An employment tribunal has been asked to consider the status of a Hampshire foster carer claiming employment rights. Although supported by a trade union this claim would have to overcome an employment tribunal appeal from 2011 which ruled that foster carers were not workers with the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and Employment Relations Act 1999. A Court of Appeal ruling in 2015 also supported this and concluded that foster carers were not employees.
A ruling in the carers favour would entitle her to paid holiday. However, at Supported Fostering Services we already offer foster carers paid respite each year. Carers also receive a payment towards the cost of taking a child on holiday.
One word of warning. There are special tax arrangements for foster carers which recognise that they are self-employed and part of the weekly fostering allowance goes towards the additional costs of looking after a child. As a result, only a small part of the weekly fee is actually taxable income, so most foster carers don’t pay tax on their fostering allowance. As they stand these arrangements wouldn’t necessarily remain if foster carers were employees – they’d suddenly end up with a large tax bill!
You can read more about this story of the BBC New website.