Being retrenched from your job can be hard to accept. It is the sudden shock that catches most people, but try not to take it personally. Redundancy is usually not about your personal performance; it’s the performance of your employer’s business, the industry sector in which you work, or even the global economy.
Dealing with the key considerations below can help you take back control of your life and career.
- Redundancy payment: Genuine redundancy payments are given special tax treatment, including a tax-free amount related to years of service. Your lump sum payment might be your last pay packet for a while, so draw up a budget. This will help you identify areas where you can economise until you find a new job. Your financial adviser can help you work out the best use for any lump sum you receive.
- Mortgage: If you have a home loan, contact your lender immediately. You may be able to adjust payments while you are out of the workforce.
- Centrelink: You may be eligible for income support from Centrelink. Be aware that waiting periods and income and asset tests apply, so contact Centrelink as soon as possible. Go to www.humanservices.gov.au for details.
- Superannuation and insurance: Depending on your fund you may need to rollover your superannuation benefit. You may also need to replace any insurance cover you had with your employer or your previous super fund. Your adviser can guide you on these matters; firstly contact your super fund to check your insurance details.
- New job or new career: Redundancy is usually an unwanted challenge, but many people take the opportunity to make the move to a completely new career. This may involve a period of re-training for which government assistance may be available. You might even consider buying your own business: many people take advantage of their redundancy payout to purchase a franchise. It is possible to come out of your redundancy experience with the chance of an exciting future.
- Unfair dismissal: If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed, you may need to get some legal advice. It’s important you don’t delay this as you only have 21 days from the date of dismissal to lodge a complaint with the Fair Work Commission so contact a specialist employment lawyer asap.
- Other support: Some companies offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Apart from helping you update your CV, find a new job or transition to a new career, outplacement companies can also provide support in dealing with the emotional consequences of retrenchment. If outplacement services are available, always take advantage of them.
The emotional side
“At first I was afraid, I was petrified…” Gloria Gaynor sang in her 1978 disco hit “I Will Survive”, and although she was singing about love lost she could just as easily have been singing about being made redundant from her job.
Remember you can survive… and even thrive!
Some welcome the financial windfall a redundancy may bring, but for others the emotional consequences losing a job can be serious, varying from feelings of helplessness to deep depression. If you have family members or friends who are not handling their job loss, encourage them to get help. The family doctor is a good starting point or visit www.beyondblue.org.au for further information. The most important thing to remember is to get professional advice as soon as possible.
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