Due to COVID-19.
Determined to enjoy Christmas no matter what, I hung up the phone to my (now ex-) boss. It’s been a hard year for everyone, but not least of all the small businesses, any shops on side streets which rely so heavily on the influx of yearly summer tourists from over the border in England. This was one of the shops I worked in.
In the summer it was thriving, ice cream abundant and chirpy, happy people browsing and discovering a small town in the middle of beautiful Snowdonia National Park. In the winter it could be okay, but quite extremely quiet, meaning I could (and have definitely been known to!) read an entire novel each day, sitting behind the desk, watching the wind/rain/snow/sun outside that shop door.
Sadly, this pandemic has rendered my boss with a horrible decision. Myself and co-workers have been on furlough, with only about 3 whole months of trade we were open for. We rely so much on tourism that when we locked down they couldn’t come, when they locked down it wasn’t worth opening because we need them to come and they can’t. It has been a disaster for too many shops here.
So, I’ve lost my job and so have others. I am 13 months pregnant and have just lost my job because of Covid-19/Coronavirus. Not good!
Thankfully, I’ve done some research (as my anxiety-driven brain tends to do in moments of stress). I don’t qualify for any redundancy payout, and even if I did I’d feel infinitely bad asking for that from a failing business, he’s not closing yet… yet.
I was worrying because if I don’t have an employer I can’t claim Statutory Maternity Pay, and I can’t find a job now it’d be too soon to disclose the pregnancy – they could dismiss me before my 3 month trial. I couldn’t not tell them as it’s my duty to tell them by a certain date, and they could let me go citing whatever they like before the trial is up. That’s a no go as far as I can tell. If anyone is even hiring…
However, I do qualify still for Maternity Allowance, direct from the government. This is because I have been employed (and working… I think furlough counts too, fingers crossed) for a certain number of hours within 66 weeks of my due date. All this information is on the Gov.uk website here.
I’m still not sure if I’m sad or simply resigned to being unemployed now. My furlough ends in January, he gave me a months grace to ‘find something else’, but I don’t think I can.
J and I are trying our hardest to figure out if we can do this, and at least with my Open University maintenance payments, plus Maternity Allowance I should be able to claw through. When the Maternity ends though, I have no idea what we can do.
I don’t have anyone to take our child for childcare, so it seems we might’ve had to have just one income anyway, or else pay for childcare somehow if I can work enough. We don’t have immediate family close enough to us to take little one, and asking my aunt and uncle who already babysit four of their own grandchildren on several days each week is not fair.
Holding on to positive vibes and feelings, I guess we have to wait and see what 2021 brings!