I hope this helps anyone out there who is unfortunate to lose their job, even I found it useful even though I'm still working (touch wood).
1. DON'T PANIC
If you have been made redundant, then remember that chances are it wasn't your fault. The current financial crisis is a global event. You are not alone. Stay positive and don't wallow in your situation. It is time to dust yourself off, regroup, think about what you really want to do with your life and realise that, even though it probably doesn't feel like it now, this could really be a blessing in disguise.
2. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Your employers have to follow stringent guidelines when making any redundancies. First of all, they need to give you a written explanation of why you are losing your job. They are also required to prove that the decision was taken objectively and not because of factors like age or gender. They should also try to find you another position in the company if possible.
It is likely that you should be due some compensation. You will only receive redundancy pay if you have worked at the organisation for more than two years but any less than this and you will still be entitled to notice pay (a week's wages for every year you have been in your job). If you are eligible for redundancy pay, then your employer needs to provide you with a written explanation of how the final amount was calculated.
The amount you receive depends on your age and the number of years with your employer. You can work out how much you are due by using the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform's (DBERR) Ready Reckoner.
And don't forget any unused annual leave - you should be paid for this too.
If, however, you feel that you have been treated unfairly and you want to contest your employer's decision, then you need to act within six months of the initial notice of redundancy. You can take your case to an employment tribunal by filling in form IT1, which you can get from the DBERR by calling 0845 145 0004.
3. PLAN YOUR FINANCES
Now that you can no longer rely on your regular salary payments, it is even more important then ever to manage your finances sensibly. If you do receive a decent redundancy payment or you have some savings, think carefully about how you want to use them. You might want to pay down some debt, such as credit cards or other expensive personal loans. For advice on managing your debt, go to Moneyfacts.co.uk. You should also check whether any of your loans came with payment protection insurance to cover the repayments while you search for your new job.
4. BE HONEST WITH PEOPLE
While it is scary to suddenly find yourself out of work and potentially unable to meet your mortgage, credit card or other repayments, the worst thing you can do is not tell anyone. Your lender may actually be able to help you, so long as you tell them as soon as you can. Chances are they will offer you a three-month (possibly longer) freeze on payments. Energy providers also have such provisions in place to help customers.
5. CUT OUT LUXURIES
Gym memberships, subscriptions to satellite television or any other regular payments soon add up and you will need this money to live on.
6. FIND NEW SOURCES OF INCOME
Like most people who are made redundant, you will want to find a new job as quickly as possible. Until then, however, there may be alternative income streams that could help you in the short-term. You could, for example, be one of the many people who the National Audit Office believes is owed a tax rebate. There are 30 million people in the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system in which HM Revenue & Customs automatically deducts tax from employees' salaries and it is only natural that some of them regularly contribute too much.
It could be that you were placed on an emergency tax code when you started your job, in which case your employer or, if the tax year ended before you got your proper code, the Tax Office should have paid you back. Make sure you receive a form P45 when you leave your organisation. If you do not go straight in to another job and don't start claiming unemployment benefit then you could be entitled to a tax rebate.
If this applies to you, ask your Tax Office for a form P50 after a month of leaving your job and return it to them with your P45 if you have it and you will receive any repayment within 28 days. If you are think you could have paid too much tax, then go to http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/incometax/index.htm
to find out how to claim it back.
7. CLAIM WHAT YOU ARE DUE
There is still a certain stigma attached to claiming benefits, but don't let your pride stand in the way of any payments you are entitled to. Jobseeker's Allowance is £60.50 a week (if you are over 25) for a single person and £94.95 for a couple. Be aware however that if you have capital that exceeds £16,000 you will not be able to claim.
You can also claim council tax benefit or housing benefit if you rent. For a full breakdown of how the benefits system works, visit the Department for Work and Pensions website.
8. REVAMP YOUR CV
Have a good think about everything you have achieved and make sure anything worthwhile ends up on the page. Be concise and keep your CV to two pages and remember that you are selling yourself, so do not be bashful. For more advice on writing your CV, go to careersadvice.direct.gov.uk
9. UPGRADE YOUR SKILLS
While there is probably little or nothing you could have done to avoid losing your job, there is plenty you can do to help you get a new one. Retraining or improving your skill set it one of them and this is one of the best ways to spend your free time as you search for a new job. Be sure that you know what it is that you want to do - it may be that you want to go in a totally new direction. Your local university or college may offer courses that interest you, so contact them directly or go to direct.gov.uk for a list of available courses.
10. SEE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY
Finally, it is important that you think of redundancy as an opportunity rather than a disaster or a failure on your part. It may have been the case that you did not like your job anyway but perhaps lacked the confidence to make the change you always wanted. Now that the decision has been forced upon you, you can now potentially do anything you want. Start your own business, work abroad, go back to university or start again.