I applied to a job on a government scheme made for young people who have struggled to get a job and found this fabulous internship that offered London’s living wage on the government universal credit website.

However now I’m being paid minimum wage for 18-21 which is substantially less. I was never told that it would be different and am now being told it was a ‘glitch’ by HR except why didn’t they warn me if they knew about it.

The problem is it does say minimum wage on my contract. I’m not sure what to do as it’s my first proper job and its a great opportunity for the industry I want to go into but I’m so frustrated because I turned down two higher paying jobs thinking this paid more.

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    I’ve spoken with my HR guidance person and my universal credit advisor and neither seem to want to help. I’m just so upset because I applied for a £10.85/hour job and turns out it’s £6.56 :/
    – soop
    Aug 2, 2021 at 14:45
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    This is true and tbh I really enjoy the job as well, coworkers are fantastic and it’s perfect experience for my future so at least there’s that. That being said I’m going to contest it since its the government paying my salary not the company so I’ve no sympathy for them 😅
    – soop
    Aug 2, 2021 at 18:16
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    "I turned down two higher paying jobs thinking this paid more." Have you reached out to the other offerees and stated as such?
    – WernerCD
    Aug 3, 2021 at 3:12
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    I having trouble reconciling these two statements: "I was never told that it would be different" and "The problem is it does say minimum wage on my contract". If you were given the contract, and your contract said it was minimum wage, then you were told it would be different. Unless by "told", you literally mean "verbally communicated". Aug 3, 2021 at 15:10
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    – Lilienthal
    Aug 6, 2021 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


You've done the right things here, in that you've queried the discrepancy with your employer, and asked for help from your advisor. From a legal position, adverts aren't legally binding - when you sign a contract, you are formally agreeing to the terms and conditions in the contract, and if that says "minimum wage" then minimum wage it is. I appreciate this sucks from your point of view, but this does seem like an honest mistake, and people do make mistakes.

While you've accepted this job, there's nothing stopping you seeing if the roles you've turned down are still available, and if they are resigning in a professional manner from your current job to take one of those instead.

Stepping back a bit, there's a good rule of thumb in life: if it seems too good to be true (e.g. a job is paying 60% more than similar jobs in the same location and industry), then it probably is too good to be true and you should be wary of things like that.

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    While I agree with all of that, it may be worth it to check in with a union or other legal expert. While ads are not legally binding, there are regulations about them and you can't just advertise things that then are different.
    – Tom
    Aug 3, 2021 at 5:48
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    There's also another very important rule: read carefully what you are signing. Any discrepancy with the advertised salary should be queried before signing the contract. By putting your signature on the contract, you are agreeing to what is in the contract.
    – Aleks G
    Aug 3, 2021 at 9:38
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    This is exactly why... I read every line of every contract, and if it's in discrepancy, I threaten to walk out until it's updated. Because they may not be able to update it, sure, you might miss out on an opportunity, but you also will likely be stuck in a situation you didn't expect if you do sign a bad contract...
    – schizoid04
    Aug 3, 2021 at 13:59
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    @Tom The add almost certainly said something like "Up to $blah", "Up to $blah based on experience", or something, and OP just got tunnel visioned into that final number and ignored the important bits. OP seems young, and is probably not experienced, and perhaps didn't think to negotiate this bit before signing the contract.
    – SnakeDoc
    Aug 3, 2021 at 19:32
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    Guys, why you're right about reading contracts, don't forget the situation the OP is in. He's not in a position to negotiate contracts. I've got lots and lots of things changed in my last contract as well, but I wasn't applying for a government scheme for people struggling to find a job. So take it easy on the OP. He's unlikely to have much experience and is unlikely to be in a position to say "no" or negotiate.
    – Tom
    Aug 4, 2021 at 6:06

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