The forgotten economic casualties of COVID-19
I’m an unemployed father of 2 university aged children. Last week, that would have read “employed”. Yes, I am one of a rapidly expanding group of ex-employees made redundant during the lock-down, citing Coronavirus cashflow issues. For my organisation, I was the one that prepared the forecasts highlighting the issues. The fact that I was recovering, as were my wife and son, from symptoms of COVID-19 at the time is irrelevant as the guillotine of redundancy is brutal and therefore does not consider such personal health issues. Thankfully, we are all healthy albeit still in recovery some 2 weeks in.
On Thursday, I started a Change.org petition called "RelaxRedundancyPayments" that I feel will address a group of individuals that have been somewhat ignored by the remarkable efforts that Rishi Sunak and his team have displayed over the last 2 weeks. Companies have been offered loans and have been offered assistance to pay employees as long as they remain on the payroll by being furloughed, however the ones that are unfortunately “let go” have no recourse as their financial wellbeing and way of life is put in serious jeopardy. Where this leads to, and what the repercussions will be, only time will tell.
I am asking is everyone could support the petition motivating the alteration of the redundancy tax rules to allow all severance payments for employees made redundant during the lock-down period to be classified as valid redundancy payments for tax purposes. This would mean that, inter alia, payments in lieu of notice and payments for leave would be classified as redundancy payments. Every little bit helps!! Additionally, the threshold for tax free redundancy payments needs to be increased to at least £50,000. For me it seems that the tax I pay on my in lieu of notice payment will be going to pay to keep furloughed workers in their positions, when I am without for an indeterminate period. I can appreciate that the Treasury may believe that this could result in a wave of voluntary redundancies, but there are livelihoods at stake here. This relaxation would be extremely useful for people in the, inter alia, travel and luxury retail industries that are being made redundant at whim.
The effect of the above changes will make an ever-increasing group of people slightly more comfortable with the situation they are faced with whilst scouring what will be an extremely competitive marketplace. It will also assist them in knowing that they have the governments support. Let’s be honest, this situation was not of our own making.
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