre to your advantage. Not very good at maths or English?. Computers skills almost non-existant?. Why not ask your advisor to refer you for a free course to help boost your educational level?.

If you need a certificate to work in a particular industry (such as a CSCS card for working in the construction sector) why not ask about funding?. If you sell it to the advisor that such a certificate would really enhance your ability to quickly return to work.

Long-term unemployment.

If you have been on benefits for more than a year, you may be required to take-part in schemes such as 'Work Placement', or 'Work Trial'. These are aimed at getting you back to work and off the JC's books.

Work Placement schemes are run by private companies on behalf of the DWP, these tend to involve turning-up once every 2 weeks and get given your tasks for the next 2 weeks. This may involve simply looking-at a website or creating a cv. This scheme runs for 2 years and will involve a 4-week placement at a place of work which will, hopefully lead to a job offer. However, be aware, this scheme only has a 20% success rate in placing people in work.

Work Trial is a scheme that allows an individual to try out a job to see if they are suited to it. Work trials are only available at participating firms, but they do have the advantage of having no affect on your benefits if you decide not to carry-on with the trial and return to claiming JSA.

It is worth noting that there are a few businesses who abuse the system by using work trial to fill seasonal vacancies at no expense to themselves.

Are Agencies worth the hassle?

There are a lot of negative comments on the web regarding the use of Agencies in the pursuit of gaining re-employment. However, used correctly, they can be a good tool.

The main role of an Agency is too place as many of it's temps into work as it can, after all, an Agency only makes money if if has people placed in work and earning. Now, as an Agency will be constantly marketing it's temps to every firm they can find, there is no harm in using them to get your CV 'out there'. If they land your CV on the desk of a company that then goes on to employ you, the Agency will make a nice big introduction fee for doing very little in the way of work.

The Agency will of course offer you other work in the meantime, but, under current regs you do not have to accept it. The only thing you need to watch out for since the introduction of the 'Agency Worker Regulations' are the Agencies that have signed the 'opt-out'. They will basically put you on the books and send you where they like and you have no get-out clause as you will be directly employed by the Agency rather than semi-employed (where you only get paid if you are on an assignment).


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      Jamesm1968 5 years ago from UK

      It is about to get harder. The UK is moving towards a single 'Unified Benefit'. This will be limited to £19,000 per household (regardless of the number of individuals claiming benefit). This U/B will encompass all the individual benefits currently paid-out into one single payment and will include Jobseekers Allowance, Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit and much more.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for the tips, dude. It's interesting to see what people in the UK have to do when looking for employment. Later!