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Preparing for after redundancy

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

Before you’re made redundant, you might be entitled to some help finding a new job, like time off for interviews.

Money might be tight for a while so you should also get advice on managing any debts you have and check if you’re entitled to any benefits.

Taking time off to look for work

If you’ve worked for your employer for 2 years at the end of your notice period, you’re entitled to time off to apply for jobs or go on training.

You can take the time off at any time in normal working hours. Your employer can’t ask you to rearrange your work hours to make up the time off.

You won’t get this time off if you’re in the police or armed forces, or you work on a fishing boat and get paid a share of its profits.

How much time off you can take

When taking time off to look for work, you’ll be paid at your normal hourly rate, but only for up to 40% of a week’s work. For example you could be paid at your normal hourly rate for up to 2 days if you work 5 days a week.

You can take 'reasonable' time off once your employer has given you a date for when your employment will end.  

What’s reasonable depends on:

  • how long your notice period is
  • whether your employer can run the business without you
  • how far you have to travel to find work
  • whether your contract says how many days you get

Ask your employer before you take any time off. Try to give them as much notice as possible and tell them what you need the time for - for example a job interview. Giving notice and a reason will make your employer more likely to agree.

Your employer might agree to you taking more time off, but you won’t be paid for it unless your employer agrees or your contract says you have a right to more paid time off.

If your employer won’t give you paid time off to look for work

Start by talking to your employer if they refuse to pay you for time off to look for work. You could speak to your human resources (HR) department, if there is one.

Not all employers know about this right - they might change their mind if you explain the law to them or show them online information on your rights (for example, the LRA guide to redundancy ).

If talking to your employer doesn’t help, you can take your employer to a tribunal.

Before you decide to take a case to a tribunal, you can contact the Labour Relations Agency, who offer a free and confidential conciliation service. 

They’ll see if your employer will agree to a process called ‘pre-claim conciliation’ - a way to resolve disputes without going to a tribunal.
Call the LRA Conciliation and Arbitration Department on 028 9032 1442.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice as soon as possible if you need help, as there’s a tight deadline for taking action.

Check you got all the money you’re entitled to

When you get your final pay, you should check you got:

  • any redundancy pay you’re entitled to (or you’ve been told when you’ll get it)

  • your last wages/salary

  • any ‘pay in lieu’ if you’re not working your full notice

  • any holiday pay you’re entitled to

  • any outstanding bonus, commission or expenses you’re entitled to

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if there’s a problem with your final pay - you may have to make a claim to an employment tribunal to get the money you’re owed.

Check if you have to pay tax on your redundancy pay

The first £30,000 of your redundancy pay is tax free.

For any redundancy pay over £30,000, your employer will take the tax from your redundancy pay at your normal tax rate.

However, if your employer pays you your final pay after you leave your job, they’ll take the tax from your redundancy pay at the basic rate of 20%. If you pay a higher tax rate, you need to call HMRC to arrange to pay the extra tax.

Your notice pay is normally taxed as your normal pay would be, unless:

  • you’re dismissed without notice and are given a lump sum instead of a notice period

  • your contract doesn’t say your employer can give you a lump sum instead of actual notice

If you think your employer has deducted tax when they shouldn't have, you should contact HMRC.

HM Revenue and Customs Taxes Helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3300
Textphone: 0300 200 3319
Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm; Saturday from 8am to 4pm

Claiming benefits

You might be able to claim some benefits while you’re looking for a new job.

For example, you might be able to get:

  • Housing Benefit to help pay your rent

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit

  • Working Tax Credits (or a higher amount if you get them already)

Use our benefits checker to see what benefits you may be entitled to.

Help paying your rent or mortgage

You might be able to claim housing benefit to help pay your rent - use our benefits checker to see what benefits you may be entitled to.


If you have a mortgage, check your mortgage protection policy to see what it says about redundancy. You might get some money towards your mortgage while you look for a new job.

For more information about help with mortgage costs and mortgage arrears, see How to sort out your mortgage problems.

Get advice about any debts

You should get advice about any debts you have already - read about how to get help with your debts.

If you’re worried about getting into debt after your redundancy, use our budgeting tool to see exactly where your money goes each month.

If you’ve bought something on credit, check whether you've got a payment protection insurance policy that will pay off the credit because you’ve been made redundant.

Get independent financial advice

If you got redundancy pay, you might want to speak to an independent financial adviser about what to do with it.  For example, you might choose to put it in a high-interest account or invest it.

You can find an independent financial adviser through:

Independent Financial Promotions (IFAP)
Website: www.unbiased.co.uk

Personal Finance Society (PFS)
Email: customer.serv@thepfs.org
Website: www.findanadviser.org

Making a career change

You can get advice from Careers Service if you want to get a new qualification or make a career change, like starting your own business.

Careers Service
Website: www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/how-careers-service-can-help-you
Telephone: 0300 200 7820
Online webchat: www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/chat-with-a-careers-adviser
Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday 

You might be able to get help paying for training and qualifications. Read more about:

Ongoing support

Redundancy can often take more of an emotional toll than people expect, especially if the consultation and selection process has taken a while.

If you’re finding the redundancy process difficult, check any paperwork you were given as part of your redundancy package to see if you’re entitled to any ongoing support.

For example, some organisations provide a free helpline number for people to talk about their redundancy or any other personal issues.

Your employer might also pay for you to  speak to a professional adviser about your CV, as part of your redundancy package.

You could also contact an organisation called Working Transitions, which offers something called ‘outplacement’ support to help you with applying for and finding a new role. They also provide mentoring and training.

Working Transitions
Website: www.workingtransitions.com/outplacement
Telephone: 01604 744101

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