In a world where technological advances are altering the labour market at a rapid rate, redundancy has become more commonplace over recent years. This page will look at voluntary redundancy and whether it could be the right choice for you and even your career.
If you’re currently facing compulsory redundancy, head over to our dedicated page on Facing Redundancy.
Redundancy and The Current Labour Market
Redundancy rates in the UK unsurprisingly hit an all-time high during the global pandemic. Fortunately, numbers have levelled off more recently, but they can still fluctuate as much as 15% from month to month.
With the radical advancement of technology, including automation and AI, many formerly stable industries have become highly unprofitable. As such, redundancies in general are more widely accepted and understood by both workers and employers.
However, a higher level of redundancies doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a shortage of jobs. In fact, the UK is currently facing a skills shortage with employers in desperate need of highly skilled workers. These roles are often leadership roles or roles that 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, both for you and your employer.
What is Voluntary Redundancy?
Voluntary redundancy is when you choose to put yourself forward for redundancy prior to being selected. This is the antithesis of compulsory redundancy when an employer dismisses a member of staff without giving them a choice. If you do volunteer, it remains up to your employer if they select you.
What are the Benefits?
Employers will often offer people the chance to take voluntary redundancy as it can have a more positive effect on employee morale when compared to compulsory redundancy. When compulsory redundancies are enforced, it generally leads to a sense of insecurity among the remaining employees. Furthermore, employees may begin to think that the company is disloyal to their staff. As such, voluntary redundancy can be a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Is It Right For You?
As with all career-based decisions, putting yourself forward for voluntary redundancy should only occur after first weighing up all of your options. Here are some of the main points to consider:
You are often eligible for all of the same benefits you would receive from compulsory redundancy. These benefits include:
- Jobs Seeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
However, it’s important to do your research on this beforehand. For further information on the benefits you might be eligible to claim, visit gov.uk or citizensadvice.org.uk.
Is It a Fair Redundancy Offer?
Speak to your employer about the redundancy package that is on offer. In some cases, employers will even offer further incentives to take voluntary redundancy. These can include extra redundancy pay and paid time off during your notice period.
That being said, always do your homework. Ensure that the numbers add up and that you’re not being offered an unfair redundancy package.
Check Your Mortgage Protection Policy
If you have a mortgage protection policy, see what it says about voluntary redundancy. In many cases, it is excluded. This means that they won’t continue to pay your mortgage payments after you take voluntary redundancy.
Instead, you can request to be made compulsorily redundant. Of course, this would involve speaking to your employer and coming to a clear, mutually beneficial agreement.
Why Do People Take Voluntary Redundancy?
There are a number of reasons why people take voluntary redundancy. Some of the most common reasons for taking voluntary redundancy include:
Sadly, one reason some people take voluntary redundancy is that they believe they’re going to be made compulsorily redundant either way. By taking control of the situation, you can sufficiently plan your finances and know that you left on your terms.
Close to Retirement
Maybe the most common reason why people take voluntary redundancy is when they are nearing retirement age. At this point, their redundancy pay is large enough to incentivise them to leave before officially retiring.
However, it’s not uncommon for a company to decline a voluntary redundancy request from more long-term employees. Long-standing employees will have built up a large redundancy package which the company may not be able to afford. If they could afford to give out large redundancy payments, they probably wouldn’t be offering redundancies in the first place.
A Career Change
An increasingly common reason for people to take voluntary redundancy is that they’re looking for a fresh start and to switch to a new career. It could be the perfect time to retrain or refresh your skills. If this is the case for you, have a look at our tips on applying for a new job and what to add to your CV.
Finding Career Change Jobs After Voluntary Redundancy
When you’re ready to begin the job search, be sure to visit Refreshing a Career’s redundant workers jobs board for all the latest opportunities. We have support and resources for anyone who has gone through either compulsory or voluntary redundancy.
For further information on your rights when it comes to redundancy, read our guide covering everything you need to know when facing redundancy.
And lastly, feel free to contact our team if you have any questions and sign up for our newsletter using the form below for all the latest from Refreshing a Career.