Is an employee who is shortly to foster a child entitled to paid time off for this purpose?

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

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 employer 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.

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, he or she will be entitled to adoption leave and pay.