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Anika’s story

Unfairly made redundant

The problem

Anika said her employer had decided to make her redundant, rather than one of her male colleagues, because she had worked fewer hours over the past couple of months.

“It seems so unfair. I know I’ve had to take extra time off since I returned from furlough in August, but I couldn’t find a regular childminder for my three-year old and I’m a single mum.”

Our intervention

We explained to Anika that her employer’s redundancy criteria appeared to affect women as a group worse than men, and this could potentially be a case of indirect discrimination as women are more likely to have childcare responsibilities. We showed Anika our online page “Discrimination during Redundancy” on the national Citizens Advice website which had more information about how to challenge a redundancy decision which seemed to be unfair. Our advisers are now helping Anika to explore all her options.

Anika also asked us what benefits she could claim now that she had lost her income. We advised Anika to make an online application for the means-tested benefit Universal Credit which would help her with everyday living costs and rent. Anika told us she had worked for her employers for the last 3 years, paying National Insurance throughout. As this was the case, we advised her to also apply for New Style Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) which is not means-tested. We explained that this is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. We made clear that, if someone qualifies for both New Style JSA and Universal Credit, any New Style JSA received will be considered as income for Universal Credit. We explained, though, that claimants often received the JSA award much quicker than Universal Credit.

The outcome

Like many others, Anika felt much less stressed and more in control of her circumstances after using Citizens Advice.