Client stories

Employment Problem

Jean (not her real name) visited the Cambridge & District CAB twice in the 2015, in January and December, regarding holiday pay owed to her by her former employer.

Jean had not taken any leave in the current year and when she left her former employer had applied a convoluted (and incorrect) method to work out the holiday pay which was owed to her. Jean realised that she had been underpaid by over £300.

We advised her of her legal rights regarding payment for untaken holiday and helped to write a letter to the Chief Executive of the company, stating the potential legal implications that could arise should this issue not be resolved. After months of dispute, the company finally paid the Jean the correct amount they owed her.

She told us that the ‘legal help and emotional support’ we provided was important to her success in her grievance, as well as the ‘positive action’ by her adviser. She added that although she would ‘hope to not need us (the CAB) again, but know I always can,’ and has recommended the CAB to others already.

In conclusion she said that ‘it’s good that there is a balance between the employer and employee’ is glad that the CAB helped her to resolve her issue after a long dispute.

Goods & Services Problem

Kathryn phoned the Cambridge & District CAB in December 2015, having left her job the previous month due to stress. Like many working people, she had not been unemployed for many years and was unsure what benefits she could claim.

She rang up and spoke to one of our advisers on our AdviceLine asking first, what she could claim whilst unemployed and then, whether she could take on a lodger in her Housing Association home. Kathryn said that previously, she felt ‘too proud to apply for benefits’ after working almost all of her adult life. She, like many, she had been ‘put off’ applying for anything. After being given some help over the phone and having been directed to the relevant sections of the CAB online Advice Guide, she felt confident enough to proceed without coming into the bureau to see an adviser face to face.

She said that following the initial telephone advice, she found the information ‘very easy to access’ and did not need an appointment because she ‘was comfortable enough on a computer’. However she said that those who are not as confident with technology could still get the face to face assistance.

She described the people at the CAB as ‘lovely’, ‘very helpful’, and ‘very supportive’ with ‘great communication.’ When asked if she’d visit again, Kathryn replied ‘definitely.’ And when asked if she would recommend the service to others, she replied ‘absolutely.’

When we spoke to Kathryn in early February 2016, she told us that as a result of our help she had received ‘housing benefit and other contributions.’ However having been unemployed for three months, had been offered temporary work starting in mid-February at the University of Cambridge, and hoped it will lead to a permanent position in the future.