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Furlough has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic, by paying the wages of 11.6 million workers in the UK. However, since the scheme finished at the end of September almost 1 million people have been left uncertain about where their next paycheque is coming from. If you’ve been affected by furlough ending, read this article to understand your employment rights and options going forward.
Since the start of lockdown, the government has been paying most of the wages of those who couldn’t work or who’s employers could no longer afford to pay them. However, now this scheme is ending, the financial responsibility is being put back onto these individuals. Unfortunately, the economy has changed in this time. This has meant that many companies have suffered over the course of the pandemic and can no longer afford to pay the same number of staff. Some industries have been affected worse than others, such as international travel, forcing many into redundancy. So, if you have found yourself in this position it is important you understand your rights in the redundancy process.
If you have been made redundant, you may be entitled to financial support from the government including:
You may even be entitled to a combination of all three, depending on the amount of support that you need. This will depend on your individual financial circumstances and how much you have contributed in National Insurance throughout your employment. Additionally, if you are a carer or have children, a disability, or health condition then you may be able to get additional financial help from the government. Use this free online calculator to work out how much you could be owed.
If you’ve been made redundant you may be allowed paid time off to look for a new job. If you’ve been working continuously for your employer for at least two years, you’re allowed to take 40% of your working week off to attend interviews. Additionally, if you are retraining after being made redundant you may be entitled to grants, bursaries, loans and free courses.
The good news is that job vacancies are at a record high. However, the economy has changed since pre-pandemic and so has the job market. So, if you’re looking for a job this may require a change in sector. The top 5 sectors with the most vacancies include health and social care, hospitality, technical professionals, retail and manufacturing.
Top tip: Consider your core skills and think about how they are transferable to another role. For example, if you worked as an air hostess, this could translate to another people-facing role, such as customer services.