In today’s uncertain economic climate, redundancy has become an increasingly common phenomenon. Redundancy occurs when a company no longer needs an employee’s job to be done, usually because there is not enough work to sustain the position. This can be a painful experience both for employers and employees, as it can lead to financial hardship and emotional stress.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk), the number of redundancies in the UK rose sharply in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March and September 2020, the number of redundancies reached record levels, with 314,000 redundancies in the three months to September 2020. This represents an increase of 181,000 on the same period of the previous year. The pandemic has also disproportionately affected certain sectors, such as hospitality and retail, leading to higher redundancy rates amongst such workers.
From the employer’s perspective, redundancy can be seen as a necessary evil, as it allows companies to cut costs and remain competitive in a challenging economic environment. However, it is important for employers to approach redundancy in a responsible and compassionate way. This means providing support and guidance to employees throughout the redundancy process, offering alternative roles and training opportunities where possible, and ensuring that the redundancy is carried out fairly and transparently.
From the employee’s perspective, redundancy can be a devastating experience, leading to financial insecurity and loss of identity. However, it can also be an opportunity for growth and reinvention. This might involve taking on a new career path, retraining or starting a business. It is important for employees to remain positive and proactive during this time, seeking support from friends, family and professional networks.
Whatever your perspective, redundancy is undoubtedly a challenging and complex issue that requires careful consideration and planning. By approaching redundancy with empathy, compassion and a commitment to fairness and transparency, we can minimise its negative impacts and support employees through this difficult time.
* Redundancies – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk): <https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/redundanciesintheuk/octtodec2020>