Advice & Support

Can I get my money back after signing up to a franchise: ask the expert

Can I get my money back after signing up to a franchise: ask the expert

I have applied for an opportunity to join a company that I have seen online. When contacted by the company, I understood that what they were offering was a franchising opportunity. I ended up paying the starting fee and attended a one-day training. So far I have not signed any contract and I do not have much information about what is included in the franchising contract. In their publicity they say they have a 6-month break clause. After researching more information about becoming a franchisee, I feel unsure about the type of business I have entered into and I’m not sure if I am legally protected and if I can stop these sort of agreement and get my money back.

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Pay has changed and maternity package is being altered: ask the expert

Pay has changed and maternity package is being altered: ask the expert

I have been employed on a series of fixed-term contracts by my employer for seven years. During this time my salary was always externally funded. Last year I was informed that I'd been made permanent. Then the source of funding for my post ran out and I was told that I was at risk of redundancy. I had already informed my boss that I was pregnant. In the period of looking for alternative employment within the organisation a post was identified for me at a lower rate of pay. The organisation's redundancy policy had always allowed employees to retain their salary if the new job was worse paid (as long as this was in the same pay band - in this case it is), but I was told this would not apply as the new job is externally funded also (this is not mentioned in the policy). Now I am being told that my additional maternity pay (organisation's maternity pay) will be based on my new lower salary too. I thought because my statutory maternity pay would be based on my old pay (the qualifying period is based on my old salary) this would be the same for the organisation's pay. I do feel as if at every opportunity I am being short changed. Is this discriminatory?

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Annual leave accrued while on sick leave: ask the expert

Annual leave accrued while on sick leave: ask the expert

I work for the NHS and I have been on long term sick leave since the birth of my second child due to complications arising from the birth. My entitlement to SSP ended at the end of April 2014 and so I requested to take annual leave in May 2014 (to maintain some income). My request was denied for the following reason: "If you can take holidays then you must be fit to return to work - what date are you intending to return?" As of yet though, I do not have a return to work date. So my question is, are the NHS correct in not allowing me to take my accrued holidays after the end of my SSP, and is there anything I can do to challenge this?

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Related tags: Holidays | Sick leave

Pregnancy rights as a self-employed person: ask the expert

Pregnancy rights as a self-employed person: ask the expert

I'm a self employed personal trainer and contracted to a gym as a 'supplier'. As part of the contract I am required to wear a uniform, but at 15 weeks, it's starting to feel uncomfortable. I asked if I could wear my own trousers and was told no, I will have to wear men's trousers. As they are gym trousers with a scrunched elastic waist band, they are still digging in and feel uncomfortable around my tummy. Can I wear my own trousers, or do I have to put up with what I've told to wear? Also what rights am I entitled to as a self-employed person? I plan to work up till my due date and return after four months, but I'm now afraid I'll be forced to leave.

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Job taken away on maternity leave: ask the expert

Job taken away on maternity leave: ask the expert

I am due to return to work in six weeks after 30 weeks maternity leave. On Monday I went for a meeting with the manager and I was told that my role was no longer needed. Before I went on leave I was the sole financial and administration person for the company. I hired cover for the time I was away. However, after six months her contract was ended and she was not replaced. Instead my manager and his wife took on the responsibilities and also came in on the weekends to do some of the work. I have now been told they will continue to do this so I am no longer needed. They have, however, offered me one day a week doing filing. This is not a suitable alternative considering I was returning to do a full five days a week. My employer hasn't actually used the words redundant and I think he is trying to get me to hand my notice in. Where do I stand? Can he do this?

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