What to do when you’re suddenly made unemployed

What to do when you’re suddenly made unemployed

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

Losing your job is never easy. It can be a stressful situation to navigate, especially when it comes to managing your finances. However, there are things you can do to be proactive in this time.


1. Know your rights 

If you’ve been made redundant, check that your employer followed the rules and you weren’t discriminated against. You might be entitled to redundancy pay if you worked there for more than two years, and your notice period depends on the length of time you were employed. The minimum statutory notice period is one week and you should be paid as normal during the notice period, or in some circumstances, in lieu of the notice period.  

If you were made redundant due to COVID-19 your rights aren’t affected and normal rules still apply.  

Read more about redundancy rights on the government website. 

2. Look into getting financial help  

The scariest part about being unemployed, is often trying to manage your finances. But there are several schemes that can provide financial support while you’re unemployed or job seeking. If you’ve got less than £16,000 in savings (including your partner’s savings and/or redundancy payment) then you might be eligible for Universal Credit 

Read more about Universal Credit and how it affects your credit file. 

If you don’t qualify for Universal Credit, you might be able to claim the new Jobseeker’s Allowance. This benefit doesn’t take savings into account but you do need to have made enough National Insurance contributions in the previous years to qualify. 

You might be eligible for a loan or advance from the government to help you pay for essentials, from furniture to clothing and even maternity costs. Find out more here. 

If you’re worried about being able to buy food, you might be able to access a local food bank 

Other things to consider: 

  • Check if you have Mortgage payment protection insurance  (MPII) - This could cover you if you’ve been made suddenly unemployed 
  • Speak to your landlord if you rent – Let them know about your situation, as they may be understanding. If they’re not, speak to your local council’s housing department.  

3. Expand your job search 

You may have to apply for jobs you wouldn’t normally consider. During the pandemic, the job market has reduced in some areas, and broadened in others. It can be intimidating but it doesn't necessarily mean changing your career. You may just need to get a new job in place for the time being. It’s likely you’ll have collected  transferable skills at your old job and can put those to use in a different role 

The Department for Work and Pensions keeps a list of employers that are recruiting as well as useful advice for jobseekers. 

Online shopping is at an all-time high now, meaning delivery drivers are in demand. Find delivery jobs on any of the popular job sites such as IndeedReed or LinkedIn 

The NHS currently has a lot of opportunities and you don’t always need relevant experience for roles such as admin or call handling.  

If you want to stay informed about new roles make sure to: 

  • subscribe to alerts on job websites so you’re notified when a new vacancy is posted 
  • sign up for different company news letters in case they advertise new roles
  • check regularly on jobsites or company websites for updates. 

You could also send out emails to recruitment agencies or different companies to see if they have any roles coming up. You won’t always get a response, but you may be able to build a connection, or get insight on any future opportunities.  

Remember, most companies, if not all are currently remote working due to COVID-19. You could take advantage of this and search for roles outwith your local region.  

4. Overhaul your finances 

Make time to check all your outgoings and see where you can save. Stop spending money on non-essential purchases. Cancel standing orders you no longer need and see if you can get a better deal on current subscriptions such as your mobile phone contract.  

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

This is a testing time for many and support systems are in place to offer help to those that need it. There are many organisations that can provide you with support and advice during this time.  

Debt advice 

If you need help with debts such as your mortgage or utility bills, you will find comprehensive advice and guidance at StepChange. 

Mental health support 

If you’re struggling to deal with the situation, you’re not alone. Mind is a mental health charity and their website has lots of useful information including links to advice services such as the Mental Health & Money service. 

Further support 

Turn 2 Us is a charity that offers help and advice to anyone struggling financially. They’ll help you work out if you’re entitled to benefits or grants. Read about the Hardship Grants that some people on Jobseekers Allowance might be entitled to. 

If you want to learn more about saving money, read here to discover more than 100 ideas to save money. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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What to do when you’re suddenly made unemployed What to do when you’re suddenly made unemployed