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Help if you are made redundant (COVID 19)

Due to coronavirus, the current economic slow-down and the Job Retention Scheme from the start of August requiring employers to contribute more each month until the end of October to employees' wages, more people in Swansea are at risk of redundancy.

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:

Redundancy rights

Comprehensive details of your redundancy rights is provided by ACAS: 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: 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

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 - www.careerswales.gov.wales/courses-and-training/funding-your-studies/redundancy-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: 
www.youtu.be/kph_mgsPeXI

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 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 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. Being automatically entitled to ESA due to having a shielding letter from the Welsh Government no longer applies from 16 August. 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'.

Universal Credit

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 (or re-claims) for legacy benefits (except Housing Benefit for some temporary or supported accommodation) can be made unless you meet the SDP (severe disability premium) gateway conditions. This is a complex area but if you have been in receipt of another legacy benefit within the last month and the way this benefit was made up included 'the Severe Disability Premium' and you continue to qualify for it you will not be able to claim Universal Credit. This is the only group of people who can now make a claim for legacy benefits. 
  • 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. 

The Government have announced that once you have made a claim online, if they need any further information to process your claim, they will either request this via your online journal or call you. You do not have to call them. This will end when the local Jobcentres fully reopen.

Work-related requirements

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 are due to employ 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 benefits@swansea.gov.uk.

Housing Benefit 

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 benefits@swansea.gov.uk. A new claim for Housing Benefit can be accepted in limited circumstances. More information on Housing Benefit

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