10 Things to Do if You’ve Been Retrenched During COVID-19 Pandemic


The Department of Labor and Employment expects that by the end of this year, 4 million Filipinos will lose their jobs because of COVID-19.

The numbers are staggering. However, retrenchment is not unheard of during economic crises and global pandemics like what we’re currently experiencing. After all, companies need to downsize and cut expenses to bounce back from the losses because of the quarantine.

If you’ve been retrenched, don’t lose heart. You can survive this while waiting for the next opportunity.

In this article, learn how to manage your finances when you suddenly find yourself without a job and explore other practical ways to earn money.

1. Read the fine print for separate pay and other benefits you are still covered

As per the labor code, employers should issue the retrenchment notice to the employee one month before the retrenchment date. Take this time to discuss your separation pay, as well as your SSS/GSIS, PhilHealth, and other benefits.

For example, SSS grants qualified members unemployment benefits as financial aid while they are looking for another job.

If you’re under 60 years of age and were involuntarily separated due to retrenchment, you can claim a one-time payment of 50% of your average monthly salary credit (AMSC) multiplied by two. To know more, you can read the updated circular of SSS.

Also, review the status of your PhilHealth, PAG-IBIG, and your group insurance coverage so you’ll know what you can avail during this time.

2. Contact your creditors

The government has mandated banks and loan institutions to provide grace periods during the almost 2 month-long quarantine.

Contact your creditors and informal lenders to update them regarding your situation and discuss possible arrangements for your loan payments.

Take note of the charges and accrued interests, including late payment fees. Make sure that all your questions are answered and you’re clear on the terms before you agree on the arrangement.

If you borrowed money from your friend, colleague, or family member, be considerate enough to update them about your current situation.

3. Cut your expenses

It’s time to downgrade your lifestyle. Cut the unnecessary expenses or your ‘little’ luxuries.

List down expenses, whether using the old school pen and paper, or download finance apps to track everything.

Stick to the essentials from now on. This includes cutting back on food deliveries as they have also increased their charges.

Discuss your current financial situation with your family and encourage them to be frugal during these tough times.

Also, consider unsubscribing or getting rid of some of your subscription services in gaming and entertainment. If you don’t use it that much, then it’s better to unsubscribe for the meantime.

4. Update your resume

Update your resume or curriculum vitae so you’d be ready to send them over to recruiters.

Use resume templates to make yours attractive and compelling. If you want to spice up your resume with graphic designs, sign up for a Canva account and choose a resume template that matches your personality.

If you plan to apply for online jobs, compose a strong cover letter that states your intention, skills, and expertise. It’s your chance to convince recruiters why you’re the best fit.

5. Expand your network online

Take your networking efforts online using social media. Sign up for free on professional networking sites like LinkedIn and update your job title and work experience.

Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume. Make sure to include all the achievements you’re proud of to stand out and attract recruiters.

Take advantage of its free 1-month trial of its premium subscription. Unlock more features like InMail so you reach out to people outside of your network. You can always unsubscribe before the trial period ends, or when you get hired!

Another way to network online is by joining Facebook groups. Search for groups related to your industry or profession. Just be careful about sharing personal information. Do a background check to make sure that the hiring company, recruiter, or agency is legit.

6. Explore other income streams

Whether it’s online selling or getting a part-time job, choose something that fits your schedule and resources.

For part-time jobs online, we shared the top 10 job search websites and apps to find work from home jobs. You can get hired as a part-time ESL teacher, virtual assistant, data entry specialist, and many others.

If you’re interested in buy and sell, you can start posting your items on Facebook Marketplace or join buy and sell groups. But be wary of people you transact with. There are many scammers online, so make sure to get the payment first before shipping the items.

And then you can also get side hustles as food riders for FoodPanda or Grab. Offer to ‘pasabuy’ for friends and neighbors and charge them for those errands.

7. Upgrade your skills

Make the most of your time and upgrade your skills while waiting. There are lots of e-learning websites like Udemy, Coursera, and edX that let you access thousands of courses online.

Since everything is virtual, register for virtual workshops and conferences to learn a new skill or expand your knowledge about a topic.

Given that you also want to learn and save money, sign up for free online courses and webinars.

8. Stay active while at home

There are online Zumba classes, circuit training, and other home workout programs on YouTube.

Stay active and exercise to loosen up and produce happy hormones. Instead of binge-watching the entire day, start building healthy habits to maintain overall well-being.

Why not start with those 30-day challenges like squats, push-ups, and pull-ups? Invite your friends and family to join the challenge to make it a fun bonding session, too.

Bodyweight training is enough to make you sweat. But if you have a few thousands to spare, check out some great deals on Lazada and Shopee. Toby’s, Chris Sports, and Decathlon have online stores and have pick-up and delivery arrangements.

But if you’re on a budget, join Facebook online groups that sell second-hand gym equipment like kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, and more. Just watch out for scammers and posers. This option is the least expensive, but you do it at your own risk.

9. Don’t forget your mental health

Stay connected to your friends and family virtually. Set daily or weekly catch-up calls and video calls to keep you sane and updated with each other’s lives.

You can also work out together virtually or host coffee or tea parties in the comfort of your homes.

Talk to like-minded people who can help you process your thoughts and emotions during this crisis.

10. Be moneysmart and focus on financial planning

If you’re tapping in your emergency funds right now, know that it will not last you forever. Now is the best time to focus on financial planning and finding ways to grow your money.

For example, you can explore time deposits or open a savings account that earns more than 3%, like CIMB or ING peso savings.

If you haven’t started building your emergency funds or you have no savings, read up on our moneysmart guide on how to create a pandemic-proof financial plan.

We hope that this article inspired you to be proactive while waiting for the next opportunity. For more money tips and life hacks, follow the MoneySmart blog, and subscribe to our newsletter.