What to do if you are retrenched

25 September 2015

Times are tough, and many companies are retrenching people as they cannot afford to keep them on. “Retrenchment can happen when you least expect it, and this can have a big impact on your financial situation. It is a good idea to be prepared for the worst case scenario, to ensure that you can survive financially should you be retrenched,” said Ian Wason CEO of DebtBusters, South Africa’s largest debt counsellor.

If you or someone you know has been retrenched, here are some tips to help you manage your new financial situation.

Contact your creditors immediately:

The moment that you have been retrenched, you should contact your creditors to inform them about your change in situation, as this will have an impact on your ability to pay back your loans.

Check to see if you have retrenchment cover:

This may take the shape of credit life insurance or another policy, which will assist in covering the cost of your debt while you are unemployed. Generally retrenchment insurance products will pay out for up to six months after you have been retrenched.

Claim on credit life insurance:

If you have taken out a long or short term loan, chances are that you have credit life insurance. “Many people are not aware that all unsecured loans come with credit life insurance. This is to cover the value of the debt you owe should you pass away, or assist in paying off your debt if you are retrenched or disabled,” explained Wason.

If you happen to lose your job due to retrenchment, then the policy will pay you out for up to six months, to help cover your loan repayments. However, each policy is different in the amount it will pay out, and you should check with your credit provider as to the terms of the cover.

Claim UIF:

If you contributed towards UIF while you were working (this will appear as a deduction on your pay slip), you are entitled to claim unemployment should you be retrenched.

“If you are going to claim UIF, you are required to apply for the benefit within six months of losing your job. The benefit will continue to pay out either until you run out of benefits, or you find employment,” said Wason.

Manage your finances:

It is important to have a budget no matter your financial situation, however, it becomes more so if you are retrenched. “If you have been retrenched it is important to be moneywise. Sit down with your family and discuss your financial situation. Draw up a list of expenses that you can cut-out, and areas where you can cut-back. It is important that the entire family understands that money may be tight and you may have to do without certain luxuries,” noted Wason.

Change your bank account:

If you have a bundled bank account, it gives you the benefit of a number of transactions and services included in the monthly service fee, however, this can be costly. To save money on your banking when you are retrenched, change to a pay-as-you-transact account, where you only pay for the transactions you make, and not services that you don’t make use of and do not need.

While it may not be a topic that may people want to dwell on, it is important to be prepared for the worst. “Having a sound financial plan and budget is an important part of money management no matter your financial situation. By knowing what insurance policies you have and when they pay-out it will help ease the burden when an unforeseen event, such as being retrenched, comes around,” concluded Wason.

  • Debtfree Digi

    Good Advise. I find that getting info about retrenchment cover (which is vital and can help sooooo mush) is not easy.