Dealing with redundancy

Surplus to requirements: redundancy can be devastating, but there are ways to make it easierBEING made involuntarily redundant never feels good but, sadly, it is a fact of life.

Airlines, operators, multiples, miniples and independent travel companies cut costs in the blink of an eye and we have all become used to seeing the headlines about staff cutbacks.

But what if you are one of the figures behind those headlines?

Executive Search managing director Gail Kenny has found new jobs for many people who have been made redundant and believes it’s about being resilient.

She said: “How the news is received depends greatly on the type of person, and also the circumstances.

“Some people see redundancy as the career kick-start they needed. Others take a philosophical approach and rationalise the business logic to the decision. By doing this they can de-personalise it, and be far less negative.

“On the other hand some people take it very personally, and are unable to emotionally detach themselves from the business decision.

“Again it can depend on circumstances – if it is a one-off redundancy then it takes a very confident and resilient person not to take it badly and personally.

“But if there is major restructuring in a business and whole divisions or departments are made redundant then people can more easily detach from their own individual experience.”

Case study

Richard Carrick was made redundant from MyTravel in 2002.

Whatever the circumstances of your redundancy, it’s a shock to your system – whether you were expecting the news or not.

But you have got choices about how you deal with it and it was my attitude to make the best of the situation.

I decided to use what had happened to take stock of who I was, what I was doing and what I wanted to do.

For the vast majority of people, they live the life they do because of the job they have and this gives them the chance to change all of that if they want to.

I know that’s easily said and I know people who have sunk under the responsibility of all that.

You go through life and get job offers and different opportunities but there are always 101 reasons why you can’t go ahead with them until you are made redundant and then suddenly possibilities seem to open up.

I took six months to take stock and look at different possibilities before my next position.

I do know this – the vast majority of people I know who have been made redundant will tell you that looking back it was a positive experience and they haven’t looked back since. It can be very hard at the time but it always seems to have a positive ending.

People may look at me and think: “It’s OK for him” but I went through some sleepless nights deciding on my next move as it meant moving my daughter out of her school at an important time. But it worked out in the end so it was a good move.

And it’s worth remembering that there are far more opportunities available than there were in the past, so your next job might see you in a far more flexible role.

I employ people who do not need to be in the office every day and can enjoy a good balance. See your redundancy as a chance to do something better than before.

What are your rights?


If you have at least two years’ service and are aged 18-65, you are entitled to payment. There is a statutory scheme, based on age and length of service. However, your employer may have agreed a better scheme, in which case details will be in your contract of employment.

The statutory scheme entitles you to half a week’s pay for every year of service if you are between 18 and 21 years old, one week’s pay for every year of service if you are between 22 and 40 and one and a half week’s pay for every year of service between 41 and 64.

There is a limit to a week’s pay for statutory redundancy purposes, currently £280, and a limit of 20 years’ entitlement. This means that the maximum payment under the statutory scheme is currently £8,400 – i.e. 20 years at one and a half weeks at £280.

Alternative job offer

You may be offered another job after being made redundant and it may mean that if you turn it down you are not legally redundant. If your employer does this, it must offer the job before your current role expires and it must start within four weeks.

If you are offered another job, you can turn it down without jeopardising redundancy pay if it isn’t suitable for your skills. If you aren’t sure, you can try the new job out for a trial four-week period. If at the end of the trial period you are still in the new job, you lose any rights to a redundancy payment because in law you have accepted the new job.

If you turn down the new job inside the trial period because it is unsuitable, your redundancy will be considered to have started the day your old job ended. If there is a disagreement between you and your employer about the new job’s suitability, you may have to go to an Employment Tribunal.

See more workplace news and features from Travel Weekly
more about redundancy on the Department of Trade and Industry website


For jobs in the travel industry see our travel jobs section or visit our partner, for travel and tourism industry vacancies with some of the UK’s largest companies   

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