What To Do If You’ve Been Retrenched

Female employee receiving a letter of retrenchment while seated at her desk.

Retrenchment is one of the most difficult things that anybody can experience. The reality is that many South Africans are facing possible retrenchment, or they have already been impacted by retrenchment. Losing your job can be an incredibly scary and overwhelming time. It impacts us financially, emotionally, and mentally too. If you find yourself in this position, then you need to know which steps to take to navigate this difficult time.

Understand Your Rights

You need to understand your rights as an employee when you get retrenched. South African Labour Law provides protection and entitlements to employees that are retrenched. Some of these entitlements include a severance package, notice pay, and possibly a payout for unused leave days. You may also be entitled to receive money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Seek Professional Advice

If you aren’t sure of what your rights are or what you are entitled to, then it’s vital t to seek professional help. Consider contacting a labour lawyer or a union representative (if you are a member of a union) for advice and guidance. They will be able to determine if your employer followed the correct procedures in the retrenchment process and they can also advise if you were offered a fair severance package.

Review and Analyse Your Finances

When you lose your job, you lose your primary source of income. During this time, it’s critical to review your financial position and see where you can reduce some of your expenses. You may need to make some lifestyle changes and some difficult financial decisions such as selling some assets and downsizing your home. Wherever you think you can reduce expenses, you will need to make changes.

New Employment Opportunities

The quicker you start looking for a new job after being retrenched, the better. Yes, you will be entitled to a severance package, but once you have been notified that you are going to be retrenched, it’s vital to start your job search. Update your CV/resume, update your LinkedIn profile, and start networking with industry professionals. Try working with recruiters and ensure that you are looking at various job boards.

Consider Re-Skilling

If you are struggling to find a new job, then you may want to consider re-skilling or upskilling to find new employment opportunities. There have been so many new careers and jobs that have emerged in recent years – many people are having to re-skill to ensure that they have skills that are in demand and transferrable. There are many online courses and free resources for you to develop new skills and build your existing skills.

Seek Emotional Support

Retrenchment can have a massive impact on your emotional well-being. It’s necessary to seek emotional support from friends, family, and a therapist. Speaking about what you are feeling and experiencing can help you cope with retrenchment and all the stress and anxiety that comes along with it. Retrenchment is challenging and can impact so many aspects of your life. It’s not easy, but you need to remember that you are not alone and that there are many resources available to help you navigate this trying time. If you would like to be prepared for retrenchment, then we have a Retrenchment Webinar where we will go into more detail about how to best navigate retrenchment.

IIY’s Surviving for Retrenchment webinar:

Date: Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Time: 12:00 to 13:00 and 18:00 to 19:00
Duration: 1 hour
Location: Online
R395.00 (Early Bird: R276)

Click here to buy your ticket and for more information about the webinar content.

Click here to register

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