If you feel like a change in your life or your career, taking voluntary redundancy might just be the path for you.

The number of both compulsory and voluntary redundancies has spiked in the last year with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has pushed many industries to the brink, leading thousands of companies to severely rationalisation their workforce and business.

This trend was already emerging with the rapid changes to the world economy in recent years. With the radical advancement of technology, including automation and AI, many formerly stable industries have become severely unprofitable.

As such, redundancies in general have become increasingly accepted and understood by both workers and employers. This means that employers are unlikely to look unfavourably at a redundancy, as they understand that it now very common.

However, just because there are lots of redundancies does not mean there are no jobs out there. In fact, there is a crisis in the UK with the lack of labour in a wide range of industries. These roles are often leadership roles or require specific technology-based skills.

If your company is facing a similar situation and is looking to cut parts of the workforce, taking voluntary redundancy might be a great option for you and your employer.

What is voluntary redundancy?

Voluntary redundancy is where you offer to be made redundant. This is the antithesis of compulsory redundancy where an employer dismisses a member of staff without giving them a choice.

You are often eligible to all of the same benefits you would receive from a compulsory redundancy. An employer will often offer people to take voluntary redundancy as it is less likely to upset the redundant worker or the colleagues who stay.

When compulsory redundancies are enforced it can often lead to other staff members feeling insecure in their job and make them feel like the company is disloyal to their staff. As such, voluntary redundancy works out best for everyone.

When might you take it?

There are a number of reasons why people take voluntary redundancy.

Sadly, one reason some people take it is they believe they are going to made compulsorily redundant either way. By taking the step yourself you can sufficiently plan your finances and know you left on your terms whilst helping the company stay stable.

Maybe the most common is where someone is nearing retirement age and their redundancy pay is large enough to incentivise them leaving. This is because they recognise they are likely to not be working soon enough, so might as well leave now with extra pay.

However, it is not uncommon for a company to decline a voluntary redundancy from people who have been at the company for a long time as they will have a large redundancy pay. If they could afford to give out large redundancy payments, they probably wouldn’t be offering redundancies in the first place.

An increasingly common reason for people to take voluntary redundancy is that they are looking for a fresh start and to switch to a new career. If that is the case, see our tips for applying for a new job and what to add on your CV.

What are my rights?

To see your rights, read our guide on what you need to know when you are facing redundancy.