Redundancy payments increased by an estimated 9% in the last financial year to a record £4.9 billion, according to a new report.
Commercial law firm EMW said employers had paid out over £18 billion in redundancy pay since the start of the recession in 2008.
The increase has been driven by rising numbers of job losses in the public sector, with the NHS alone paying out £170 million in 2010-11, the study found.
A total of 410,000 redundancy payments were made in the year to March 2012, an increase of 11% on the previous year, it was revealed.
Louise Holder of EMW said: "The recent rise in redundancy payouts has been driven in particular by increasing numbers of redundancies in the public sector.
"Private sector redundancies have tailed off slightly since the 2008-9 recession. Now it is public sector redundancies that are keeping the bill for the restructuring of the UK economy creeping up.
"Businesses that held on to their most experienced and talented staff in the immediate aftermath of the 2008-09 recession have had to part with some of their top staff during the double dip."