You and the Law – 17th August 2010

Short change

Last year, my father-in-law opened a joint bank account with his sister, who was looking after him.  He has now been taken into a home, and has fallen out with his sister.  The result is that we are unable to get any money from her for his upkeep.  How can we resolve this?  HM

If your father-in-law is still capable of managing his affairs, he could transfer the money from the account into a joint account with yourselves, if he wished, or sign a letter to the bank making you a signatory to the account.  If he put all the money into the account it still belongs to him, not his sister.

 It’s possible your father-in-law will be able to grant you a Lasting Power of Attorney as long as he is capable of understanding what it entails.  This would enable you to take over all his financial affairs, including his bank account.  A solicitor would be prepared to visit him in the home to explain his options.

Holiday pay

I recently started working for a local company and was told that I am only entitled to four weeks’ holiday in the first year plus bank holidays.  When I pointed out that the statutory entitlement is now 5.6 weeks, they said it was four weeks in the first year and 5.6 weeks after that.  Is that legal?  DJ

This seems to be a simple confusion over bank holidays.  The statutory minimum amount of holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks’ holiday per year, but this can include the eight bank holidays if you don’t work them but are paid for them. 

It would seem that your employer is giving you the statutory minimum in the first year if you are being paid for and not working bank holidays, and is increasing the amount in the second year.  They are therefore acting lawfully and, it would appear, generously. 

If you are not being paid for 5.6 weeks’ holiday a year you should raise a grievance internally with your employer and, if you don’t get a satisfactory outcome, pursue a claim in the employment tribunal.

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