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Preparing for after redundancy

This advice applies to Scotland

Before you’re made redundant, you might be entitled to some help finding a new job, like time off for interviews.

Money might be tight for a while so you should also get advice on managing any debts you have and check if you’re entitled to any benefits.

Help getting a new job

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) is the Scottish government’s initiative to help people who are facing redundancy or have been made redundant. PACE can help with looking for a job, writing CVs and preparing for interviews. They can also help identify potential funding and learning opportunities.

You can get more redundancy help in Scotland on the My World of Work website or by calling 0800 917 8000.

You won't get any redundancy pay you're entitled to if you accept a new job with your employer before the end of your notice period.

Taking time off to look for work

If you’ve worked for your employer for 2 years at the end of your notice period, you’re entitled to time off to apply for jobs or go on training.

You can take the time off at any time in normal working hours. Your employer can’t ask you to rearrange your work hours to make up the time off.

You won’t get this time off if you’re in the police or armed forces, or you work on a fishing boat and get paid a share of its profits.

How much time off you can take

When taking time off to look for work, you’ll be paid at your normal hourly rate, but only for up to 40% of a week’s work. For example you could be paid at your normal hourly rate for up to 2 days if you work 5 days a week.

You can take 'reasonable' time off once your employer has given you a date for when your employment will end.  

What’s reasonable depends on:

  • how long your notice period is
  • whether your employer can run the business without you
  • how far you have to travel to find work
  • whether your contract says how many days you get

Ask your employer before you take any time off. Try to give them as much notice as possible and tell them what you need the time for - for example a job interview. Giving notice and a reason will make your employer more likely to agree.

Your employer might agree to you taking more time off, but you won’t be paid for it unless your employer agrees or your contract says you have a right to more paid time off.

If your employer won’t give you paid time off to look for work

Start by talking to your employer if they refuse to pay you for time off to look for work. You could speak to your human resources (HR) department, if there is one.

Not all employers know about this right - they might change their mind if you explain the law to them or show them online information on your rights (for example, the Acas guide to redundancy).

If talking to your employer doesn’t help, you can start early conciliation.

After Acas early conciliation, your final option is to take your employer to an employment tribunal.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice as soon as possible if you need help, as there’s a tight deadline for taking action.

Check you got all the money you’re entitled to

When you get your final pay, you should check you got:

  • any redundancy pay you’re entitled to (or you’ve been told when you’ll get it)

  • your last wages/salary

  • any ‘pay in lieu’ if you’re not working your full notice

  • any holiday pay you’re entitled to

  • any outstanding bonus, commission or expenses you’re entitled to

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if there’s a problem with your final pay - you may have to make a claim to an employment tribunal to get the money you’re owed.

Check if you have to pay tax on your redundancy pay

The first £30,000 of your redundancy pay is tax free.

For any redundancy pay over £30,000, your employer will take the tax from your redundancy pay at your normal tax rate.

However, if your employer pays you your final pay after you leave your job, they’ll take the tax from your redundancy pay at the basic rate of 20%. If you pay a higher tax rate, you need to call HMRC to arrange to pay the extra tax.

Your notice pay is taxed as your normal pay would be.

HM Revenue and Customs Taxes Helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3300
Textphone: 0300 200 3319
Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm; Saturday from 8am to 4pm

Claiming benefits

You might be able to claim benefits while you’re looking for a new job, like Universal Credit.

You might also be able to get a higher amount of benefits you already get, for example:

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • tax credits

Use the benefits checker on GOV.UK to see what benefits you may be entitled to.

Help paying your rent or mortgage

You might be able to claim Universal Credit housing costs or Housing Benefit to help pay your rent - use the benefits checker on GOV.UK to see what benefits you may be entitled to.

If you have a mortgage, check your mortgage protection policy to see what it says about redundancy. You might get some money towards your mortgage while you look for a new job.

For more information about help with mortgage costs and mortgage arrears, see How to sort out your mortgage problems.

Get advice about any debts

You should get advice about any debts you have already - read about how to get help with your debts.

If you’re worried about getting into debt after your redundancy, use our budgeting tool to see exactly where your money goes each month.

If you’ve bought something on credit, check whether you've got a payment protection insurance policy that will pay off the credit because you’ve been made redundant.

Get independent financial advice

If you got redundancy pay, you might want to speak to an independent financial adviser about what to do with it.  For example, you might choose to put it in a high-interest account or invest it.

You can find an independent financial adviser through:

Independent Financial Promotions (IFAP)

Personal Finance Society (PFS)

Making a career change

You can get advice from Skills Development Scotland's My World of Work service if you want to get a new qualification or make a career change, like starting your own business.

My World of Work (Skills Development Scotland)
Telephone: 0800 917 8000
Open 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday

You might be able to get help paying for training and qualifications. Read more about:

The Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative can help you with finding work and training, applying for jobs and give you careers advice.

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE)
Telephone: 0800 917 8000

Ongoing support

Redundancy can often take more of an emotional toll than people expect, especially if the consultation and selection process has taken a while.

If you’re finding the redundancy process difficult, check any paperwork you were given as part of your redundancy package to see if you’re entitled to any ongoing support.

For example, some organisations provide a free helpline number for people to talk about their redundancy or any other personal issues.

Your employer might also pay for you to  speak to a professional adviser about your CV, as part of your redundancy package.

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