A former Sydney teacher who now works as a human resources consultant says she has had to deal with a ‘horrendous’ lack of money and advice from her employer.
Lisa Williams, who left her job as a Sydney City School teacher after just three months in 2012, says she was forced to take on debt as a result of a ‘human resources crisis’.
The former teacher has become a social entrepreneur, working with charities and organisations to help people find jobs and raise their incomes.
Ms Williams, from the northern suburbs of Sydney, said her family, who own a business, struggled financially after the closure of the Hazelwood Golf Course in 2014.
‘We had a real problem with the lack of funds and support from our employers, especially after the golf course closure,’ she said.
‘So when we were forced to start talking to other businesses we realised that there was a very real problem.’
We ended up working with the Salvation Army and the Salvation Council, who were really helpful in talking to us about what the options were.’
Then, one of our business partners told us that we were going to have to find somewhere to live.’
And so we were like, oh my goodness, what are we going to do?’
Ms Williams said she has been living in a motel with her boyfriend and her two young children for the past three months, saving up for the deposit.
‘I’m working on the mortgage, I’m paying the rent and the bills, and I’m making sure my son and daughter get a place to live.’
Ms Williams’ former employer, who has since stepped down, said she was given a ‘very poor’ wage offer for her time in the role.
‘She was given very little information about her qualifications, she was asked questions about her family and her income,’ she told ABC News.
‘There was no support at all for her.’
The money that I was given was about $40,000 a year, it was not enough to live on and she was very upset about that.’
Ms Willis says the offer came after a meeting with the business partners who she said ‘said: ‘We understand your difficulties, we will work with you, but we don’t want to pay more than we need to, and we’ll be very patient with you’.
‘We’ve got to get on top of this and help you as quickly as possible, otherwise we’re just going to see it come back to bite us in the butt, it’s a bit of a Catch-22, she said of the meeting with her former employer.
‘My mum got to work, she got to support my family.
‘If we weren’t in the business we’d have lost everything.
‘But that’s what we got, we’ve got the money, but it’s not enough for us to survive.’
Ms Robbins, who runs a company called Family Care, said the family were given a letter of intent to buy their home in October, and Ms Williams was asked to sign the document.
‘The first two months we did have a very small house, we had to find an investment property in Sydney and we had $5,000 in it,’ she explained.
‘And then we realised we were looking at $80,000 or more.’
It was a total shock.”
They were very clear about how they were going deal with it.
‘It was clear that this was going to be the one that we had, and it wasn’t the last, so we really had to fight for it.’
Ms Davis, who was also a teacher, says the letter was ‘so rude’ and ‘demeaning’.
‘It said: ‘I will be so sorry if you feel that you have been unable to support your family or yourself during this time, as your ability to do so is limited by the financial circumstances you face.
‘In my opinion, it should be clear that you will have no choice but to make a financial sacrifice, in order to ensure that you are able to continue to live and work.’
Ms Robinson said the letter of interest was ‘demoralising’ and the offer ‘didn’t give her a chance to consider any alternative options’.
She said the company had offered to provide counselling to the family and to help them ‘solve the financial challenges that they faced’.
‘I’ve always been very much of a pragmatic person, and to offer to do something that is very, very difficult and it’s very, many times very difficult to get through, is a little bit demeaning to a lot of people,’ she added.
‘When you hear that you’re going to get a letter, you don’t think, well what’s the point?
‘You know, if we had a million dollars we’d be able to put that on the mantelpiece and put it on the wall, but to get that letter, I think, really hurts you a little more.