Discount retailer Poundworld has entered administration today, putting 5,100 jobs at risk.
As reported by the BBC, the move came after talks with a potential buyer, R Capital, collapsed leaving Poundworld with no option other than administration.
Centrica, which owns British Gas, has also announced plans to cut 4,000 jobs after a ‘weak’ end to 2017. The energy supplier said group profits fell 17% to £1.25bn, after losing 750,000 domestic customers last year.
And with employees at the likes of Carillion and Tesco also dealing with job losses in recent months, it’s clear that the threat of redundancy is a very real concern for thousands of British workers.
Recently, a Post Office investigation found that a typical family on an average monthly income of £3,156 with access to £10,741 in cashable savings, would struggle to cope after just 46 days if faced with continued outgoings, such as bills and mortgage payments.
While you shouldn’t be worried about redundancy affecting your job prospects – all employers know that it’s just a sign of the times rather than your ability as a worker – you should be prepared for if it ever happens.
Here’s what to do if it happens to you.
If you have at least two years’ continuous service you are entitled to a lump-sum redundancy payment from your employer.
However, if this gives you less than the statutory redundancy pay, the statutory amount will apply.
Statutory redundancy pay is based on age, length of service and earnings, up to a maximum limit of £475 per week and up to 20 years, breaking down as follows:
• Half a week’s pay for each year of continuous service below the age of 22.
• A full week’s pay for each year of continuous service between the ages of 22 and 40.
• A week and a half’s pay for each year of continuous service above the age of 41.
Before you leave, pick up your P45 and get written details of your redundancy payment and package.
Some employers may offer career guidance or offer money for training but, if not, call the Careers Advice Service on 0800 100 900 and speak to a career coach who can help you with your options.
If you’re concerned about paying your mortgage or rent, check whether you’ve got mortgage protection insurance to cover your payments.
Contact the bank/building society that your mortgage is with or your landlord to discuss your options. Speak to a Housing Adviser in your local council’s housing department as soon as you can, especially if your landlord threatens eviction as you have rights as a tenant and your landlord has to follow certain procedures.
You might also be able to get help with paying the interest on your mortgage through government schemes such as Support for Mortgage Interest, or Housing Benefit to help pay your rent.
There are three Government-backed schemes which may be able to help you pay your mortgage:
• Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) for those on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit offers help on loans up to £200,000.
• The Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme helps couples facing hardship, where one partner has lost their job, by deferring a portion of mortgage interest for up to two years.
• The Mortgage Rescue scheme, offers families and the elderly either a shared equity option on their home or a Government mortgage, allowing them to remain in their home.
If you’re worried that you might be made homeless, you need to get expert advice – visit the Shelter website or call them on 0808 800 4444.
If your employer has gone into administration, the company dealing with your employer’s circumstances should give you an RP1 application form.
This will enable you to make a redundancy payment claim at the Redundancy Payments Office in Birmingham. If you need information about the RP1 form or general advice on redundancy, call the helpline on 0845 145 0004.
Employees who continue to work for an insolvent employer while the business is being transferred to a new owner may be able to get financial assistance from the National Insurance Fund. Contact Citizens Advice Bureau for help with this.
You might be entitled to benefits such as Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Council Tax Benefit which could boost your income and help with paying your bills. Call 0345 300 3900 (8am to 8pm every day) to see if you qualify.
You may also be entitled to claim Job seeker’s Allowance. Call 0800 055 6688 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday) to see if you qualify or claim online using the ‘Claim online-Jobseeker’s Allowance’ service provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.
If you believe your employer has behaved unfairly with regards to your redundancy, you can seek free and confidential advice from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 0300 123 1100 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday).
Look on the bright side, this may give you the chance to find the dream job you never would have considered had this not happened.
So update your CV, get some advice about training and start applying! You can also call the Careers Advice Service on 0800 100 900 (8am to 10pm every day) or visit their website for more help.