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Make a Plan

I’m Being Retrenched. Now What?

Life is unpredictable. Retrenchment could happen to anyone, and when it does, it can feel like your world has been turned upside down.

The important thing to remember is that more often than not, being retrenched is not a reflection of who you are as a person or how well you do your job. Fluctuations in the market, a poorly performing economy, financial difficulty, restructuring, and our current global crisis are just some of the reasons you could find yourself out of work.

Staying positive may seem easier said than done, but the fact is that many people make a strong comeback after retrenchment, often unlocking new opportunities they’d never considered before.

If you’re being retrenched, here’s what you can do now to empower yourself:

1. Stay calm 

Being retrenched can be a frightening experience, but now is not the time to burn your bridges. Your next employer might know your ex-employer, and so on. So always stay professional, keep a clear head and focus on what’s important, which is to understand your rights, get what you’re owed, and make plans for your future.

In addition, employers are obliged to see if there are other placements available in the business before retrenching you. Ask HR what else is available, and remember that burning bridges now could reduce your chances of being successfully placed elsewhere in the company if there are appropriate openings.    

2. Claim for UIF  

If UIF was deducted from your pay while you were working – this would be reflected on your payslip – you’re entitled to claim unemployment insurance. Find out more about this process and download the required documents as soon as possible. In most instances, you’ll be eligible for assistance for up to 12 months, or until you find other employment. Ensure you’ve got the right paperwork completed to claim UIF before your employment comes to an end with your current employer.

3. Let credit providers know  

Contact creditors immediately after you’ve been retrenched to inform them of your situation. Many credit arrangements have retrenchment insurance clauses that could help pay some of your debt while you look for new employment. But don’t wait until a debit order bounces – many insurance policies automatically lapse if your account falls into arrears.

Worried about your repayments on any DirectAxis loans? Contact us to talk to an advisor, who can help discuss your repayment options.

4. Plan your way forward

The sooner you put a plan in place, the better off you’ll be mentally and financially. Draw up a timeline for tying up loose ends with your previous employer, claiming UIF and sorting out your financial agreements with creditors. Next, make a new budgetthat suits your current financial reality, and stick to it. Once you’re back on your feet, you can enjoy those small luxuries again.    

5. Set yourself up for success

Finding a new job can be daunting, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had to apply. But if you’ve got your documents and online profile in order, there’s a good chance a job could find you. The internet is full of useful tips on how to make your CV and cover letter stand out, and being more active on a networking site like LinkedIn and on job boards will help increase your chances. Get busy and keep at it every day until you succeed.

According to, recruiters spend approximately 11 seconds or less on each CV, so it’s critical that your most recent and compelling experience is up-front. Avoid CVs of more than 2 pages'.

The same research also suggests that 93% of recruiters look at a candidate’s social media profile, with hiring via LinkedIn becoming increasingly common. Do a quick audit of all your profiles – even your personal ones – to ensure any publicly visible posts and images are professional. That includes your WhatsApp picture and status updates.

6. Stay strong  

We tend to tie our self-worth to our work. Our professional and personal lives co-exist in a delicate balance, and when facing retrenchment, it’s easy to let negative thoughts take hold. The truth is there’s more to you than your job, and you’re tougher than you think. Take care of your mental and physical health, keep your head up and look forward to new opportunities.

Being retrenched is not the end. And if you can start by seeing yourself as self-employed rather than unemployed, you’ve already set yourself up for greater things ahead.  

In need of guidance? Speak to a counsellor from LifeLine or FAMSA if you’re struggling with the worries of being retrenched.

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