Sun | Apr 23, 2017

His children cut my salary

Published:Thursday | August 7, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Q I am in an unfortunate predicament. I am a middle-age woman and I have had one employer for 25 years. After my penultimate year of university, I took a leave of absence in order to earn money to pay for my final year.

After months of searching for a job, I found employment as a secretary, but after three months, a friend said a returning resident in her community was looking to hire someone for a post as a personal assistant/help-around-the-house job. The returning resident said he trusts me. In addition, he offered me the job and made me an offer I could not refuse. I soon had enough money to cover my final year's school fee, but I continued the job until I enrolled again so I could have extra money.

I did not work for him during school time, but he was nice enough to enquire about me during the school year. I had a great final year and got a few job offers, but he outbid all the job offers and, since I had a student loan to pay off and he offered housing, I decided to work for him again until I was free of the loans. He treated me like family and I got very comfortable in the job as the money was very good. Therefore, I decided against pursuing my career path for which I was qualified. I hope it was the right decision.

I am in the same job, but problems have surfaced. I am now more of a caregiver that he has grown old and is very sickly. I love this man as if he were my own father and I have always been there for him, but my situation has become complicated. His children are beginning to control his finances and they have a problem with my compensation. I do not believe it is any of their business as it has been our arrangement. I have lived with this man longer than his children have, and yet some want to reduce my pay while others just want me out. The children have cut my salary significantly. I do not want to create a big fuss and seem like I am here just for the money, but this is getting ridiculous. What should I do? And what can I do?

A Many persons do not pursue a job they are qualified to do and instead do what they like or what is available or what pays well. You made a decision some 25 years ago to be a personal assistant and housekeeper. You should not feel stupid or inadequate for making that choice. In any case, you find your job satisfying.

You must be congratulated for caring for your employer as if he were your father. Obviously you are not doing the job for the money only.

The children have no right to cut your salary without consulting you. In any case, they are not your employer and they do not have the power of attorney for their father. You need to have a serious and frank talk with them about your pay package. Please avoid, as far as possible, upsetting your ill employer. However, if you do not make any headway with the children, then you will have to inform your employer. If that fails, you will need to consult your lawyer to get the children to reverse their unilateral decision.

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