Consumer rights: 'How can I safely send Christmas money to my grandchildren?'
How to transfer money abroad without losing too much on exchange rates...Unequal pay in the workplace
Sunday 04 December 2011
Q. Given the financial situation this year I'm cancelling Christmas, but I want to help out my children by sending some money for each of my grandchildren.
They all live in Australia, South Africa and Canada and I'm worried that money may go missing. What's the best way to send it?
A. It is best not to post cash as there's no guarantee it won't go missing. It might be nice for the children to open a card and find notes in it but there's no need to send paper money. There are lots of ways of transferring it safely, from sending it through specialist currency companies to sending it via your bank or transferring money online. Even the Post Office can help you.
Ask your sons/daughters for an account to transfer the money into. You can send each grandchild a card telling them that there is money for them in their own account or their parent's account. You could make up a "voucher" for the value of £xx to be redeemed at the bank of mum or dad. Then shop around until you're happy with a transfer that is safe, suits your time scale and amount, and will have the money to be available to the children as soon as you transfer.
You want to know how much South African, Canadian or Australian money will reach the children for the amount of money you are sending. The important thing is to check the charges and exchange rates to make sure you get the best deals. The charges and transfer fees reduce the amount they get and exchange rates do change from day to day.
You also want to be sure you're dealing with a reputable company that is regulated. Banks are regulated, but if you decide to use a currency specialist make sure they're reputable and authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) under the Payment Services Regulations 2009. Companies that are authorised by the FSA have had to meet strict rules, comply with payment services regulations and the FSA's conduct of business requirements. They must also be registered with HM Customs as an overseas money service business.
Q. I have been working for the same small manufacturing company for five years and have been happy there. There are only two women working in the engineering side doing different jobs. However, I've discovered that I am not being paid as much as the three men who do exactly the same job as me.
I didn't think about it before as the boss has always been very fair about letting people take time off when they need it and generous with holidays, but I accidentally found out when one of the men left his emails open. The men are also getting another pay rise soon which no one has mentioned to me and that will make the difference even bigger.
I've been with the firm for the same length of time as one of my male colleagues and longer than another one. I don't think any of us have particular qualifications, so why are they being paid more?
I haven't talked to the other woman I work with yet and have no idea whether she gets paid the same as the men who work alongside her. I'm worried about rocking the boat. We don't have a union and I can't afford to lose my job but I feel let down. Should I keep my mouth shut or is there anything I can do?
A. I can understand that you don't want to rock the boat but there are laws to cover equal pay which your boss shouldn't ignore. On saying that, experts reckon it could be another 50 years before we really have equal pay. Men and women in the same employment have the right to equal pay for work of the same value. Where men and women, working for the same employer, are doing the same or similar work (like work), work rated as equivalent in a job evaluation study by the employer, or work of equal value, they are entitled to the same terms in their employment contract and that includes rates of pay. There may be some exceptions where there is a genuine reason for the difference.
Under the Equality Act, if you feel you are being discriminated against because of your sex, it may be unlawful. And under the same Act employees are free to talk to each other about their wages. So you may have a fairly straightforward case. That doesn't mean you want to go in with all guns blazing, but if you don't address the issue you are likely to get even angrier. Have a calm, reasonable conversation sooner rather than later. If you boss is as fair as you say he is, this may get sorted out quickly.
Part of the problem is that men ask for pay rises and women don't. You don't mention whether you have asked or not, but from the tone of your letter I suspect not. There's still also the perception that men are the breadwinners and women do second jobs for extra household income. That can lead to bosses being more sympathetic to requests from men for pay rises.
If you don't do the same job as your woman colleague it isn't her job you need to compare salaries with. Compare with the men who do the same job as you. As I've said, you are entitled to be paid the same wage for doing the same work. Sometimes it's reasonable to pay someone with more experience or better qualifications more for doing the same job, but from what you say that's not the case here.
The official way is to take out a grievance procedure against your boss and ultimately bring a claim to an employment tribunal for discrimination. I'm sure you don't want to do either of those. However, you are entitled to ask for your pay to be made equal and your employer can't sack you for asking for something that is your right under employment law. So it's best to talk to your employer and try to sort out the matter informally. You can write to your employer if you think you have been discriminated against because of your sex, but again as he's been so fair on everything else he will probably react better to a friendly (not angry!) approach.
You should talk this over with someone before you see your boss. Check whether there's a law centre in your area or call Acas (the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service) which offers free, confidential and impartial advice on employment matters on 08457 474747 or www.acas.org.uk.
Derek Pain: I'm cautious, but remain one of the few bulls in the market
Donald MacInnes: Who would want to be a Barbie girl in a non-Barbie world?
Mark Dampier: How to get an income now that savings are past the 'use by' date
Thousands of UK investors could lose out following collapse of Secured Energy Bonds
Bargain Hunter: Fly off for a winter break in France or Portugal for well under £100
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
Day In a Page
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion