A guide to taking voluntary redundancy

Written by The RAC Team
Last updated October 10, 2020

With the economic impact of COVID-19 only just being realised, there is an impending wave of redundancies to come. If you think or know your company is offering voluntary redundancies and you are considering taking it – here is everything you need to know before taking the plunge.

There is a recession looming, and it may not end simply with the circulation of a coronavirus vaccine. When a large number of businesses must choose to shut or shrink, there is an economic repercussion known as scarring. Scarring is where the lack of work reduces the number of sales, and therefore companies can’t rehire people.

This effect can last years, meaning that jobs won’t reappear as soon as the pandemic is over; instead, research predicts that the scarring effect could last half a decade. Additionally, not only will there be fewer jobs, but there will be fewer people leaving the jobs they already have.

All of this means finding a job may not be as easy as you think. However, if you are not looking to go right back into work, maybe voluntary redundancy is right for you. It can be especially appealing as employees tend to retain certain benefits which they do not see with statutory redundancy.

To help you decide, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Do you think you will be made compulsorily redundant if you decline?

With many businesses going through a difficult period, it may be clear that your company is going to have to make the same challenging decisions. Therefore, should it seem inevitable, sometimes it’s better to go out on your terms. Compulsory redundancy will knock anyone’s confidence; however, taking it voluntarily will make it easier to work to get a new job.

Do you have significant savings?

Along with the redundancy pay, if you can survive the scarring period without work, this might be a great opportunity. 47% of adults in the UK feel unfulfilled by their current career.

If you are one of those millions who want a career change, this is your chance to research where you want to be, and take any necessary training. Additionally, if you have any hobbies or interests that you haven’t had time to pursue for years, or even decades if you don’t need to work this is your chance to find yourself again!

How is the rest of your industry coping?

Doing some research into the state of your sector could be massively revealing. If it is struggling, it is rather unlikely that you are going to find work again soon.

However, if it is stable or even thriving, this could be a golden opportunity. Should you find that your company is the only one offering or making redundancies, it may be poorly run. As such, you are still quite likely to find a new job, but this time at a better-run and more stable enterprise.

To conclude, taking voluntary redundancy is not an ideal choice in these times. Even when we aren’t looking at an impending recession, it can be a tumultuous and challenging process.

Despite that, there are a few situations where taking the redundancy makes sense. If you find that you are in one of the conditions mentioned above, all you need for success is confidence!

For more advice on changing careers, see our pages on redundancy assistance, or our guide on choosing an alternative career.

Last Updated: Thursday October 8 2020
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