What to do in the first 24 hours after you’ve lost your job

You might feel emotional after losing your job. That’s a totally natural reaction. You might be tempted to immediately rush to taking action, for instance:

  • writing an angry email to your boss
  • putting an angry message on social media
  • going on a shopping spree to make yourself feel better
  • immediately applying for other jobs
  • deleting everything related to your previous job because you’re angry or you want to move on
  • ignoring everything because you’re feeling embarrassed and feel as if you can’t face anything right then.

While these reactions are completely normal, here’s what you should do instead to help out your future self.

Look after your wellbeing

It’s ok to feel downtrodden, angry and overwhelmed if you have just lost your job. During the first 24 hours, allow yourself some time to feel these emotions and talk the situation through with family and friends. You’ll need the support of loved ones to get you through this time, as you’ll probably find that this helps you validate your feelings and will hopefully help keep your mind clear.

It’s probably best not to immediately rush to any action against your old employer, like going straight to the Employment Tribunal. There’s lots of different ways to move forward on a work-related issue. You want to keep your options open and make sure you are choosing the best decision for yourself. Use your support network to help formulate your strategy.

You might find that, on reflection, you’re glad to be rid of a bad job and ready to take action to move your life forward.

Figure out your financial position

Look into your finances

Plan how you are going to cover your finances when you don’t have a job. For example, check if there are any benefits that you might be entitled to. Citizens Advice has some suggestions of benefits calculators you could use.

Be aware that there are some rules around benefits being delayed or stopped if you are dismissed for misconduct. This is called a benefit sanction and the rules around this are quite complicated. If you’re worried that this might happen to you, get in touch with Citizens Advice to find out what to do in this situation.

Make a note to check your payslip

Ensure that you’ve been paid everything you’re entitled to by your employer. This includes:

  • pay for any accrued holiday you haven’t taken
  • wages/salary for time you have worked
  • notice pay
  • redundancy pay
  • bonus
  • commission
  • expenses
  • other benefits such as gym subsidy or use of company property.

You may not get your payslip until your normal pay date, but make sure you make a note to check your payslip when it arrives. You can use the ‘Task list’ in Valla to remind yourself to do this, or chase for your payslip if it hasn’t arrived by then.

Do some maths

The bottom line is, without the income from your job coming in, you need to do the maths to see what your next steps will be. Think about the following questions.

  • Where do you see yourself in a few months’ time?
  • Will you be able to get a new job with a similar amount of pay?
  • What are your total loss of earnings - past and future?
  • Is it significant enough that it’s worth making an Employment Tribunal claim to cover some of your losses?
  • Do you think your employer might agree to a deal to pay you a sum to tide you over, in return for you dropping a potential claim?
  • If you are thinking of settling, read more about how much to settle for.

Understand your legal options

Research if it’s unlawful

If your dismissal was unfair or otherwise unlawful, you might be able to take your employer to an Employment Tribunal. Read our article on your rights if you’ve been dismissed here.

Use the Valla ‘Legal Research’ page to take notes on your case. 

Claim deadline

Be mindful of the time limits on your rights. If you think you might want to take legal action, there are strict deadlines in place. Read more about the deadlines here.

Figure out your case strategy

It’s super important to start thinking about your case strategy as soon as you can. This could be one or more of the following:

  • move on and get a new job
  • enter settlement negotiations
  • make a DSAR using Valla's free letter template available on the 'Action kit'
  • appeal your dismissal or redundancy
  • make a Tribunal claim.

You can use the ‘Goal’ page in Valla to help you figure out your case strategy.

Sketch out a plan for the next week

If you’ve done the above steps, you’re doing great! The key to being successful with dealing with an employment problem is good project management. Read more about that here.

Start by thinking about your first week and how to best utilise your time.

Write everything down

A very time-critical task that you should be undertaking now is to write down everything that has happened to you. This will help with:

  • putting together your evidence if you need it for a Tribunal claim, dismissal appeal or settlement negotiation
  • organising your own record of what happened to help you decide what to do next
  • seeing if there are any “gaps” where you need to request documentation to find out what happened.

Do it as soon as you can because you’ll remember more and the notes will be more persuasive as evidence. You can use Valla’s ‘My Story’ feature to do this.

Collate important documents

If you still have access to the organisation’s systems, then send yourself copies of the documents you need. You can upload them onto Valla on the ‘Documents’ page. There is a bulk upload feature to do this more quickly. If you have time, start to organise them.

Start thinking about a new job

It’s a good idea to start looking for a new job, if the time is right and you are well enough to do so. Having a new job is a quick way of giving you purpose. Of course, having some income will help deal with financial worries, and the right job can help you bounce back from a bad situation.

If you are looking to move forward with your employment issue, getting a new job may help support your case. The Tribunal will look for evidence of ‘mitigation of loss’ - that you tried to look for a new job to reduce your loss of earnings. You’ll need to provide documentary evidence of this (for example, copies of job applications).

Use Valla to get started with your employment issue

Those first 24 hours after you have lost your job can be a challenge, but make a start on each of the steps above and you’ll be well on your way to getting yourself back on track!

With Valla, you can immediately plan your next steps to start your case today. It helps you easily manage all aspects of your case. You can also share your case with friends, family, or trusted advisors.

Sign up for your free, secure account here.

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