Case is a massive step forward for the rights of Foster Care workers
The tribunal ruled that the level of control and mutuality of obligations meant that James and Christine Johnstone were clearly employees
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has won a landmark employee status case and the first case the union is aware of of foster care workers being recognised as employees by a UK tribunal.
Following a preliminary hearing in June, the Glasgow Employment tribunal ruled today that the level of control and mutuality of obligations meant that James and Christine Johnstone were clearly employees. It also found that the council was enforcing contractual obligations by their “no work, no pay” policy.
This marks a massive step forward for the rights of this group of workers that look after some of the most vulnerable children in our society.
Foster care workers in the UK, while paid by local authorities to look after children, had so far not been recognized as workers nor employees, denying them basic rights such as protection from unfair dismissal and protection for whistleblowing.
“This is a massive victory for employment rights for foster care workers in the UK,” said IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee. “We would encourage Glasgow City Council to accept the decision and take immediate steps to rectify their unlawful behaviour. Other local authorities should take note.”
As austerity continues to bite on local authority budgets, the amount being allocated to foster care workers is shrinking, adding more strain on these carers and the children they look after. But despite the difficulties they face, their lack of employment status had so far precluded them from seeking redress through channels that are open to workers or employees.
The IWGB launched the Foster Care Workers Branch in September 2016, with the broad objective of achieving employment rights for foster care workers across the UK.