With businesses across the Commonwealth shuttered for months, they may have no choice but to reduce their workforce. If you think your employer could be headed in that direction, there are things you can do to be ready. This post will look at two broad areas – finances and job searching – but provide specific tips within each so you’re prepared in case you’re laid off from your job.
Manage Your Finances
If you think you might lose your job, you’re probably feeling pretty stressed out. That’s understandable. But being stressed out can make it difficult to make well-thought financial decisions. Try not to think too far down the road. Instead, focus on what’s immediately in front of you and look for areas where you can control what’s happening.
- Review your budget (or make one) – You must know how much money goes out each month for expenses like housing (rent or mortgage, utilities, etc.) and loan payments. A new expense you would need to account for if you are laid off is health insurance. If your employer provides health insurance, you may be eligible to continue that coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, known as COBRA. With COBRA, you’re required to pay the full premiums, if you weren’t already doing so. Review your pay stubs to determine what you’re currently paying, or ask your HR department.
If COBRA isn’t an option, you may be able to find coverage through Pennsylvania’s healthcare exchange, provided through the federal Affordable Care Act. You can shop for plans on healthcare.gov. It’s important to get to a realistic premium figure to add to your budget.
- Start or continue adding to an emergency fund – Ideally, you have enough in savings to cover three to six months of expenses. If you don’t have an emergency fund, now might not seem like the best time to start one since you’re concerned about losing your job. Yet, it is possible. Make cuts now on things like streaming services and put that money into your fund. Every little bit helps. Put all monies spent elsewhere into that emergency fund, so that it can provide you with assistance if and when the time comes.
- Talk to your creditors – If a layoff seems imminent, be sure to contact those you owe right away to learn about options available to you, like delayed payments or reduced interest rates. Just keep in mind that almost every option for delaying payments is just that – a delay. You’re still obligated to repay your loans.
Find Your Next Job
The economic disruption due to COVID-19 will be felt for a long time to come. Companies that are healthy now could suffer in the months and years to come. New employment opportunities may arise. Start thinking about where you could find employment today and how you could fit into the economic landscape that will emerge.
- Keep job search documents up to date – Updating your resume is a given. While you’re still employed and have access to them, print off any performance reviews, work samples, and other documents like praise emails that reflect the value you bring.
- Explore jobs and job-hunting resources – Creating an account with PaCareerLink connects you with employment information and job-hunting resources. Brush up on your interviewing skills, either on your own or through services available at your school. Many offer activities like mock interviews to both current students and graduates.
- Consider a new line of work – Right now, several industries are in need of workers. Grocery stores, fulfillment centers, and cleaning services are looking to fill positions due to high demand. Looking longer term, you might want to consider a completely different field that requires specialized training. You may be able to find free courses online that can familiarize you with the field you’re considering.
The reality is that many businesses may have to make the difficult decision to reduce their workforce. By acting on the steps above and keeping a positive attitude, you’ll be ready in case you face reduced hours or a job loss. As a reminder, you can find more articles and resources to help you make the most of your money by visiting psecu.com/learn.