‘Frustrated and disappointed’: a Midas Care worker speaks out
After reading the Corporate Watch reports on MiHomecare underpaying home care staff and ‘clipping’ visits short, care worker Yun Ysi Siew contacted us to raise concerns about Midas Care, a small, family-owned company that is contracted by Cambridgeshire County Council to provide care for local residents. Here, she describes her experience working for them.
I started working as a support worker for Midas Care in April 2015 while I was finishing my studies at Cambridge. I believe that this agency is unethical. Most of my appointments are scheduled back-to-back and have to be rushed as a result. This without doubt tremendously affects the quality of care we are able to give. If we spend the full visit time on the first client, we will be late for the next appointment. In fact, over the last two months, I have never been on time for any clients except the first one of each shift.
On my first full day with Midas I was assigned to care for a new client with Alzheimer’s disease. I had not received appropriate training and was not informed by the company in advance about her needs. I was only briefed by my care partner when we were on the way to the client’s house. He told me that the client disliked male carers so I would have to do her personal care alone. I think this would be challenging to any experienced care workers, let alone a beginner. Needless to say, my first day ended with frustration and disappointment.
Although I have raised this with the company, no changes have been made. Most of the time I am still paired with the same male carer whom the client dislikes. Fortunately, we had a chance to talk with the client’s daughter one day. She told us that she had requested to have two female carers to attend her mother’s care but that the company said it was unable to make this arrangement. If the company knows that it does not have the appropriate resources to meet the client’s needs, why would it accept this client in the first place?
My hourly rate is now £7.10 for weekdays and £7.60 for weekends and public holidays. However, if travel times are taken into account, my salary would fall below the National Minimum Wage [of £6.50/hour]. I believe all new staff like me are being ill-treated by the company. This bad culture is widely practised in the care industry but most of the carers remain silent because they are afraid of losing their jobs. Most of my colleagues are migrants from Asia or Eastern Europe and have little knowledge about their rights in the UK. Even if they are aware of the exploitation, they do not know where to seek help.
And we sometimes are not given the information we need. In my job offer letter it says that if carers leave before they have completed twelve months employment, they may be charged to cover the costs of the training they have received. But I only received this letter after I had taken the three day training course! Midas left no option to me at all. And they charge staff £63.20 for the DBS check but I have since found out that the cost for an Enhanced DBS check is only £44.
I have left the company now because I am about to leave the UK to take up a job in Taiwan. But I felt I needed to speak out about what I had seen.
As it says on its website, Midas Care has been promoted from preferred to strategic partner status with Cambridgeshire County Council. Which makes me think: what about the companies that haven’t been promoted?
Corporate Watch put Yun’s experience to Midas Care, who said:
“Midas Care does not comment on individual employee cases for ethical reasons. We value all ofour support workers, and the quality of care we provide to our customers is our highest priority. We always make sure standards are met and procedures are carried out in the correct manner.
“Our staff are paid above the national minimum wage, with enhanced rates on public holidays.
“Midas Care is an equal opportunities employer and we ensure all staff are fully trained to mandatory local authority training standards before they begin working with customers.”
We could not reach Cambridgeshire County Council for comment.