Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 03:47 pm

Facing retrenchment or being retrenched is a stressful time. It is uncharted territory for most people and you may feel vulnerable because you do not know what options are open and available to you

Speaking to a legal expert can help you, but there are some other steps you can take to ensure the process is not a difficult one.

Sign up for retrenchment insurance

Ideally, you would sign up for retrenchment insurance before you are retrenched. This is a form of insurance which can be used to repay any and all debts that you might have outstanding in the event of the loss of your job. Not having this insurance can be hugely detrimental during such a stressful time.

Generally, retrenchment insurance products will pay out for up to six months after you have been retrenched.

This can help you while you look for more work while unemployed, allowing your family to ease into the transition of your retrenchment. Your debts will be covered until you find work, and you must notify your credit life insurance provider of your new employment.

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If you are in a highly volatile industry with a high staff turnover, it is wise to take out personal retrenchment insurance with a credit provider of choice, rather than using the one that your company provides.

Contact your creditors immediately

The moment you are retrenched, you will need to contact your creditors and alert them to this fact. You will need to tell them the details of your retrenchment, as this will have an impact on your ability to repay any loans, mortgages or car finance.

Your creditors should be able to create a plan that allows you to pay a lower premium for the duration of your unemployment. If you have retrenchment insurance, your debts will be paid off to your creditors as soon as your retrenchment is final. Speaking to your creditors will help to ease the situation, as they will be able to give you advice on how to repay the debt you owe.

Claim UIF

If you contributed at all to an unemployment insurance fund (UIF) during your time at your company, you are entitled to claim unemployment, if you are retrenched. If you are not sure whether or not you were contributing, look at your last payslip to find the monthly UIF deduction.

If you are planning on applying for UIF, then you will need to apply within six months of your retrenchment.

The benefit will continue to pay out either until you run out of benefits or until you find other employment. Speak to your HR department to find out how you can apply, and how much in terms of benefits you will be receiving.

Don’t burn your bridges

You might feel inclined to march into your boss’s office and give them a piece of your mind after reading your retrenchment letter, but it is best to avoid doing this. It can be an emotional and scary time, but burning your bridges might make it difficult to find another job. Remember, you will need a reference from your boss for any position you apply for.

You should handle the situation professionally and calmly, even though this might be difficult at first.

Speak to your employer about the reasons behind your retrenchment and make sure that you leave on amicable terms. Let your colleagues know you will be leaving, especially if there is anyone who you help with clients or if you do reports for departments on their client’s campaigns.

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Know your rights

If you feel as though you are being unfairly retrenched, you can take this up with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). You will need to speak to a legal professional about your rights and how to handle the situation.

Should you accept the retrenchment, you still need to ensure that you are paid what you are owed

Should you accept the retrenchment, you still need to ensure that you are paid what you are owed. The retrenchment package should be reasonably explained and you will need to spend time with the HR department to speak about any overtime pay and samples of your work for your portfolio. Be sure to get all questions answered in writing before you leave the office.

Adjust your budget

Being retrenched is not only an emotional blow, but a financial one too. This means that you will need to adjust your budget accordingly, which could lead to some difficult lifestyle changes. Sit down with your family and discuss your financial situation.

Draw up a list of expenses that you can cut out altogether, and areas in which you could easily cut back.

Expenses to cut out could include decor items, fashion accessories, beauty treatments and products, eating meals out, movies and entertainment and buying luxury groceries and ready-made meals. Expenses to cut back on could include car use, and you could shop at more affordable stores.

It is important that your family understands that they will have to make compromises and sacrifices during this difficult time.

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