Unemployment and Work Restructuring are events when it can feel that things are out of our control.
It is a bit like a bereavement. But there are steps we can take to shape the uncertainty:
Guidance Leaflet for those facing redundancy:
- Dont suffer in silence: talk to someone
- Talk to your employer; sort out paperwork
- Contact JobCentre Plus
- Get help with finance
- Plan your days
Support for Managers making hard decisions:
- Go to ACAS for legal guidance
- Acknowledge your own feelings and needs – seek support.
- Keep communication clear and consistent
- Be prepared for lots of questions and emotional conversations
Guidance on Redundancy Process
ACAS give comprehensive free guidance for a legal process of redundancy: https://www.acas.org.uk/manage-staff-redundancies
Being Unemployed does not mean we lose our value
When a job is taken away from us it can cause us to lose our sense of identity, put us in financial difficulty and make us feel bereft. Redundancy produces a lot of emotions and worries. But we are still the same people we were: we have value.
Throughout our working lives we can define ourselves by where we work, and what we do . Many of our colleagues may also have become friends. It is normal to feel a loss. But with help, we can cope with losses.
Redundancy often comes when we least expect it, and it is out of our control. If we have chosen to leave work by either resigning or retiring, in some sense we have some control. If redundancies are happening around us, we often still live in hope that it may never happen to us. Losing control is a wound.
In the Covid context, there may be additional factors and emotions that can make the emotions even stronger. Some people may have suffered a bereavement of a member of their family, or indeed themselves have been ill. Some people may have struggled with working from home or have been furloughed and felt abandoned.
Dealing with bereavement and major life change is a process that consumes time and energy. What we feel may not always seem rational or logical. Different people react in very different ways. Most people work through bereavement over a period of time and find new opportunities and interests.
Churches and Unemployment
Pope Francis’ Comments on Unemployment
On the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1st) Pope Francis said: “Power, money or culture do not give us dignity. Work, honest work, gives us dignity.” Economies should be arranged such that “everyone has an opportunity to work, to be anointed with the dignity of work.”
Thus unemployment “is a burden on our conscience” and signals to us “that something is wrong with society.” “Work should offer a service to people… Not paying a just wage…focusing exclusively on balancing the books and on financial statements goes against God.” Some people, he continued, forget that the opportunity to work is a gift from God; a participation “in the act of creation”
Some Church Responses:
- Include prayers and talk about work, unemployment and purpose in Church worship.
- Learn about the local economic situation
- Some Reflections and hymns
- Setting up Job Clubs for support, practical help and advice.
- Ignition by Jericho Foundation provides training.
- Even with Covid Social Distancing there are ways to support people through the job search or retraining process.
- Volunteering in Church can help people to gain confidence and experience.
- Guidance here: Volunteering, Unemployment and the Church
- Can the church offer space for people trying out start-up businesses to meet?
- Can the Church rent out work space for people to try out their business ideas?
- Business in Church Premises – a check list