Consumer rights: 'I'm worried my daughter is being paid too little'
Months of job-hunting have produced a job that might pay lower than the minimum wage...Parents of a disabled child need help with allowances
Sunday 25 September 2011
Q. My daughter has just been offered a job, which is great as it's a year since she graduated and this is the first opportunity she's had.
However, I don't think she's being paid enough. Is £207 a week for a 40-hour week reasonable? Isn't there a minimum she should be paid? She doesn't want me to make a fuss as it's been so hard to find anything, but with just over £800 a month it will hardly cover travel and food.
A. If your daughter is, as I suspect, 21 or 22, she should be earning the adult national minimum wage. At the minute that is £5.93 an hour (£6.08 from October). If by any chance she 18 to20, it's £4.92 an hour. The rule is the same no matter what size the firm.
If you do the calculation you'll see 40 hours on the minimum wage would be £237.20. Thirty-five hours a week at the minimum wage comes to just over £207. When she gets a written offer of the job and conditions of employment, it's likely to say she's required to work seven hours a day. If that's not the case and she really is £30 a week short, then she is being underpaid and the firm is breaking the law. You have to decide whether to ask for the extra, point out they're breaking the law, report them using the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368, or – as your daughter wants – just keep quiet about it.
The law protects your daughter in that she should not be fired for demanding what is her legal right, shouldn't be bullied, victimised or discriminated against because she does so, and can take a case against her employer if any of those things happen. But the reality is that her boss could make her working life miserable, come up with other reasons to fire her, suddenly find her job has disappeared, and she'll be unemployed again.
The law says one thing but the reality is often very different. I suspect that's what your daughter means when she doesn't want you to make a fuss. See what the hours are, and if you need more help, call the helpline.
Q. I've been teaching for the past 15 years, but due to my home circumstances I resigned in March. We have three children and another on the way. Our middle one has a rare condition that means she can't walk unassisted or talk and needs constant care. I'm planning to do supply teaching and to tutor children from home, but so far there's been no supply work and I wondered whether we could get some financial help on top of the child benefit we get at the moment.
A. This is a complicated calculation given the nature of your working week. You should see an adviser who can go through your circumstances and help you to decide what you might be entitled to.
The first thing is disability living allowance for your disabled child. As she can't walk by herself and needs constant care and attention she may be able to claim. You could be entitled to child tax credits because you are working and have children, but that depends on the income you've had over the past tax year. It can be backdated for only three months so you should set that claim in motion straight away. Gather all your paperwork such as National Insurance number, payslips, P45 and P60 to take with you to the adviser.
Your child's main carer may be able to get a carer's allowance. It is payable to people who spend more than 35 hours a week caring for someone who is entitled to disability living allowance. Then there are other benefits which could help but which depend on the income coming into the house, such as housing benefit and council tax benefit.
If you find that you can't get work but are still looking for work, you may be entitled to some jobseeker's allowance (JSA). There are two elements to the benefit, one depending on what National Insurance contributions you've paid in the past and the other on your household income.
The problem for someone who isn't earning the same amount each week is that the system can be slow to react. If your income goes up, some of your benefits will be reduced and vice versa. You constantly have to update the various benefit departments as your circumstances change.
If you can get the constant, unchanging elements of your entitlements in place such as disability living allowance and carer's allowance, you can plan your household expenditure. When you are earning you'll need to plan for periods when you aren't earning and entitled to financial help but your benefits are still being processed.
You can get most of the advice you need through the Government's website direct.gov.uk, although you will have to register at the Job Centre for work-related benefits. However, there are so many potential elements to your claim that you should go through it all with a benefits adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau or a disability agency.
It might be worth asking a specialist disability agency if they know of any other help available for your child. As she has a rare condition there may be a special fund from a related charity. Even a one-off lump sum could make a difference.
Questions of Cash: Bupa costs bore no relation to what I'd been quoted
Five Questions On: Pensions advice
Problem gambling: Amid heavy advertising and a surge in remote sports betting, more and more 16 to 24-year-olds are now seen as 'at risk'
Gardens add a tenth to the value of your home
Simon Read: Retirement advice is good - if it's impartial
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
Day In a Page
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
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar