Work around losing a job
UNEMPLOYMENT remains low despite the downturn but there has been a jump in redundancies, with Paperchase announcing job losses after its takeover by Tesco.
Clothing retailer M&Co is closing 170 shops with up to 1,900 jobs lost, British Steel is considering 1,200 cuts in South Yorkshire, and Google and Amazon are axing UK staff.
Accounting firm BDO said more are considering cuts to manage rising costs, while delaying hiring plans.
If you are made redundant, it is important not to take it personally as it is not your fault, said Mark Bartle, director of mortgages at Leeds Building Society: “Exit gracefully and remain professional. Other roles will come along. You can maybe use your existing network to find a new job.”
Be prepared to feel emotional, though: “Redundancy can hit selfconfidence and trigger depression. Do not be frightened to ask for help or talk about your situation.”
Many employers run redundancy support programmes providing financial education, guidance and regulated financial advice for their staff, so ask what yours offers.
If you will struggle to keep up with your mortgage and other debts, talk to your lender about an easier repayment plan. Bartle said: “The sooner it knows, the more it can do.”
You may be entitled to redundancy pay, based on your age, length of employment and job role, so check your contract, said Jonathan WattsLay, director of financial adviser Wealth at Work: “Visit websites Gov. uk or MoneyHelper.org.uk to understand your rights.”
Typically, the first £30,000 of redundancy pay is tax-free, with anything above that added to your income and taxed: “This could push you into a higher tax bracket, but National Insurance is not deducted.”
Put the cash into an easy access savings account, where you can get your hands on it if need be, while you work out where you stand financially.
Examine your monthly income and expenses, and try to bring them into line. Use MoneyHelper’s free budget planner. Watts-Lay said: “It might be worth using some of your redundancy to pay off expensive debts. Start with those that charge most interest.”
Your mortgage typically charges the lowest interest so leave this till last: “Some lenders may offer payment holidays, ask yours if need be.”
Those nearing retirement age may consider retiring early, Watts-Lay said: “You could use your redundancy or pension tax-free cash to clear any debts. However, you cannot pay the first £30,000 of redundancy into a pension and claim tax relief, as it does not count as pensionable earnings.”
Your old company pension will remain invested and safe until you retire, but some may prefer to shift the money into a personal pension or workplace scheme if they find a new job: “There are benefits to keeping pensions in one place but you may face transfer costs, so check first.”
Scammers can prey on people who have lost their jobs, by falsely promising big returns from investing their redundancy cash. “Check your investment adviser is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority at Register.fca.org.uk. If not, avoid.”