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jaydean97

Needing advice desperately (Under constant mind games with "work")

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Hi all,

 

I'm a young lad, I'm trying to keep things as discrete as possible with my current situation.

 

After leaving college, I went to work with someone that I classified as a friend (Who's a lot older than me) who needed someone in-house to build websites, apps, provide customer service and help in other areas in return for a £500 work retainer.

 

In the beginning the work flow was small and I was happy to help as and when I can. There has never been a formal agreement signed from the outset.

 

For the £500 retainer (Which he classes as good value for money) - He currently has strict rules over me which include:

 

- Working 11 hours per day, 5 days a week.

- Provide first hand web development, online application design, mobile apps, customer service (regarding website enquiries, telephone & email based), graphic design and proof reading.

- Every day, I'm required to complete a document what says what tasks I've completed, what time i'm checking in and out of work etc.

- I'm being asked to multi-task on various projects throughout the day, whether that is working on multiple website development, apps or other time lengthly work related tasks during the day.

- More times than not, I'm being supervised based on the work that I'm completing throughout the day.

 

If I try to get time out during the day to focus on other prioritises, I'm constantly being reminded that the £500 retainer will stop if I don't spend work from at least 9-5pm per day, sometimes 8am whilst 5pm.

 

There is no form of any sort of employment or contractor agreement in place. It all began as a friendship which seems to have envolved in to a controlling situation where I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel.

 

I just feel like this is normality as this way of working has been the same for almost over 2 years now.

 

Without blowing my own trumpet, I would say I have great talents when it comes to IT. I just feel like I'm wasting away at the moment and being paid very little for the amount of work and commitment I'm putting in. All I seem to get back in return is negativity to the point I'm being told I'm not being disciplined enough with the work I'm following through on a daily basis.

 

I have no issues when it comes to committing to work, but I just feel like since there is no employment agreement in place, I just feel like I'm being taken fore-granted.

 

I wanted to see what other people's thoughts are, I'm not sure if I'm going mad or whether I'm being paid a reasonable amount for the commitment I'm putting in.

 

Thanks!

Edited by jaydean97

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Hello JD,

 

Have you always lived in this country?

 

What you describe, is in my opinion, a very controlling relationship you have with your ''friend''/''employer''.

 

To me it doesn't read right and doesn't sit right with me, as something is wrong here.

 

Are you free to come and go as you wish?


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Hello from me as well.

 

I expect people with more knowledge than me will be along to advise you, but I have a question please. How much are you being paid for the 55 hours a week and where does the £500 retainer fit in with that?

 

HB

Edited by honeybee13
Clarification.

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hello,

 

Thanks for your reply. Yeah, I am British. I was born and raised in the UK. I'm currently 21, but from what started out as a friendship and just helping someone for a little bit of extra cash, has turned in to me not being able to leave work without him complaining and using the retainer of £500/per month against me.

 

Generally, if I try and leave work for an hour or two, he will go on a massive lecture about how much of a good friend he has been to me in the past and that he only has my best interests in mind. But somehow, for the abilities I have, I just feel like it's all one big mind game for him to get work completed on cheap rates.

 

From what I've worked out, I'm currently getting £2.50 an hour. For this rate, he tells me the time I should be in work for and when I can leave. There isn't any PAYE slips nor any signed formal agreement between us both.

 

He believe's his value for money should be working a minimum 10 hours a day, 5 days a week and I am under constant super vision when I check in and check out of work.

 

Thanks for your reply, just needing closure on the matter that's all.

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Hi HoneyBee,

 

Sorry for the double post. Hopefully, I have answered your question in the post above that was directed to Bazooka. :)

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You need to be given a contract of employment or if you are self employed a contract for the work you are doing.

 

Are you paying tax ? How are you registered with tax authorities ?

 

If you are employed, you need to be paid at least minimum wage for someone aged 21, which i think is about £6 per hour.

 

You are not doing yourself any favours here in regard to longer term employment, as if you left this employer, it sounds like no employment reference would be offered, as they are not employing you on a proper basis.

 

You are being taken advantage of and should be paid a rate based on the type of work you are doing. Check with agencies that deal with IT work and you will get an idea of the normal hourly rate. It is probably more like £15 an hour.


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National minimum wage rates

 

http://m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1902


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Thanks for your response!

 

I've never been self employed. However, from the moment of leaving college, I just went to work with this 'friend'. But at the time, the workload was low and it was more flexible. As time has progressed, the whole situation has become a lot more demanding now that he has found his comfort zone if that makes some sort of weird sense?

 

I'm glad you mentioned about the employment trail for future employers. Never put much thought in to that!

 

It was just an option that I decided to go ahead with when I was younger as a way of earning cash. He classes it as a job for me. Although, I just feel so low all the time, because of the situation I'm in.

 

I never get much social time during the week and plus this is a main source of income for me at the minute. Little bit of a nightmare really!

 

Thank you for your advice though. I've been telling myself for ages that I was the one who was overthinking. It's nice to hear a little bit of reassurance from other members of the forum that I'm not going crazy.

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You need to insist that the employment is made more informal, with a contract of employment and an hourly rate of pay relevant to the type of work. If you are not registered properly for tax and not being paid at least minimum wage, your employer is breaking the law.

 

If you contact ACAS, they will tell you the employment law that applies and they might have standard letters you can send to your emloyers.

 

The current situation is not good for you or your employer.


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Thanks for your advice. I will defiantly take it onboard. I've always had an incline that something wasn't right about the situation. It just feels like normality to me and with me not being a confident person in general, I just decided to play along.

 

I've just had a quick look at the ACAS website, my mouth dropped almost when I looked at how much a 21 year old should be getting from a minimum wage perspective.

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Without wishing to be rude, you have obviously never really considered this a "job" despite the amount of time you have latterly put in. So how did you get to the age of 21 without realising that you needed a real job and a wage? And that is a serious question. I don't understand how you have got into this situation. You surely must have looked for jobs since leaving college? Haven't your family questioned why you don't have a job? Are you claiming benefits? This whole situation is so strange that there must be more to this story. How can he use a retainer against you? A retainer is exactly what it says on the packet - it retains your services, but it is not a wage and it isn't a fee for your services. Why can you not simply tell him to take a hike with his £500? Slavery is illegal in the UK - you can "quit" any time you want.

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Why on Earth are you working 11 hours a day for £2.50 an hour?

 

It sounds to me like you should be leaving this arrangement and finding a real job immediately.

 

It also sounds like you should be getting paid the minimum wage. A salary of less than half the minimum wage is not 'reasonable' for any level of commitment. Frankly I doubt it is worth staying with this employer even if you do get the minimum wage.


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You'd get £250/month on JSA.

 

Whilst your work ethic is commendable, if you are working 50 hours / week, that is 216.7 hours / month.

 

£500/month?, 50 hours/week

You are working for (£10/hour /no. of weeks in a month) or £30/13 per hour :£2.31/hour

Well less than NMW, and £1.15/ hour for what you'd get above JSA.

 

Tell him that you need a contract and NMW, or you are leaving, to go "on the dole" until you find another job.

If you do leave, ensure you claim all the benefits you are entitled to.

 

With your skills & work ethic, I hope you will find a job where you are treated properly (at least, NMW & a contract) soon.

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Hi Sangie, Thanks for your response.

 

I'm glad you've mentioned it, it's not at all rude! :) Since leaving my teens, I was at college. I've always had the inspiration to work for myself with the skills and ability I have. But from the early days of the retainer, he has always promised that if some of the projects turn out successful, that he will pay me bonuses and increase the overall retainer if he can afford to. Two years in to the retainer, the situation hasn't changed. From a family perspective, I've not had much contact with family for years so I've always had to rely on this income to see me by as and when I needed it for rent etc.

 

Ultimately, the way he thinks is that, he is keeping me on a retainer whereby he wants to make his money back on projects that he's asking me to build (The money he is spending on paying my £500 retainer) After he reaches the breakeven stage, he has mentioned he can start to increase the retainer based on the profit he's making extra. If that makes sense?

 

I've just kinda relied on the £500 monthly retainer as a way to live, but it's proving difficult. There isn't really a family presence to turn to for advice. I would love to start my own business, but that means me going without money for months on end if the retainer was cancelled.

 

Hope this clears it up a little. :)

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It is not a retainer, if you are not able to work elsewhere. If you work 50 hours a week, then there is not much time for other work.

 

This person is making a fool out of you.

 

They get you to do the work and no doubt they pocket the money they make. No wonder they are keeping an eye on you, as otherwise they would not earn any money.


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Unclebulgaria67, Think you've just hit the nail on the head there. Especially with the first opening line of your post. Very true.

 

I've always been too much of a nice person to tell people what I really think! I tend to think it more than say it. I guess I need to speak up a little from now on.

 

If anything I just needed closure on the whole situation, it's been driving me mad for ages! He's always told me that the money that he refers to as a 'Retainer' is good value for money and that he can find other people that would work on similar rates. (He's probably saying that for the sake of keeping me involved)

Edited by jaydean97

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He's always told me that the money that he refers to as a 'Retainer' is good value for money and that he can find other people that would work on similar rates.

 

He shouldn't be too put out when you tell him you are going on to JSA and looking for work elsewhere, then .......

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BazzaS, that's very true! Would love to find out if there would be any resilience if I told him I'm going to quit and get JSA!

 

This has defiantly helped me get my head together! Thanks for all your advice so far. It's all really appreciated!

 

The situation has been ongoing for that long now, that I kinda just mentally think, this situation is just normality and that I'm just getting down for nothing!

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It sounds to me like it would be sensible for you to try and find a real job in something like IT or web development. Once you've got some genuine experience and a bit of cash, it will be much easier to branch out on your own. It is great that you aspire to work for yourself but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to do it immediately!


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Thanks Steampowered! Really appreciate your feedback! Always nice to have those energy boosts from people that live in the real world! I was a little skeptical about posting my situation on a forum of any sort, as I'm sure you know, conversations can either go one way or another. I just needed closure on the situation I'm in!

 

Thank you though! :)

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Incidentally, if you have evidence of hours worked v pay rate, you can sue in the employment tribunal for the difference to take you up to the NMW. You can also report to HMRC and they'll receive a hefty fine.

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