Getting retrenched can be a stressful experience, but there are ways to survive and overcome it. Here’s some advice.

Take your time

If you haven’t yet signed your retrenchment documentation, don’t feel pressured to do so in a hurry. According to HR Works, you have a right to review all documentation before you sign it, and you can reach out to your Human Resources (HR) department or a lawyer who can clarify things for you.

You can negotiate

Upon being presented with a retrenchment, your company should offer you some sort of severance package. The terms of this package can be negotiated to include or extend your severance pay, extension of benefits and various other terms which will make the retrenchment less harsh. For a more detailed explanation of how and what you should negotiate, read this article.

Know your rights

In South Africa, there are certain laws put in place which protect the rights of workers. It’s important to know your rights in this situation- you can learn more about them on this page. If your retrenchment was unfair or not conducted properly, you may refer your dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), or a bargaining council. The matter can further be escalated to the Labour Court if need be.

To learn more about your legal rights during retrenchment, read this article.

Look for assistance

When it comes to financial assistance during this period, you have a few different options. You may claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) by following these steps.

If you were unable to work due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you may also be eligible to be paid out from the Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (TERS). For more information, contact your former employer or log into your UIF account.

Start looking for work

The job hunt, especially during crisis times such as COVID-19, can be stressful and frustrating. You’re likely to hear a lot of rejections, but it’s important to apply for every opportunity you find and be persistent. For more information on how to successfully job-hunt during COVID-19, check out this article. You can also get free job hunting resources here, learn some tips on landing a job here, or develop your job hunting skills with the free, short courses of the Take a Girl Child to Work Day Online Programme.


Self-care may be the last thing on your mind when you get retrenched, but it’s important to keep treating your mind and body with love, especially if you’ve recently lost your job. There are many ways to manage your stress levels, but here are some easy and fun ones we recommend. It’s also important to stay hopeful about the future, which you can learn how to do here.

Remember that you’re not alone during this time. You can come out of this unpleasant situation stronger and find a great opportunity soon. If you ever need to chat or are looking for some advice, you can always message us on Ask CellCgirl- it’s 100% private and completely free. Don’t give up!

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