Wednesday 8 March 2017 1:11 pm

Budget 2017: £5m in returnship funding pledged to help people coming back from career breaks

The focus on helping women back into work following a career break has been given a boost with the announcement £5m will go towards extending return to work schemes to all levels of management.

The funding will also go into industries where women are underrepresented, chancellor Philip Hammond said today in his Budget.

The chancellor said there was now a higher proportion of women at work than ever before in the UK. Hammond has also announced a £5m spend on measures to mark the 100th anniversary next year of the legislation that granted women the vote. 

A further £20m goes towards supporting the campaign to stamp out violence against women and girls.

Read more: "Returnships" will boost women in work, says cross-party MPs group

The government will also consult in the summer over parental leave for the self-employed.

The announcement follows the publication of the Women and Work All Parliamentary Group (APPG) into women returners from January, which made a series of recommendations including putting in place paid "returnships" with guaranteed training, advice and support.

Conservative co-chair of the APPG, Flick Drummond MP, said: "If we want to be a happier and more successful country, we must appreciate that some people take time out of the workplace for either caring responsibilities or to pursue other interests."

Women must not be penalised for this, and this new funding will help to ensure that they aren’t.

"I would now like the funding to be extended to other areas where there are staffing shortages and it is difficult to return to work, including teaching, nursing and medicine," she added.

Returnships help those women and men who come back to work after a break, often after caring for children, though also for other reasons such as caring for elderly relatives.

The CIPD said last year that caring for both children and older loved ones is "negatively affecting the employee's ability to earn, along with restricting opportunities for career progression".

Read more: Vodafone launches recruitment programme for women on career breaks