Carers rights – ‘take care of me so I can take care of those under my care’
‘We can’t advocate or look after our own children properly if our rights aren’t recognised or protected,’ is the view of around 55,000 foster families taking care of approximately 64,000 children. As a result of the gig economy, foster carers are trying to establish workers’ rights.
Sarah Anderson is championing trying to establish that foster carers are entitled to workers’ rights such as holiday pay and sick pay.
Foster carers do an amazing selfless job. For many this is their main source of income and paid by local councils or agencies. However, they are not recognised as either an employee or a worker despite no one disputing the fact that this is a form of work. The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is bringing the claim on behalf of Sarah.
Yet the common law surrounding this is unclear, the IWGB brought a case under Scottish law for James and Christine Johnstone which resulted in them being found to be employees. However, a previous case brought under the Court of Appeal held that foster carers were not employees as there is no contractual relationship.
Time for a review?
The Taylor review recommended creating a new category which would enable this group of workers to claim workers rights. It suggested creating a fourth category of worker called ‘dependent contractors’ which is essentially providing this group with similar rights to workers.
If this case is successful it will open the flood gates for numerous foster carers looking for the benefits that are coupled with being a worker.