Foster care policy


The University is committed to the advancement of equality, diversity and inclusion for all of its staff and to developing working practices and the People Directorate policies that support work-life balance. Reflecting this commitment, and the University’s guiding principle of connectedness, the University wishes to recognise the value to the community made by foster parents and the commitment of employees who provide foster care for children.

1.2 Aims

The aims of the policy are to explain:

  • The provisions of foster care leave
  • Who is eligible, and
  • How to apply.

1.3 Scope and Interpretation

There is no statutory right to paid time off for employees who foster a child, except in a "foster to adopt" situation (see section 1.4).

To be eligible for University foster care leave, employees must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service.

Foster Care Leave is available for fostering children through the Local Authority or other recognised agency and normally does not apply to the short or long-term care of children who are family members. However, foster care leave may also be available to employees where children of very close relatives would otherwise have to be fostered or go into local authority care for a period not normally less than 6 months.

Where a couple, including same-sex couples, are fostering a child and both are employees, only one partner will be eligible for foster care leave. 

1.4 Types of Foster Care Leave

1.4.1 Foster to adopt

If the employee is a local authority foster parent who is also approved as a prospective adopter and a child is placed with the employee in a "foster to adopt" situation, the employee will qualify for adoption leave and pay should they meet all the eligibility criteria (see adoption/surrogacy policy). 

1.4.2 Long-term Fostering Care Leave (not normally less than 6 months)

Where an employee enters a formal long-term fostering arrangement (normally no less than 6 months), the University will allow a maximum of 2 days paid leave to support staff make the necessary arrangements to receive the child being fostered, and to settle them into the family home. This will be subject to a maximum of 4 days paid leave per year.

1.4.3 Short-term Fostering Care Leave

There is no provision for paid leave to support those staff undertaking short-term (less than 6 months’) fostering care for children. However, all employees with at least 26 weeks' continuous service have the right to request flexible working. Employees who are foster parents could use this right to request a working pattern that fits with their caring responsibilities. The University is not obliged automatically to agree to a request for flexible working, but must deal with the request in a reasonable manner and may refuse it only if one of a specified list of business reasons applies to the specific circumstances. See Flexible Working Policy.

1.5 Applying for Foster Care Leave

If you require leave for foster care, you should notify your line manager at the earliest opportunity and provide relevant documentation in evidence of the arrangement. Your leave will be recorded on your annual leave card.  

1.6 Other Supportive Policies

The policies listed below may also support staff fostering children both on a short-term and long-term basis.

Date last reviewed: September 2016