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Redundancy: Facing potential job loss

Losing your job is a life shake-up. In uncertain economic and financial environments, job loss can be a common occurrence but that doesn’t make it any easier. Factors such as a fluctuating economy, advances in technology and innovative disrupters can all influence job security. For many of us job loss is accompanied with loss of daily routines, our professional identity and, most worryingly, our regular income.

It’s an emotional and upsetting time which is why we’re here to support you through the financial impact. 

Causes of unemployment

Understanding some of the causes of unemployment can be important for making sense of your situation. Redundancy can occur when an employer becomes bankrupt, or no longer needs the specific role the employee fills. Redundancy can often be part of cost cutting measures and restructures in a business. An example of this could be when two companies merge, and certain roles are duplicated. In such a situation, one of the duplicate roles may become redundant. A higher risk may exist for casual employees during times of economic instability.

Redundancy notice periods may begin at one week, for those who have been working at a company for a year or less, and stretch to four weeks, for those who’ve been employed longer than five years. You may also be entitled to redundancy pay. Check out the Fairwork website to understand your rights in this situation as employees are generally protected from unfair dismissal under the Fair Work Act 2009. Understanding your redundancy entitlements and the National Employment Standards will help you avoid being treated unfairly if you are facing potential job loss.


Perhaps you have been asked or have taken the step to move from full-time to part-time work. The transition will come with changes both to your work routine and most significantly your finances. Being prepared to deal with the financial impacts of redundancy or a change in hours worked is important, which is why you need to look at your savings and spending. Once you’ve ensured you’re as financially secure as possible you can focus on finding a new job or more work.

Can I get Centrelink?

If you’re wondering how to get Centrelink to help support you financially during this time, the easiest way to do this is online:

  • Step 1: Organise your myGov account
  • Step 2: Gather all necessary documents
  • Step 3: Log in to myGov, click on the Centrelink option and follow the prompts to make a claim
  • Step 4: Track the progress of your claim through your myGov login

Make sure to check the Centrelink website first for any updates on accessing payments and the changing requirements.

Thinking about your finances

We can work with you to help manage your spending and saving. Our helpful budget planner (PDF 718KB) takes you through a simple step-by-step process to help establish a budget that suits you, and supports you to achieve better financial security. We also have a cost-cutting checklist (PDF 191KB) which may help you identify ways to reduce the financial impact.

If you’re struggling to make repayments on debts with us, such as your mortgage or a personal loan contact Westpac Assist - 1800 067 497 or apply for assistance online.

Setting a budget and minimising expenses

Thinking about what you can and can’t afford after job loss is a necessary consideration to secure your finances. A budget worksheet maps out your current expenses against your savings. It can indicate how long you can afford to remain unemployed, as well as what expenses you should cut, and where you can make changes to your spending.

For example, can you cut streaming service subscriptions? Or, maybe it’s time to consider a better mobile plan that reflects your current usage?

If you’re wondering what to do when you lose your job, we're here to help guide you through this confusing chapter and ease the stress that comes during this period of uncertainty. We can talk to you about options to help make the most out of any redundancy payouts. 

Top habits to form after a job loss

For many of us our jobs are an important part of how we see ourselves in relation to the world. Losing your job can be a confronting time. Forming positive habits and attitudes can help support your mental health and well-being:

  • Remember, who you are does not revolve around what you do: Job loss does not detract from your character.
  • Stay future-focused: You can find the present situation to be overwhelming, so it’s important to think ahead and consider what positive changes lie in store for you.
  • Take back control: You may feel powerless after a job loss, but you can shift this perception. Look at ways you can take back control and consider temporary employment options, or upskilling to expand your career prospects.
  • Prioritise self-care: Make sure to take care of yourself during this time. Exercise regularly and eat well. This can help shift negative emotions that may hinder your proactivity when it comes to finding that new job.

Looking after your wellbeing

From the anxiety that accompanies the looming potential of job loss, to the moment you're told you've been made redundant, your emotional state will shift and change. This is completely understandable. The fear of job loss is a turbulent and emotional journey. The thing to remember is, you're not alone.

Your friends and family are an important network, as are present and former work colleagues. There are services and organisations available to support you. Check out official government websites such as Head to Health: a collaboration between the Australian Department of Health, the community, and the mental health sector. The site has useful online resources tailored to individual needs.

You may even wish to speak to your doctor for guidance. Other organisations which offer support include: Lifeline on 131 114, Beyond Blue and Black Dog Institute’s, Online Clinic, a free online mental health assessment tool. For relationship advice, including how to talk to your partner about finances, check out our Creating Positive Relationships tool, developed with relationship experts Interrelate.

Considering your next move

One strategy when experiencing job loss is to think of the situation as a potential opportunity. Were you already eager to make that next step in your career? Have you been wanting to do further studies? Could a part-time or flexible solution make sense at this point in your life? Some key starting points for your next moves include:

  • Exploring your options
  • Building your personal brand
  • Reaching out to recruiters
  • Seeking career counselling
  • Networking with friends and former colleagues
  • Updating your CV and LinkedIn profile
  • Signing-up for industry networking events and seminars
  • Accessing government resources and familiarising yourself with what redundancy and job loss mean

Most importantly, take this time to imagine where you could see yourself working next – it's an unexpected chance to pursue the dream and turn it into a reality.

Things you should know:

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.