Tag Archives: employment

Citizens Advice Ipswich: Seven things to check if you’re at risk of redundancy

Citizens Advice Ipswich has helped people with 740 issues relating to employment issues since lockdown.

Pay, redundancy, furlough and contract questions are the top issues it has dealt with during the pandemic.

Nicky Wilshere, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Ipswich, said:

“We have helped people with a huge range of issues since lockdown, but we know that as the furlough scheme draws to an end, lots of people may be feeling worried and need advice.

“If you’re at risk of redundancy, it’s important to know you do have rights to help protect you from unfair dismissal and to ensure you’re paid what you’re owed.

“It’s completely understandable that you may find the rules and procedures overwhelming, but you don’t have to face redundancy alone. We are here to help.”

For information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Ipswich Adviceline on 0300 330 1151.

Citizens Advice Ipswich’s seven things to check if you’re at risk of redundancy

1. Check if your redundancy is fair. There are rules to protect you from being discriminated against, and for being picked for redundancy due to an unfair reason.
For example, although you can be made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave, you cannot be made redundant because you’re pregnant or on maternity leave. If you are this counts as “automatic unfair dismissal” and discrimination.
Examples of unfair reasons for redundancy can include being picked because you work part-time or you made a complaint about health and safety.
See Check if your redundancy is fair on our public website citizensadvice.org.uk for more information.

2. Check how much redundancy pay you get. You’re entitled to statutory redundancy pay, which is the minimum the law says you’re entitled to, if you’ve been an employee for two years. The amount you will get depends on your age and how long you have worked for the company. You won’t get statutory redundancy pay if you’ve worked for the company for less than two years, are self-employed or are in certain professions such as the armed forces or police.
You may also lose out on statutory redundancy pay if you turn down a suitable alternative job from your employer without a good reason. Your employer may pay extra money on top of the statutory amount you’re entitled to – this is called contractual redundancy pay. Some employees may be entitled to contractual redundancy pay even though they are not entitled to statutory redundancy pay.

3. Furloughed? Make sure you get 100% redundancy pay. If you were furloughed and then made redundant, your redundancy pay should be based on your normal wage.
If you were paid 80% of your wages while on furlough, your redundancy pay should be based on your full wage.

4. Check your notice period. If you’ve worked for your employer for at least a month you’re entitled to a paid statutory notice period. If you’ve worked there for more than a month but less than two years, you have to be given a week’s notice. For two years or more, it’s a week for each full year you have worked, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. You may be entitled to a longer notice period as part of your employment contract. Your notice period only starts when your employer says you’ll be made redundant and gives you a finishing date – not when your employer says you’re at risk of redundancy.
Your employer might decide to give you notice pay instead of your notice period – this is called ‘pay in lieu of notice’.

5. Check your holiday pay. You’ll be paid for any holiday you have left over when you leave. This should be at your normal rate’s pay, even if you’re currently furloughed on 80% of your pay. You can ask to take holiday during your notice period, but it’s up to your employer to decide if you can take it then. Your employer can also tell you to use up any holiday you have left over, but they must give you you notice. The notice must be at least twice as long as the holiday they want you to take.

6. You might be entitled to paid time off to look for work. If you’ve worked for your employer for two years at the end of your notice period, you’re likely to be entitled to ‘reasonable’ time off to apply for jobs or go on training. You can take the time off at any time in normal working hours and your employer can’t ask you to rearrange your work hours to make up the time off. When taking time off to look for work, you’ll be paid at your normal hourly rate, but only for up to 40% of a week’s work – for instance for up to two days if you work a five day week. See preparing for after redundancy for more information.

7. Check if you’ve got legal help via your home insurance. Often people get ‘legal expenses cover’ as part of their home insurance package, but many don’t realise they can get free legal help to challenge their redundancy if they think it’s discriminatory or unfair. It’s worth checking the terms and conditions and speaking to your insurer if unsure.

If you have a trade union at work, you could also contact them. Your union can help you work out if you’ve got a claim, and support you through the process, for example by going to meetings with you or negotiating on your behalf.

You can visit Citizens Advice’s pages on leaving a job for further information and advice.

Vacancies

Case Checker, Advice Support, and cover Advice Session Supervisor

Salary: £19,000 – £22,000

Dependant on experience

Hours: 37 Hours per week

Closing Date: Monday 8 June2020

Citizens Advice Ipswich is looking for an experienced Case Checker, Advice Support and cover Advice Session Supervisor, to support our expanding team.

To ensure the provision of an effective and efficient generalist advice service to Citizens Advice Ipswich and its clients through case monitoring and advice support to project and volunteer advisers.

Supporting the training, development, and supervision of client facing staff and volunteers.

The successful candidate will have recent and ongoing experience of casework monitoring, checking and generalist advice work.

Alongside the ability to prioritise client needs efficiently and work as part of a team.


Operations and Project Manager


Salary:
£30,000 – £34,000

Dependant on experience

Hours: 37 Hours per week

Closing Date: Monday 8 June 2020

Citizens Advice Ipswich is looking for a, qualified and experienced Operations Manager, to support our expanding team.

The successful candidate will have a proven track record of Staff Management of teams of different levels in a customer focused service, and achievement of high quality performance standards.

Ideally, you will need to have knowledge or experience in working customer led environment and working with volunteers

Alongside the ability to prioritise client needs efficiently and work as part of a team.


For application forms please contact:

Carl Ward: Office Support

Tel: 01473 219770

E-mail: bureau@ipswichcab.org.uk

For informal discussion please contact:

Nelleke Van Helfteren: Deputy Manager

Tel: 01473 219772

Email: deputymanager@ipswichcab.org.uk

Universal Credit risks leaving some workers’ financial stability hanging in the balance

money graphicUniversal Credit could risk adding to the financial instability of low-income workers, with those who are self-employed likely to come under the most pressure, new research from Citizens Advice finds.

Today the charity has released two new reports on Universal Credit, examining the impact of work allowance cuts on people’s budgets, and why its design can leave self-employed workers at a financial disadvantage.

Citizens Advice analysis shows a self-employed worker who receives Universal Credit could be worse off by £630 a year compared to an employee on the benefit, even if their year-end earnings are identical.

The report highlights issues with the Minimum Income Floor, a rule that assumes everyone claiming Universal Credit who has been self-employed for a year or more is earning the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

If they earn less than the NMW one month, their Universal Credit payment won’t make up the difference. But if their monthly earnings go over the NMW, their benefit payment will be reduced accordingly.

The charity says this design flaw is unfair and risks causing financial hardship as self-employed workers often earn different amounts from one month to the next.

One family helped by Citizens Advice had to visit a food bank as a result of having less money to pay their bills because of the Minimum Income Floor. In order to boost their Universal Credit payment, the father was forced to give up his computing business and stop work altogether, while the mother cut short her maternity leave to return to work.

The second report finds that employees could also be at risk of financial insecurity when they move to Universal Credit. In 2015, the Government announced a series of cuts to the benefit which will result in 2.1m working households receiving less money under Universal Credit compared to the old benefit system.

One of the biggest cuts was to the work allowance, resulting in workers seeing a reduction in the amount of hours they can work before their Universal Credit payment starts to decrease.

Citizens Advice asked 877 people across the country receiving in-work benefits how they would cope with a £100 drop in their monthly income, roughly the average amount affected households stand to lose from the reduced work allowance.

One in four workers (26%) said they would not be able to top up their income through employment even though they might need to, with 1 in 3 (33%) of those saying this is because they work full-time already.

Caring responsibilities (23%) and having a disability (18%) were other reasons workers gave for not being able to make up the £100 shortfall through work.

Universal Credit is currently being rolled out, and the number of claimants is set to double over the next year, increasing by 1.2 million. A final completion date has been set for 2022, at which point an estimated 7.2 million households will be claiming Universal Credit – 3.9 million of them in work.

The charity is calling for the Government to review both the lowered work allowance and the Minimum Income Floor to give workers better financial security and ensure they are incentivised to progress in work.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Despite the labour market changing significantly in the last decade, including a rapid rise in self-employment, Universal Credit is still better suited to those with regular jobs.

“The Government has shown it is prepared to act to improve Universal Credit as new facts come to light – an approach we strongly support.

“It now needs to look again at the design of the benefit to ensure self-employed and agency workers aren’t left at a financial disadvantage.

“It should also reassess the work allowance reductions to ensure workers who can’t increase their income through employment aren’t left struggling to make ends meet, while better incentivising those who can.

“A failure to do this risks undermining two of the core purposes of Universal Credit – to incentivise people to move into and progress in work, and provide low-income families with financial security.”

Right to holiday when employed as a temp

I’ve just been hired by a cafe as a temp covering the busy summer months. My boss says that because I’m a temp, I’m not allowed to take any holiday. Is this right?

Your boss is wrong – as an employee, you’re entitled to take paid holiday regardless of the contract you’re on.

While they can refuse to give you leave at specific times, they can’t refuse you holiday pay altogether. If you can’t take time off during your contract you should receive your holiday pay in a lump sum at the end.

How much holiday you’re allowed depends on the length of your contract, and how many hours you work.

First, check how many hours you’re entitled to by using gov.uk’s calculator. Save a copy of the calculation to refer to.

Then speak with your boss and explain that you are entitled to either annual leave or pay in lieu of your holiday – you can refer to your employment rights on the Citizens Advice website. Give them a copy of your holiday calculation too.

If your boss refuses to give you time off or holiday pay, put your complaint in writing to them.

Should your boss still not give way get in touch with ACAS, the free dispute resolution service that specialises in employment.

For help understanding your rights, approaching the discussion with your boss or taking things further, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

Citizens Advice Ipswich exposes 10 things employers say to mislead people about their rights

Asking people to become self-employed if they want to keep their jobs or telling agency staff they don’t have a legal right to sick pay are just some of the things employers say to find ways around people’s rights at work, Citizens Advice Ipswich can reveal.

The national charity has identified 10 common things that some employers say to try and mislead people about their rights.

In the 12 months to April, Citizens Advice Ipswich helped 570 people with a problem at work.

People were most likely to ask Citizens Advice Ipswich for advice on:

– Pay and entitlements, such as sick pay
– Dismissal
– Contract terms and conditions, such as whether they were workers or self-employed

All employees are entitled to basic rights such as national minimum wage, sick pay, holiday pay and fair treatment during pregnancy.

However, issues such as contract types and unclear employment status can leave workers unsure about what they’re entitled to, and allow unscrupulous employers to find ways of depriving them of pay and protections.

Now Citizens Advice Ipswich is exposing 10 things employers say that attempt to undermine people’s rights and setting the record straight on how they should be treated.

Citizens Advice Ipswich Chief Executive Nicky Willshere said:

“Unscrupulous bosses are using excuses to duck out of giving people the rights they’re entitled to.

“People with complicated working arrangements such as flexible hours, temporary or agency contracts can find it particularly difficult to work out what their rights are, allowing some bad bosses to trick them out of pay and entitlements.

“Anyone who thinks they aren’t being paid properly or are worried about things their boss has said should come to us for advice, so we can help clarify their rights and work out what to do next.”

10 things your boss shouldn’t say

If you hear any of these, get advice:

1. “You work for us, but you’ll need to pay your own national insurance contributions.”

2. “We can’t afford to pay you any more – you’ll have to go self-employed.”

Being asked to pay your own national insurance or to go self employed when nothing has changed are signs of ‘bogus self employment’ – where your boss claims you are self-employed but you’re not.

This saves employers money as they don’t pay national insurance on your wage – or need to pay you minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay or maternity pay either. Check your employment status – if you think you are an employee, ask to be treated like one. Get advice on how to approach the conversation.

3. “Your disability means you don’t do as much work as others, so we’re not going to pay you minimum wage.”

4. “You were travelling between clients – so we didn’t pay you for those hours.”

Every employee should get national minimum wage, and you should be paid for all the time you spend at work. HMRC can help resolve problems with underpayment – Citizens Advice can guide you on next steps.

5. “You’re pregnant? Great! But we’re worried you won’t cope so we’re cutting your hours.”

6. “You’re having a baby next year? We’ll need to take you off that important project now.”

Your working arrangements during pregnancy should stay the same unless you ask for a change – any changes imposed on you are discrimination. Let your boss know that you want to continue work as normal, and if they insist on changes get advice.

7. “We don’t have to pay you redundancy pay because you’re on a zero hours contract.”

Wrong – some zero hours workers are entitled to redundancy pay. You need to have been working for your employer for two years or more, usually doing at least one shift a week. Citizens Advice can help you work out if you qualify.

8. “We need to close for the next two days for stock taking, so you’ll need to take holiday.”

If your employer needs you to take holiday, they should give you twice as much notice as the length of holiday needed. If you aren’t given proper notice, you should be paid and not asked to use leave. ACAS can liaise with both parties to resolve problems with leave if a discussion with your employer doesn’t work.

9. “You work through an agency, so you don’t get sick pay.”

Agency workers should be paid sick pay by the agency. Check if you qualify for sick pay and work out your next steps.

10. “We took you off the rota, so we don’t owe you sick pay.”

If you’ve already agreed to work the hours and you’ve been absent long enough to qualify, you should get sick pay.

Citizens Advice top tips for tackling problems at work

1. Keep evidence – keep hold of letters, payslips, emails and texts, and note down a record of conversations you’ve had which could be used to support your case.
2. Talk to your boss – problems may arise from honest mistakes or misunderstanding the law. If you don’t feel confident having a conversation one to one, ask a colleague or Union rep to join you.
3. Have a more formal discussion – if the issue isn’t resolved with an informal conversation, the next step is to raise a written grievance which should give you the chance to discuss your issue formally. ACAS has guidance on what to do.
4. Get advice – if you’re still not getting anywhere, speak to Citizens Advice, your Trade Union or to ACAS. Options might include using dispute resolution to liaise with your employer, or going to an employment tribunal.

People in Ipswich are being encouraged to claim their right to paid holiday

Citizens Advice Ipswich helped 558 clients with issues related to employment between April 2016 and March 2017 and a number of these dealt with the issue of holiday entitlement and pay.

Nationwide research by Citizens Advice recently found that half of people on zero hours contracts, and 2 in 5 people on temporary contracts wrongly believe they are not entitled to paid holidays.

It also found examples of employers withholding paid holiday from carers working night shifts, workers who didn’t meet their sales targets, and staff who the employers had wrongly categorised as self-employed.

All workers are entitled to holiday pay regardless of their type of contract – whether it’s full-time, part-time, agency or casual work. You are entitled to up to 28 days holiday a year – depending how many days a week you work.

Citizens Advice nationally has helped people with this issue including one case of a man who worked in a care home for over 5 years, working 48 hours a week. His employer had previously told him that night workers are not entitled to paid holiday, and he had never questioned this until recently. When he visited Citizens Advice, it was calculated that he has incorrectly missed out on paid holiday of £8,900.

In another a woman who worked in the sales sector, was told she could only take holiday if she met her sales targets, which is unlawful.

The charity is calling on the next government to ensure workers are aware of, and are able to take, the paid holiday that they are entitled to.

Citizens Advice Ipswich Manager, Nicky Willshere said:

“Half of people on zero hours contracts, and many on temporary contracts, think they are not entitled to paid holiday. There is a lot of confusion and we have seen examples where employees have missed out through a lack of awareness of their rights.”

“With more than half of employers having staff working shifts or variable hours, people need to be more aware of their rights over paid holiday. Anyone who is unsure of their situation or thinks they are missing out should contact us for help.”

“But we also think there is a role for the next government to help people get what they are entitled to by boosting enforcement and reducing the costs of employment tribunals.”

Citizens Advice Ipswich wants the next government to:

  • Combine the enforcement of employment rights into one powerful Fair Work Authority that can tackle employers that break the rules.
  • Place a £50 cap on Employment Tribunal fees so that people who are treated unfairly by their employer aren’t denied access to justice.
  • Define self-employment in law to prevent exploitative employers restricting people’s rights, including access to the minimum wage, holiday and sick pay.

More new and expectant mums turning to Ipswich Citizens Advice for help with maternity rights at work

PRESS RELEASE 16 September 2016

Ipswich Citizens Advice is warning of a growing problem with new and expectant mums being treated unfairly at work.

New figures from the local charity reveal a 28% rise in people seeking advice on pregnancy and maternity discrimination over the past year.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is when you’re treated unfairly because you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or because you’ve recently had a child.

The findings are released as national Citizens Advice publishes analysis revealing the top maternity rights problems faced by pregnant women and new mums. The most frequent issue faced was redundancy or dismissal.

Other maternity rights issues reported by the charity were health and safety assessments being inadequate or not completed, working hours being cut and problems when returning from maternity leave.

There has also been a 100% increase in visits to the pregnancy discrimination advice pages on the charity’s website in the last year.

Ipswich Citizens Advice staff have reported cases where pregnant employees have found themselves singled out for redundancy, or had their working hours reduced for no good reason. One woman came to Citizens Advice because after working for six years for a national retail business, she asked to return to work from maternity leave on a part-time basis as her baby had health problems; her local manager was happy with this arrangement but the head office has demanded that she first resigns and then returns to work under a new contract (thus losing six years’ worth of employment rights).

Ipswich Citizens Advice is highlighting that it is against the law for bosses to discriminate against their employees by refusing to give them their maternity rights at work.

An employer can’t dismiss an employee, cut their hours or stop an employee returning to work after taking maternity leave. When you come back to work you are entitled to return to the same job within the first six months of maternity leave or to an equivalent role if you return within six to twelve months. You are also entitled to request flexible working hours and your employer needs to have a good reason to refuse your request.

Ipswich Citizens Advice is encouraging people to seek help if they think they’re being treated unfairly by their employer.

Nicky Willshere, Chief Executive at Ipswich Citizens Advice said:

“All employers should respect and uphold the rights of their staff.

It is deeply concerning that we have seen this rise in maternity discrimination cases. The last thing you need to worry about as an expectant parent is a drop in income or losing your job.

As an employee you cannot be made redundant or have your hours reduced because you are pregnant. Your employer must carry out a health and safety assessment, and on if you return to work within a year you are entitled to return to the same job or an equivalent role.

If you have concerns about pregnancy or maternity discrimination you can get free, impartial advice by calling Ipswich Citizens Advice on 0300 330 1151 or visiting us at 19 Tower Street, Ipswich.”