Mirfield care home boss to give all staff a £1 an hour pay rise

A care home boss wants to celebrate – and reward – his staff and show young people that working in care can be a great career choice.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 11:00 am
Staff at Hopton Cottage Care Home. From the left, Taiyeba Akhtar, head chef Lee Starkey, advanced care assistant Lindsey Massey, laundry operative Lynsey Holmes, senior carer Bethaney Parkinson, advanced carer Chelsea Coates and finance director Rory Martin.

Joseph Martin, a director of family-run Hopton Cottage Care Home in Lower Hopton, Mirfield, wants to make a difference to the lives of care workers.

Hopton Cottage Care Home was purpose-built and opened in 2012. It currently has 60 residents and 92 staff.

Joseph, 41, turned the spotlight on his staff to thank them for all their hard work and dedication during the pandemic.

Carer Joanne Clough with Margaret Hodgson.

But he was also only too aware that his staff were facing financial hardships not of their own making.

“Like a lot of care homes we have a fantastic team of hard-working people who kept many people alive during the pandemic,” he said.

“But after the last two years of Covid to get a big National Insurance tax rise for low-paid care workers was a massive kick in the teeth.

“We felt we couldn’t go into a new post-Covid era on the back of this latest blow. We had to do something.”

Brian Hodgson with team leader Rachel Lockwood.

That “something” was to give all his team members a £1 an hour across the board pay rise. On top of that, each member of staff will get their birthday off with an extra annual leave day.

“This is one big thing and one little thing but it does make a real difference to our staff,” said Joseph.

“Rather than just give them 10p or 20p, we went for £1 an hour.

“It’s a thank you – the opposite of the message which the Government has given out to care workers.”

The company also threw a big party for staff with a free bar and is also looking at buying a caravan in North Wales for staff to book free holidays.

Hopton Cottage has care workers from the age of 18 to 70 and Joseph wants to attract more young people.

He says the Government making Covid vaccinations mandatory for care home workers has not helped recruitment but he is a strong advocate for the vaccine and is keen to dispel social media myths.

Joseph said recruitment was a problem for the industry, though his business had always aimed to pay more than the minimum and he was proud of how staff had helped the home build a good reputation.

“Working in care doesn’t have to be low-grade, it can be rewarding and fun,” he said.

“It’s important we champion the other side.

“It’s not all low pay and poor hours.

“We can split shifts, for example, so it’s not always 12 hours on, 12 hours off.

“There is some night work, of course, but we can mix up shifts and make it more family-friendly.

“We have all heard horror stories about care homes because they make good stories for the media.

“But I don’t think the public gets a fair perception of what modern care homes are really like.”