Unemployment rate rises to 5% as 1.72million now without a job

AROUND 1.72million workers are now without a job as the unemployment rate rose to 5% in the three months to November.

The rate soared to its highest level since early 2016 after another 202,000 people lost their jobs during the period.

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Meanwhile, the redundancy rate reached a record high of 14.2 per thousand, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The number of UK workers on payrolls has now fallen by 828,000 between February and December due to the coronavirus crisis, the ONS said.

Between October to December 2020, there were an estimated 578,000 vacancies, which is a quarterly increase of 81,000 vacancies.

The latest figures come after the unemployment rate hit 4.9% in the three months to October.

What are my redundancy rights?

BEFORE making you unemployed, your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.

You are entitled to be consulted on the redundancy lay-off first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you've been working somewhere for at least two years.

How much you're entitled to depends on your age and length of service, although this is capped at 20 years. You'll get:

  • Half a week‚Äôs pay for each full year you were under 22,
  • One week‚Äôs pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41,
  • One and half week‚Äôs pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

Sadly, you won't be entitled to a payout if you've been working for your employer for fewer than two years.

There should be a period of collective consultation as well as time for individual ones if your employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or each other.

You are also entitled to appeal the decision by claiming unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.

During the same period, redundancies also hit a record 370,000 workers.

Businesses made more workers redundant in the weeks leading up to when the furlough scheme was due to end.

Furlough was supposed to end in October but the scheme was extended at the last-minute until March 2021.

In December, Chancellor Rishi Sunak then extended it again until April 2021.

ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said: "The latest monthly tax figures show that there were over 800,000 fewer employees on payroll in December than last February.

"In the three months to November, on our survey data, the employment rate fell sharply again, while the unemployment rate rose to hit 5% for the first time in over four years.

"The number of people saying they had been made redundant in the previous three months remains at a record high."

Jeremy Thomson-Cook, chief economist at currency exchange service Equals Money, added: "Today’s jobs numbers are a tale of halves as we see both record redundancies, and rising job demand.

"While the furlough scheme will keep the headline unemployment rate fixed around 5% until its expiry, redundancies are expected to increase in retail, hospitality and leisure, and the construction sectors once government support ends.

"In the short term, and together with the latest noises from government as to when lockdown will start to soften, the current expiry of the furlough scheme at the end of April looks premature.

"We would both urge and expect the Chancellor to allow for a gradual cessation of support through the summer."

The latest unemployment figures come after the Real Living Wage was increased by 20p for workers outside London in November.

Mr Sunak also unveiled a £2.9billion package to help one million unemployed Brits find jobs.

We explain if you can be made redundant while on the furlough scheme.

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