Equal Pay

Effects of unequal pay

It is essential that all employers following these rules ensuring that both men and woman are treated equally at all times bringing a fairer work life balance and a fairer society. 

What to do if you think something is wrong?

You should first contact your employer in writing to establish whether the pay between genders is fair and un-compromised.  A difference is pay does not always indicate unfair or unequal pay thus an employer has the opportunity to provide a legitimate reason for the difference.

If you have any questions around equal pay or need further information, then the Wellness Centre can help.

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Grief & Loss

What is grief?

At the Wellness Centre we understand the importance of Grief and loss and how we as individuals relate to this.  

Written by Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. below is a helpful insight to grief and dealing with this. 

Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss—and the more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be.

Even subtle losses in life can trigger a sense of grief. For example, you might grieve after moving away from home, graduating from college, or changing jobs. Whatever your loss, it’s personal to you, so don’t feel ashamed about how you feel, or believe that it’s somehow only appropriate to grieve for certain things.

The grieving process

Grieving is a highly individual experience; there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and how significant the loss was to you.

Inevitably, the grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

How to deal with the grieving process

While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.

  1. Acknowledge your pain.
  2. Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
  3. Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
  4. Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
  5. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
  6. Recognize the difference between grief and depression.

The grieving process

Denial
“This can’t be happening to me.”

Anger
Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”

Bargaining
“Make this not happen, and in return I will .”

Depression
“I’m too sad to do anything.”

Acceptance
“I’m at peace with what happened.”

If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. However, not everyone who grieves goes through all of these stages—and that’s okay. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go through each stage in order to heal. In fact, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. And if you do go through these stages of grief, you probably won’t experience them in a neat, sequential order, so don’t worry about what you “should” be feeling or which stage you’re supposed to be in.

General & Emotional Symptoms of grief

While loss affects people in different ways, many of us experience the following symptoms when we’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal—including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious or spiritual beliefs.

Shock & Disbelief

Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know they’re gone.

Sadness

Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.

Guilt

You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.

Anger

Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry with yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.

Fear

A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.

Physical symptoms of grief

We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Lowered immunity
  • Weight loss or weight gain Aches and pains
  • Insomnia

Seek support for grief & loss

The pain of grief can often cause you to want to withdraw from others and retreat into your shell. But having the face-to-face support of other people is vital to healing from loss. Even if you’re not comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. While sharing your loss can make the burden of grief easier to carry, that doesn’t mean that every time you interact with friends and family, you need to talk about your loss. Comfort can also come from just being around others who care about you. The key is not to isolate yourself.

Turn to friends and family members. Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. 

Accept that many people feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who’s grieving. Grief can be a confusing, sometimes frightening emotion for many people, especially if they haven’t experienced a similar loss themselves. They may feel unsure about how to comfort you and end up saying or doing the wrong things. But don’t use that as an excuse to retreat into your shell and avoid social contact. 

Join a support group. Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers, or see the Resources section below.

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Work Life

Supporting You at Work...

Work-related issues no matter how small can have a huge impact on health as a whole.  Physical and emotional impact often comes hand in hand and before long, you find yourself unable to cope.  There are many reasons for issues in the work place including, stress, violence and aggressive from colleagues, bereavement, workplace injuries and not being happy in the job.  

We offer a wide range of tools to help support and manage this. 

The Equal Pay Act 1970 is now governed by the Equality Act 2010 and is covered under the guidance of the Equal Pay Statutory Code of Practice.

In principle both men and woman should be treated equally in terms of contract terms and conditions.  This includes hour rate, pay rises, renumeration and bonuses.  The act also covers pensions.  In essence, men and woman doing the same job should be treated in the same way. 

According to the Act, there are three different kinds of equal work. 

1. ‘Like work’ – the same or broadly similar, provided that where there are any differences in the work, they are not of practical importance

2. ‘Work rated as equivalent’ – different, but which is rated under the same job evaluation scheme as being work of equal value

3. ‘Work of equal value’ – different, but of equal value in terms of factors such as effort, skill and decision-making.

Making sure you feel valued and equalled in the workplace is vital to a good working relationship.   Within this section, you will find links to many topics that you encounter in your working life.

Learn about issues

Taking Children Abroad

What's best...

At the Wellness Centre, we recognise that separation and divorce brings huge impacts for family life.  Making those arrangements that do not upset either party but most importantly show your children that they are your priority can sometimes be hard.   Holiday time is always difficult when trying to work out whose turn it is for the children or where you can go without it causing an issue. 

In England and Wales both parents have parental rights.  This means that neither parent can take their children out of the UK without the others consent.  That said, its always easier to make life more pleasant for everyone concerned and especially for the children.   If a child is of an age where they can make a decision, then why not ask them how they feel, what would they like to do.  

In England and Wales if parties cannot compromise, the result can be a court action and then the decision can be taken out your hands.   Wellness Centre top tips for making that holiday decision. 

  • What’s the best for your child. 
  • When are you travelling – does it suit all parties. 
  • How long are you away for. 
  • Where are you going and what type of holiday. 

Child Arrangement Orders are slightly different and allow the parent who the child lives with to take that child outside the UK for up to 28 days without consent.

UK GOV AdviceChild Law AdviceCitizens Advice (IRE)Reunite

Regional Laws

Scotland

The Child Abduction Act 1984 governs family holidays and reminds both parties of the importance of reaching agreements in the best interests of the child before legal action has to be taken. 

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, The Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 reminds all parents that to remove a child even for a short holiday without parental consent is a criminal offence under the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

Republic of Ireland

Anyone with parental rights must have permission from the other parent before they can take a child on holiday.  Failure to comply is a  criminal offence. 

Child abduction – steps to take

Children taken outside the UK without permission are considered to be abducted and are covered under the Child Abduction Act 1984.  Below is advice that you should follow:

  • Contact the police
  • The Hague Convention– If the country is member of the Hague Convention then parents and guardians should contact the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU).
  • Contact the Foreign Commonwealth Office – they can put you in touch with specialist lawyers and help with travel information and plans.

In England and Wales if parties cannot compromise, the result can be a court action and then the decision can be taken out your hands.   Wellness Centre top tips for making that holiday decision. 

  • What’s the best for your child. 
  • When are you travelling – does it suit all parties. 
  • How long are you away for. 
  • Where are you going and what type of holiday. 

Child Arrangement Orders are slightly different and allow the parent who the child lives with to take that child outside the UK for up to 28 days without consent.


Tenancy Rights

Know your rights...

Tenancy rights vary depending on the type of agreement that you have.  However, it is important to know your rights and what to do in the event of a dispute. 

At the Wellness Centre we believe everyone should know the basic rights that should be afforded to them as a tenant and these include. 

Your right to 

  • live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
  • have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends – and in some circumstances have it protected 
  • challenge excessively high charges
  • know who your landlord is
  • live in the property undisturbed
  • see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
  • have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years

If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.

If you do not know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined If they do not give you this information within 21 days.

All terms of the rental should be in the tenancy agreement and this includes your right to access repairs, your rights in terms of rental charges and the right to any appeals.   

As a tenant your main responsibility is to pay your rent in the amount agreed within the timescales set out in your agreement. You also have a responsibility to maintain your property and this could include minor repairs right down to changing a light bulb.  Within all tenancy agreements, there should be a clause which details landlord access to any repair work. This should be carried out within a reasonable time and it is always recommended that repairs requests are put in writing which keeps both parties within the four corners of the tenancy agreement. 

Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 also implies certain legal obligations. This is a legal obligation that the landlord has to maintain the structure and exterior of the property as well as ensuring gas appliances, pipes, ventilation and electrical work is all up to the legal codes required for a safe tenancy. 

Making sure you have a long and happy tenancy depends on the relationship you have with your landlord.  Having a good relationship ensures a happy tenure and a good relationship when it comes to repairs and works to your property.   You must consent to a landlord entering your property and the landlord must provide you notice of same which is usually a minimum of 24 hours.  That said, if it was an emergency, common sense would prevail and immediate access would be required.  If a landlord enters your premises without permission, this could be deemed as harassment and they could be prosecuted. 

Scottish RightsN Ireland RightsRepublic of Ireland Rights

Power of Attorney

Protecting yourself long term

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.

This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).

You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA.

You do not need to live in the UK or be a British citizen.

There are 2 types of LPA:

  • health and welfare
  • property and financial affairs

You can choose to make one type or both.

Creating a power of attorney is easy to do. Some people choose to go through a solicitor and this is always sensible if there is the issue of family breakdown or any potential challenges to a power of attorney. 

If you decide however to do this yourself, the fee is just £82 per type of attorney. If you decide to appoint for both health and welfare coupled with property and financial, the cost would be £164.  A simple to understand and follow form requires to be completed and then the document must be registered.

Remember until such times as the form is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, it will not be legally recognised.

UK GOV Power of Attorney

Wills – Protect your Family

A study by ‘Which” showed that around 54% of adults in the UK have no will.  If you consider that most of our life is spent at work, more often than not, large pots of money or assets are left behind upon death.

Without a will, life becomes complicated and may involve the Crown.  Those who are not related by blood are often left out and family feuds can escalate.  Nothing brings out the worst in a person than the death of a loved one so making a will ensures that your wishes are met to the letter.  Did you know that without a will, a persons assets are broken up in a specific order often leaving someone who may not have been family but closer than family out in the cold.

Information on intestacy

3 Ways to protect your family

1. Do it yourself

This document must be in writing and signed by two independent witnesses.  There are many will templates available in the marketplace and the links below will assist should you decide on a Do It Yourself approach. 

In order for a will to be valid, it must be signed by yourself willingly and knowingly, in the presence of two entirely independent witnesses.

Will Templates

2. Hire a solicitor

If your estate carries large assets and complex wishes, you may wish to consider using a solicitor.  They take all the hassle out of making a will for you and will hold the will in their offices if you wish.

Find A Solicitor

3. Free wills month

Every year, many charities host free wills Months which gives you access to a solicitor if you are over 55 who will draft up your will and finalise this.  This carries a small fee which is a donation to a chosen charity upon death.

Learn More

Elderly Care

Twilight years

Looking after our loved ones as they reach their twilight years is something that everyone knows will come in time.  The Office for National Statistics puts UK life expectancy at 79.2 years for men and 82.9 years for women.  As we get older and finances are pushed to the limit, its natural to worry about what you have for the future or what you are leaving behind for your loved ones. 

Being able to make decisions for yourself and on your own terms is something that many hold dear.  However, being ill prepared will cause problems in the long term.  At the Wellness Centre we want to give you all the help and advice we can for your long term future and what you can do to protect yourself as you get older.


Domestic Violence

Speak Up

Domestic violence refers to physical, sexual or emotional abuse and controlling behaviours, usually by a current or former partner, but also by a family member or carer.

Domestic violence is rarely a one-off occurrence. A survivor usually experiences many different forms of violence during one incident. Violent acts are often repeated throughout and sometimes after the relationship.

Taking those first steps to tackle domestic violence is the scariest thing that most people can do. Many people continue in a circle of domestic violence due to fear which leads to a feelings of despair, being trapped and a sense of helplessness.  If you are one of those who feel like this then please take some comfort that you are not alone. There are so many woman and men in todays society who fear that by taking those first steps to safety, they will continue to be trapped in a life of misery because they worry the abuser will find out.

Stop the cycle

At the Wellness Centre, we recognise how difficult it is to stop the cycle of abuse.  Its easy for someone to tell you that you should not put up with it or that they cannot understand why you are living the life you are because ‘they wouldn’t’ but the truth is, they have never been in your situation and therefore they have absolutely no idea the terror, fear and loneliness that you feel very day of your life. 

If you fear for your life or your children’s safety then the first port of call should always be the emergency services/police but if you are not at that stage but you are at the stage where you need to get out of the situation you are in then there are lots of avenues available for you with confidential help and guidance along the way.

England & Wales

Many forms of domestic abuse are regarded as criminal offences, such as assault, harassment, sexual abuse and threatening behaviour.  Many forces now have a dedicated Domestic Violence unit which gives much needed support and advice to victims.  Following an allegation of domestic violence, the police and the Crown prosecution services will act, investigate and deem the next course of action. 

Victims of domestic violence can take steps for immediate safety including injunctions and protective orders against their abusers.

Scotland, Ireland & Northern Ireland

The Domestic Abuse Act 2018 came into force in Scotland on 1st April 2019, making all domestic abuse towards a partner, psychological or physical, a criminal offence including  “coercive control”..  Coercive control is probably one of the worst forms of domestic violence and this forms a pattern of emotional and psychological abuse.  A victim can often feel intimidated controlled and fear for the life of themselves and those closest to them. The Act was formalised in Ireland in May 2018 offering similar protection to those experiencing domestic abuse in Ireland.  Northern Ireland changes its policy to protect victims of domestic violence in 2019.


Consumer Rights

Faulty item?

At the Wellness Centre we know all too well how disappointed you can feel when a purchase goes wrong whether it be poor quality items or faulty items.  Many shoppers have no idea who they can turn to or what they can do when things go wrong. 

Over the years, there have been a great deal of guidance and legal frameworks to help but these have also proved to be a minefield.  The Consumer Rights Act now replaces a number of laws making relationships between customer and business easier to understand and easier to act on if things go wrong.

The Law

Since the inception of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, it has been noted that the act awards initially in favour of the customer if an issue or fault arises. The act states that should a fault arise within the first six months, it is presumed that the supplier is responsible for this fault. If an issue comes to light after the first 6 months, you are still protected under the law, however you must have evidence to demonstrate that the issue was not through your own fault or negligence.

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers any goods or services purchased after October 2015.  The act outlines what is expected of businesses:

  • Satisfactory: Good should be of reasonable quality 
  • Fit for purpose: Suitable for the use intended. 
  • As described: Be a credible match for the described goods for sale. 
  • Reasonable care and skill: That the right person is selling the goods and can establish the reliability of same.

Republic of Ireland

Consumers in the Republic of Ireland are protected under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. There are five main principles under this act and in line with the previous Consumer Acts.  These are:

  • Merchantable Quality: Without fault or damage, priced fairly and of a good quality. 
  • Fit for purpose: fit for intended use.  
  • As described: Be as close a match as possible to the described item. 
  • Necessary skills: The professionals providing the service have the relevant skill set. 
  • that the professional hired to provide the service has the relevant experience.
  • Proper care and diligence: The service provided meets the expected standards.

Consumer Rights (ENG & WAL)Consumer Rights (SCO)Consumer Rights (IRE)

Carers

A rewarding experience

For many carer for someone they love is a rewarding experience but this can also have a huge impact on both your physical and mental health.  There are also financial implications to consider when looking after a loved one. 

All too often a Carer puts everyone else before them.  They see their one goal as providing care to their loved one and they lose sight of the importance of themselves.  This has a huge impact on their day life and can lead to social isolation, relationship breakdowns and ultimately health problems.

Financial Assistance

Individuals who provide care support may be eligible for carers allowance.  To establish if you are eligible for financial assistance, a carers assessment form will require to be completed.  This simple straight forward form will provide the appropriate agencies with the relevant information to allow an informed decision to be made and to establish any financial benefits available to you. 

The criteria for Northern Ireland is slightly different with Republic of Ireland being means tested.

UK Financial Support

You could get £66.15 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits.

How Much Time?

You should provide care for at least 35 hours per week, you don't get paid extra for caring for multiple people.

Who is Eligible?

Carers allowance is available to those 16 years and above.

Related & Non-Related

You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

GOV UK EligibilityNorthern Ireland EligibilityCitizens Advice

Emotional Support

The emotional impact on carers is all too often forgotten. As the carer puts the needs of others before, at the fore, their own health and wellbeing can sometimes take a back seat.

Speak to your GP

If you’re finding caring tiring or difficult, it can help to tell your GP you’re a carer and discuss the impact this is having on your own health. They will be able to offer you advice and support. You may be entitled to additional health services such as a free annual flu jab if the person you care for has a serious or ongoing health problem.

Ask for help

Don’t feel like you need to do everything yourself. If you have relatives who live nearby, try to be honest with them if you need a hand or want to share the responsibility. As a carer, you’re entitled to a carer’s assessment from your local council. This can help you identify support for you in your caring role.

Sleep and eat well

Although it can be difficult, try to make sure that you eat healthily, stay active and get enough sleep.

Respite Care

Respite allows a Carer to have some me time.  Whether this be spending time with their family or having that much needed break respite does not signal weakness. Respite is recognising that to be able to provide the best possible care to your loved one, you need to give yourself that best possible care too.  Respite care provides support for your loved one whilst giving you a break from caring. Read more about respite care and how to arrange it.

Learn More

Caring Charities

There are  many charities packed full of online resources and helpful advice and these can be accessed at any time day or night.  These online resources have links to local supports in your area including walking groups and social activities.