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    Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

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    makem
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    Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by makem on 09/11/12, 01:33 pm

    I would be grateful if members with some actual knowledge on the subject in respect of our wives from China would post any information they have from their own experience.
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by makem on 14/11/12, 11:12 am

    As nobody is prepared to help, I will post what we have found.

    I applied on Han's behalf for Job Seekers Allowance.

    I did this because I had telephoned the Job Centre Plus and asked about a pension for Han when she became of pensionable age. I was told the only way to get into the system was to apply for money. There was no way to get a 'stamp' towards a pension whilst looking for work without claiming.

    Never having been involved in the benefit system I did not know a that stage whether a claim would involve receiving money. That was one reason for starting the previous request for help and advice.

    In her application I had asked for an interpreter. In the text message giving us the time and date of the interview, no mention was made of an interpreter so prior to the interview I attempted to ask again but was told a message would be left for the team.

    Han duly attended an interview and I accompanied her. An interpreter was not available but one could be offered at an interview on another day. This would be interpretation by phone as they doubted if they could obtain face to face services.

    I decided to act as interpreter as both Han and the interviewer agreed our claim was a basic one and a learning curve. If necessary, the interview could be done again later with an interpretor if Han needed one.

    Interviewer question one, "Do you have any savings over 16,000?" Answer, "Yes".

    Interviewer, Han will not qualify for an allowance". Answer, "As expected".

    Me, "The reason we are here is because Han wants to find a job and needs as much help as possible in any way the system can assist".

    Interviewer, "Han can still apply for JSA and will obtain the other benefits but must do all the system requires. That involves attending fortnightly, sighing, proving she is looking for a job and taking any job within 90 minutes traveling distance".

    "If she is prepared to do this then she will obtain a 'stamp' towards her pension, will be placed in work experience if available and will receive the same help that any person of any age would receive if they were receiving a cash benefit. However, due to her age the 'stamp' will probably have virtually no effect on any pension she may receive"

    In conclusion, it was decided that Han would attend another brief interview to fill in via an interpreter, any things she did not understand. She would 'sign on' and accept any help available when she met her allocated team member who would in future be responsible for her. Following that interview Han would decide what course was best for her.

    By 'signing on' Han has accepted that she must prove in writing what action she had taken in the previous two weeks to obtain work. Also, ask for permission if she wants a holiday or wants to attend any education course as she would not be available for work and would lose her 'stamp' and any help she could expect.

    Although Han is a qualified engineer, has owned her own restaurant and served on the Bench in a Chinese Court, because her English is not adequate, the only jobs she could obtain help with were cleaning and in the retail trade.

    At this stage we have not yet decided whether she should continue or not. That decision will be made by Han.

    I hope this information will be of help to anyone who's wife wants a job which pays tax.

    Graham
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by Graham on 14/11/12, 12:38 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Why does Han or you, want her to have a stamp?
    Is it important fro her to get a stamp?
    Surely she will get money when she is pensionable age, by way of pension, or income support?
    If any pension received is too low, then isn't it topped up by way of income support?
    I could well be very wrong.

    Gra.
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    makem
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by makem on 14/11/12, 02:01 pm

    Graham wrote:Hi Eric,

    Why does Han or you, want her to have a stamp?
    Is it important fro her to get a stamp?
    Surely she will get money when she is pensionable age, by way of pension, or income support?
    If any pension received is too low, then isn't it topped up by way of income support?
    I could well be very wrong.

    Gra.

    Please bear in mind that before we went to interview we did not know about 'stamps'.

    Han does not want or need a stamp, she wants help and guidance in getting work either now or in the future. I also want to take the opportunity of introducing her to Government Departments and the CAB etc. These are totally foreign to her and of great interest. She may need to understand the system in later life. The stamp comes as part of the 'system'.

    In Han's case I don't think getting a stamp is important due to her age. However, a young wife's pension is related as far as I know to her contributions (stamps) either in work or out of work today.

    As Alan previously said, today a wife can get up to 60% or her husbands State pension right. I don't know if he must be dead! But the 'up to' probably relates to her stamp?

    I have no knowledge of 'topping up' except to say that as far as I know there is a basic 'living' level. How that is achieved, again, no idea.

    I understand change is on the way and there are discussions about a standard pension for all women who need to stay at home. I don't know the details but I think there will be a 'one pension for all' to make the complex rules simpler and drive down the administration costs.

    As we cannot know what will happen in the future, I would advise any young wife to get her 'stamps' in or out of work as they may still have some effect on her final pension.

    I had hoped others would contribute to answer questions such as yours and mine We will see.

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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by Graham on 14/11/12, 03:21 pm

    Hi Eric,

    OK, I see were you are coming from now.
    So her getting a stamp is of no importance at all really.
    Her is not going to get ant income support, as you have said your savings are over the threshold.

    I am a little lost as to why you are putting your selves through this government bureaucratic nightmare.
    For what I see, that there is no advancement at the end of it.

    A stamp isn't going to help her or do any thing, there is no financial reward as you have said.
    All I can see is that it's going to cost you both money, time and effort to go to the job center every two weeks.
    What a depressing place it looks.

    I generally only do some thing, if there is a benefit (not an income support benefit) but some thing that will make some thing easier for me at the end of.

    If you and Han are wanting her to "sign on" every two weeks, just to be able to be shown how to completed job applications, I just don't get it?

    Most people stay as far away from them places as humanly possible.

    Gra.
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by makem on 14/11/12, 04:57 pm

    Well Graham, Han has never been inside one before and I have never used one so have no knowledge of how they operate.

    It is an experiment, a learning curve, a finding out how the system works for two people who are curious.

    We now know for certain what the conditions are and are in a position to make informed decisions.

    There is also the possibility of Han being assisted into a work experience program and any other assistance available which were not aware of.

    As you are fully aware, China have nothing like this so, for a curious Chinese woman, experiencing the place, the staff, the interviews, the conditions, is in itself valuable.

    Han is now in the 'system' should that be needed in the future. Whether she takes advantage of that now or later is down to her. She has the knowledge now to take advantage if necessary. Even filling in the forms, making a CV is all experience and assistance is free. At any stage Han can leave the system and will be wiser. We must always remember, we speak from knowledge, however little, Han does not.

    I have always been of the opinion that if you do the research today, you will not regret tomorrow.

    Finally, we did not find it a nightmare. We had an interesting conversation with a young woman who knew her job and was able to answer our many questions.

    GBA
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by GBA on 14/11/12, 06:02 pm

    Thanks Eric. Most informative.

    GBA
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by makem on 18/12/12, 04:50 pm

    Update:

    Han has 'signed-on' twice now whilst she waited for an interview with a Mandarin speaker present.

    The Jobcentre were unable to obtain face to face service of a Mandarin speaker but arranged for translation at an interview via a telephone.

    This interview took place on Monday 17th Dec. and I was present. The translation worked ok and Han now fully understands the system and what they can do for her depending on her/our circumstances.

    She was offered a job after the interview, a job which had not yet been advertised.

    I am not being big headed when I say that if I had not persisted in asking what they could do for her, otherwise signing-on was pointless due to her age (could not achieve enough 'stamps' before retirement age), she would have been advised to sign-off and search for work herself. The usual help with CV etc was offered.

    So, 2 hours later she was interviewed by a 'foreigner' who spoke reasonable English and I was present. She was turned down because they wanted her to start work that day for 5 to 7 days a week and she told them we had pre-arranged a trip to France at the weekend.

    Han decided having had the interview that she wanted to forget about working a sign up for a further ESOL course at the college. She was assessed 1 hour after her job interview and during that assessment I received a call from the job interviewer (the foreigner) asking if she could work the following day and they would sort out the weekend work cover.

    She started work today at 1pm for 2 hours and if her English is good enough to enable her to do the job safely, she will be kept on. The interviewer was away today so she still awaits assessment. I think, having listened to her experience today, she will not have a problem.

    However, WE have a problem! Han, with my input has decided she must improve her English to obtain reasonable work. She will sign on for a 1 day, 6 hour ESOL course from January.

    I have written a letter explaining our position and offering that she works until they find a replacement if they cannot fit in her college study. I pointed out, it was the interviewers fault that she spent 300 on a course because her had refused her the job in the first instance.

    Ok, you ask after all that, what is this job?

    Well she will not be washing dishes, she will be paying tax, National Insurance and Pension contributions.

    The place where she will work (assuming they keep her on of course) is brand new, having been built inside a very large existing shop premises and opened yesterday, so she will be in on the ground floor.

    It is open 24 hours a day and membership (without contract), is 10.90 per month. She may be able to extend her hours and will be supplied free of charge, any necessary clothing.

    Guessed what the place is? The job?

    Ok, it is called 'The Gym'. It is a monster place (bear in mind we both were members of a gym), compared with the other two in the City. Han will be a 'cleaner'.

    Not a 'high' job, but a 'true' legal job with prospects. A job from which she can later get a reference while she looks for advancement elsewhere.

    Of course, all this depends on whether they keep her on, but even if not, she has gained a lot of 'legal' experience in the workplace.

    I think I remember someone remarking that attending a Jobcentre to sign-on was a waste of time.

    I have made this post to contradict that opinion and show that, certainly for wives who are relatively young, if YOU (the husband), have enough bottle to buck the system and make sure your wife gets every benefit they can offer, even if not monetary, it is well worthwhile the effort.

    Your wife will thank you I feel sure, for helping her to understand first hand, our Job Seekers assistance system.

    GBA
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by GBA on 18/12/12, 07:02 pm

    Nice one Eric. And of course congrats to Han.

    It goes to show that it can be done.

    GBA
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 18/12/12, 09:04 pm

    Eric and Han, well done. Eric just a point, having Han in the workplace will improve her English too. My wife is doing just fine, far better than had she just been to 'school'. It depends mainly if her fellow workers are English speakers though. My wife was quite lost during conversations in her tea breaks and kept quiet, now she joins in and understands everything and has a bit of fun...although she asks me what an occasional word means and still translates into mandarin to fully understand it. Your wife may understand you perfectly, she's used to your speech, but when thrown in with other people, and you're not around, it can be very daunting, this could be a reason why she wants to attend a 'school'.

    My thoughts would be, she'll learn everyday English on the job and be paid for it, even if money is not the reason, or enrol into an ESOL course and you pay for it. Another tip that I've used is to make her do things on her own...make a doctors appointment and going to get the prescription filled at the chemists after, banking, form filling, pay bills... council rates, water rates etc it's amazing how quickly routines and government procedures are picked up. I'm happy to know if something happened to me Ying could carry on with very few problems.

    Cheers,
    Chris.
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by makem on 18/12/12, 09:30 pm

    Chris Seaborn wrote:Eric and Han, well done. Eric just a point, having Han in the workplace will improve her English too. My wife is doing just fine, far better than had she just been to 'school'. It depends mainly if her fellow workers are English speakers though. My wife was quite lost during conversations in her tea breaks and kept quiet, now she joins in and understands everything and has a bit of fun...although she asks me what an occasional word means and still translates into mandarin to fully understand it. Your wife may understand you perfectly, she's used to your speech, but when thrown in with other people, and you're not around, it can be very daunting, this could be a reason why she wants to attend a 'school'.

    My thoughts would be, she'll learn everyday English on the job and be paid for it, even if money is not the reason, or enrol into an ESOL course and you pay for it. Another tip that I've used is to make her do things on her own...make a doctors appointment and going to get the prescription filled at the chemists after, banking, form filling, pay bills... council rates, water rates etc it's amazing how quickly routines and government procedures are picked up. I'm happy to know if something happened to me Ying could carry on with very few problems.

    Cheers,
    Chris.

    Yes Chris, I appear to be following along the lines you suggest.

    I was a little surprised that when Han was assessed yesterday she was still at level 2 although she had passed level 2 in reading and writing and only just failed speaking and listening by a small margin. She really needs to start level 2 again!

    As you say, she understands me and the people she associates with every day but has learned nothing in the last year, in fact, has gone backwards.

    Where she (hopefully) works, all the people speak English and the majority will be English. Her counterpart is English and taught her the 'ropes' today. She says she got on well with the language.

    Han's translator still gets quite a hammering when we are watching TV. In fact it can be quite annoying to have to keep pausing the TV to translate some word or other lol. Can you imagine us learning Mandarin in a similar manner over two years? I think I would have given up. They must be congratulated for their perseverance.
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 19/12/12, 08:56 am

    Ying has had a few jobs before she has settled down in her Aged Care kitchen situation. I have a smile when I think that she has learnt..Pea Farm Sorting Shed English,( she learnt, bugger! With the right emphases there, LOL.) Motel cleaning English and now Aged Care English! All have been immensely helpful in learning day to day speaking English. Far better than any school can teach, and the 'old' people love teaching her. In actual fact she is very popular even with the so called grumpy ones. Jobs are still reasonably easy for people, like my wife, to get here in OZ, the bosses give them a go, In fact the job she applied for was in the laundry...I made her go by herself, I feigned that I was too busy at work, LOL, she handled herself OK even with her poor English, the boss told her, 'You're not going to learn much English in the laundry...', and gave her a temporary job cleaning until, a short time later, the kitchen boss, rather reluctantly, because of her English, gave her a job in the kitchen/ dining room. Like most Chinese ladies, Ying is very hard working and always finds something to do and in the light of that he gave Ting a job there too, she has the same work ethic as her mum. Ting's English is better than her mum's but would be so much better if her friends at Uni were Australian, but unfortunately, her close network of friends are Chinese. In a way that's OK too, they can discuss their lectures more fully in mandarin I guess. She's doing OK at The University of Melbourne, one of our better uni's, so It must work. Her English writing is fine. She's done well in the 4 years here. I'm very proud of her. Like her mum, I make her fill in all forms by herself with just a little guidance, I've found after a while she just does them by herself, Ying still requires help.


    I gather , In England at least, jobs are rather hard to get unless your English is good? That's a shame, a lot of good workers are being lost. The Chinese wives are constantly trying to improve their English, like your wife Eric, mine has just about worn her translator 'to the bone', but, ever mindful of the pennies when I suggest we buy a new one, 'No, too expensive this one still works'. Just! How's my mandarin progressing? Please don't ask!

    Cheers,
    Chris.
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    Re: Work & Pensions - Law in the UK

    Post by Derek on 19/12/12, 02:53 pm

    Hi Eric

    Best wishes to Han

    Hope you both have a lovely Christmas over in France

    Derek & Tina

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