Help if you are made redundant (COVID 19)
Due to coronavirus, the current economic slow-down and the previous repeated changes to the Job Retention Scheme, more people in Swansea are at risk of redundancy.
Been made redundant before 2 March 2021?
If you have recently been made redundant it is a good idea to talk to your employer about the changes to the Job Retention Scheme announced in the budget on 3 March.
People who were previously made redundant or stopped working for their employer after 23 September 2020 could be re-employed and covered by the scheme. To be included in the Job Retention Scheme up to 30 April 2021, you need to have been on your employers' PAYE payroll by 30 October 20.
The Job Retention Scheme has now been extended until 30 September 2021, therefore it is worth asking if your employer is considering making you redundant before then, can you remain employed and have your wages covered by the scheme until the autumn instead.
For the extension of the scheme from 1 May until 30 September you will need to have been employed on 2 March 2021 and been on your employer's PAYE payroll between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.
Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, capped at £2,500 per month, for hours not worked. Flexibility in furlough will continue, so employees can be paid as usual for the hours actually worked and be covered by the Job Retention Scheme for the rest of their usual hours that they are furloughed for. There will be no employer contributions beyond paying for National Insurance contributions and pensions required in May and June. From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.
The details are set out here: www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Useful advice for employees is available here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/04/employed-help-coronavirus-furlough/
Here we have complied details and links with advice about redundancy rights, help available to support you back into work and details of financial support from the social security system:
Comprehensive details of your redundancy rights is provided by ACAS: https://www.acas.org.uk/your-rights-during-redundancy
ACAS also have a helpline open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, 0300 123 1100
If you are an employee and have worked continuously for your employer (including any time furloughed on the Job Retention Scheme) for two years, you have redundancy rights.
If you have been furloughed and are made redundant, legislation that came into force on 31/07/20 means that any redundancy pay you are entitled to must be based on your usual wages before you were furloughed, not the 80% you received through the furlough scheme (if not topped up by your employer). There are statutory amounts of the minimum redundancy pay that you are legally entitled to, these amounts are explained in the above link.
In addition to the statutory minimum amounts, your employment contract may give you rights to extra redundancy payments, your employer should be able to provide you with a copy of your employment contract and it is worth checking.
There are legal notice periods that your employer should give you if you are being made redundant and legally you must be consulted before being made redundant. ACAS provides advice about what you could discuss with your employer at the consultation here: https://www.acas.org.uk/your-rights-during-redundancy/how-your-employer-must-consult-you
Your redundancy should be decided fairly and you have the right to appeal against an unfair decision at an employment tribunal. To do this it is best to get legal advice, talk to your union if there is one at your workplace or you can access free initial employment law advice from:
Other good online resources to look at for advice on your redundancy rights can be found here:
Employment and training support
Support to find employment
Swansea Working can help to get the right employment support for you. We work with over 40 partners to ensure we can get the right type and level of support for you. This support is free and accessible to any resident of Swansea who is looking for employment.
In addition to the individually tailored support from Swansea Working, the advisers can also refer you for direct help from our experienced Welfare Benefits Support Adviser and Financial Inclusion Officer who provide advice and support on your benefit entitlement and help with debt and financial issues, including how to save money on your utility bills. Again, this support is free and is accessible to anyone in Swansea who is receiving support from Swansea Working.
Redundancy funding for training
Careers Wales offers help with funding for training as part of the Welsh Government ReAct programme for employees who have been made redundant - https://careerswales.gov.wales/courses-and-training/funding-your-studies/react-funding
Support from Careers Wales and your local Jobcentre
The Jobcentre have kindly provided us with this You-Tube video outlining the support on offer for people who have recently made redundant:
Although this video was made at the start of lockdown and currently all three Jobcentres in Swansea are open to vulnerable claimants, the advice both Careers Wales and the Jobcentre Work Coaches provide remains accessible by phone or online support.
The Jobcentre work coaches can also access their Flexible Support Fund to help you with expenses getting back to work. Talk to your Work Coach about what support they can provide.
Social security benefits
If you have been made redundant, you may require financial support from the benefit system.
Working Tax Credit
If you were receiving working tax credit prior to your employment ending you will continue to be entitled to working tax credit for the following 4 weeks. This is known as the 'run-on'.
'New-Style' Jobseeker's Allowance
To qualify for 'New-Style' Jobseeker's Allowance you must meet the relevant national insurance contributions conditions (check if you have worked at some point over the least 3 years). It is a contributory benefit and is not means-tested, so it doesn't matter about the income of your partner if you have one or whether you have savings or capital. You must meet the basic rules of entitlement e.g. you must work less than 16 hours; you must have a signed claimant commitment outlining your work-related requirements.
Income that is taken into account is any earnings you receive for part-time work (under 16 hours), less the relevant earnings disregards (usually £5) and occupational pensions of more than £50.00; most other income is disregarded. New-Style Jobseeker's Allowance is paid for a maximum amount of six months. Universal Credit can top up contributory 'new-style' JSA, for example if you have rent to pay and are not already in receipt of housing benefit or you have child and are not already in receipt of tax credits.
Details on how to claim are found on https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-new-style-jsa
New-Style Employment and Support Allowance
If you have been made redundant whilst you were in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay and are still unfit for work, you may be entitled to New-Style Employment and Support Allowance.
To qualify for this benefit you must have met the national insurance contribution conditions and not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. This is a contributory benefit, and entitlement depends on your circumstances as the claimant. There are no capital or income rules other than any occupational pension over £85.00 per week that is paid to you as the claimant can affect the amount you receive.
Claims can now be made online at https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/how-to-claim or you can claim by telephone: 0800 328 5644 (choose option 2).
You will now need to provide a sick note from your GP confirming that you are not fit for work. Please remember to continue to provide fit notes (or sick notes) until you are assessed.
Claimants may qualify for Universal Credit to top up new-style ESA and if you are already in receipt of Universal Credit and have been made redundant, you will need to write on your journal that you want to claim or have claimed 'new-style employment and support allowance'.
WARNING: If you are currently receiving a legacy benefit - Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance, Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit or Housing Benefit, always seek independent advice before making a claim for Universal Credit. This is because:
- no new claims for legacy benefits (except Housing Benefit for some temporary or supported accommodation) can be made after 27 January 2021.
- as soon as you submit a claim for Universal Credit any entitlement to legacy benefits ceases. You will not be able to re-claim tax credits, even if you are not entitled to a payment of Universal Credit. This will be especially important if your redundancy payment means that your savings will be more than £16,000 as you will not be entitled to Universal Credit, but may continue to be entitled to Tax Credits depending on your circumstances. Statutory and contractual redundancy payments are treated as capital for Universal Credit.
People who are of working age (18 to pension age) and need to claim a means-tested benefit (entitlement will depend on your capital and/or income of you and your partner) for the first time will now have to claim Universal Credit.
You may still be owed wages or holiday pay, if this is the case please seek advice on the best time to make your Universal Credit claim.
If you are a couple and one of you is over state pension age and one of you is under state pension age in benefit terms this means you are a mixed aged couple - this means you are usually unable to claim Pension Credit and may need to claim Universal Credit - please seek advice first.
To qualify you (and your partner if you have one) must have less than £16,000 in capital and meet the means test. The amount you are entitled to will differ depending on your personal circumstances and what other income or earnings you have coming in and the amount of savings you have between £6,000 and £16,000.
All Universal Credit claimants and their partners must have a claimant commitment which will outline their work requirements in order to receive this benefit. Universal Credit can be the only income you have coming in or top up other income (eg new-style JSA) to the level that the Government says that you need to live on.
To qualify for Universal Credit or New-style Jobseeker's Allowance your jobseekers agreement / claimant commitment will outline your work related requirements; these include Work Focused Interviews; Work Preparation; Work Search and Work Availability. Failing to comply with your work related requirements can result in your benefit being sanctioned. Claimants and their partners may be subject to needing to look for work, work focused interviews and work preparation requirements, the level of requirements depend on your individual circumstances, however these requirements can still be currently limited due to coronavirus.
Most face to face appointments will remain suspended and contact will still be mainly via telephone; email or through your online journals. The DWP have employed additional work coaches to assist new claimants to return to work.
Council Tax Reduction
If you have been made redundant you may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction to help you pay your Council Tax. How much you may get will depend on your income and circumstances. You can make a claim online. If you are already in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and your income or circumstances have changed please report the change online or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are already in receipt of Housing benefit and your income has changed because you have been made redundant please report the change online or email email@example.com. A new claim for Housing Benefit can be accepted in limited circumstances, but only if you (and your partner if you have one) were over state pension age on 15/05/19 and the older partner already in receipt of Housing Benefit in their own name or Pension Credit, or you are living in specific types of temporary or supported accommodation. More information on Housing Benefit.