How to stay afloat in a tsunami of job cuts: Millions face redundancy

How to stay afloat in a tsunami of job losses: As millions of Britons face the grim reality of redundancy… here’s our guide to weathering the storm

  • latest predictions say unemployment could rise to 10% by the end of the year 
  • Pizza Express warned 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World axed 800 staff
  • Winding down of the furlough scheme at the end of October may be a cliff edge
  • Here a range of experts explain how to navigate an unforgiving labour market 

For many, it doesn’t bear thinking about. But millions of Britons are facing the grim reality of redundancy in the coming months, possibly for the first time.

This country has faced mass job losses before but rarely on this scale. The latest predictions say unemployment could rise to 10 per cent by the end of the year.

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff.

Will it be worse than 2008? Shocked workers leaving Lehman Brothers in London’s Canary Wharf after the firm collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis

The only advantage we have is that we can see the storm coming.

The winding down of the Government’s furlough scheme at the end of October may be a cliff edge, but it also gives time to prepare.

That’s why Money Mail is today launching a jobs crisis special to guide you through every stage. We have spoken to a range of experts who explain how to navigate an unforgiving labour market and focus on a job search.

The two-week series will also offer a ray of sunshine amidst the gloom. Redundancy can provide time to reassess and reorientate your life around a new career. We’ll tell stories of those who have turned loss into opportunity — and offer advice about how to do the same.

And we will explore how some have taken the plunge and started their own business from scratch after losing their jobs.

Boris Johnson says his approach to the pandemic is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. It might be a good mantra for the jobs market, too. So what can you expect if the worst does happen?


You should receive redundancy pay if you’ve been working for your current employer for two years or more.

You’ll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you worked if you’re under the age of 22.
  • One week’s pay per year, age 22 to 40.
  • One-and-a-half week’s pay per year aged 41 or older.

The payout is capped at 20 years and a maximum of £538 per week. You may get more under your particular work contract. The first £30,000 is tax free.

If you have been on furlough or maternity leave, your redundancy pay should be calculated based on your full wage. As a rule, being furloughed does not affect your rights.

You should receive the money by your final payday at the latest, unless agreed beforehand.

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff

Just yesterday, Pizza Express warned that 1,100 jobs are at risk, while Currys PC World plans to axe 800 staff


  • At least one week if employed between one month and two years.
  • One week for each year employed between two and 12 years.
  • Twelve weeks if you’ve been in your employment for 12 years or more .

Check your contract. Your employer may give you more than the statutory minimum.

Your employer should either pay you through your notice period or pay you in lieu of notice. ‘Gardening leave’ means you are not working for your employer, but you are still employed, so you cannot start elsewhere yet.


If the employer is making fewer than 20 redundancies, there are no rules about how they should carry out a consultation. 

For between 20 and 99 redundancies, consultation must start at least 30 days before any dismissals. It must be 45 days if there are 100 job cuts or more.

Discussions must cover ways to avoid layoffs, reasons for the cuts and how to keep numbers to a minimum. You can appeal by writing to your employer if you feel you’ve been unfairly selected. The next step is an employment tribunal.


The grounds cannot be discriminatory: for example, based on age, disability, race, gender or religion.

Commonly used selection methods include ‘last in, first out’, asking for volunteers, and staff appraisals. You may be asked to reapply for your own job


You may be offered ‘suitable alternative employment’, for example if it is similar to your current job. You may lose your right to redundancy pay if you turn down a suitable role without good reason.

You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if you think the alternative job is not suitable.

You are entitled to a trial period.


If you’ve been employed for two years, you’re allowed time off to look for a job elsewhere or for training. Your employer has to pay up to 40 per cent of a week’s pay for this.

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Short cuts to making long-term gains 

 By MARTYN JAMES of consumer complaints website Resolver

With up to half of all working Britons worried about losing their jobs, these are stressful times. But with a few simple steps, you can head off the worst of the storm by battening down your finances.


A simple spreadsheet is all you need, or just a blank piece of paper. List when regular payments are due and, in a separate column, your food bills, entertainment and takeaways. Then total up the cost and compare it to what’s coming in.

Check your bank statements, going back 13 months, and ask your bank to cancel payments you do not recognise, and reclaim money if unauthorised.


If you’re struggling financially, lenders, utility firms and banks should offer solutions to buy you some time. They should also consider suspending interest and charges for a short period. 

Loan and credit payment holidays are available, too. If you are yet to take a mortgage holiday, the deadline to apply is October 31, but they do seem to be harder to get.

Prioritise your debts in order of the most serious consequences. For example, non-payment of council tax carries a three- month prison term. You could lose your home if you fall behind on your mortgage.


Never pay for a debt management service — there are many free options, such as the debt charity StepChange. They’ll contact your creditors and negotiate payments you can afford.


Energy price reviews happen around August, so this is a good time to switch providers. Take your meter readings and ask for a revised bill. While you’re at it, check if you can find cheaper mobile, broadband or annual insurance.


The Government has banned home repossessions during this period. If you need help with living costs, you could be eligible for Universal Credit — go to

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