Government consults on return-to-work support


The government has launched a call for evidence on support for individuals returning to the workplace after taking time out to care for children and family members.

The government has called for employers and individuals to share their experiences in order to inform its plans for supporting those returning to work following a career break.

It is seeking information about the barriers individuals may face upon returning to work, the support available to them, and employers’ experiences of recruiting individuals who are returning to employment following a career break.

The call for evidence is directed at employers, individuals who have returned to the workplace after time out to care for children or family members, individuals who are currently caring for children and family who would like to return to work, as well as organisations or individuals with knowledge of returners.

The call for evidence closes on 23 October 2017. It forms part of the government’s commitment to help individuals back into the workplace following a career break. This includes a £5 million fund for return-to-work programmes, which was announced as part of the Spring Budget 2017.

The Government Equalities Office has announced four return-to-work schemes across the public sector, which are designed to support both men and women who have taken career breaks.

In October, Civil Service HR will introduce a return-to-work scheme for 50 people across the UK. The paid placements, which will run for between six weeks and six months, will provide learning and development opportunities.

The Local Government Association will offer 100 return-to-work placements for social workers across three regions in England from November 2017. This follows its pilot scheme, Come back to social work.

The Department for Health will run a return-to-work scheme with Health Education England to support allied health professionals who have taken a career break, including physiotherapists, podiatrists, dieticians, and radiographers. The scheme, which expands on an existing return-to-work programme for nurses, will be open to 300 individuals.

In addition, the Government Equalities Office intends to work with the Department for Education to develop a return-to-work programme for teachers.

Anne Milton, minister of state for apprenticeships, skills and women, said: “We want to help people who are looking to get into work, which is why we are going to do more to help people get back into work after a career break.

“Millions of us need to take time out from our careers, but it can be really hard to return. This is bad for the people affected, and the businesses which miss out on their talents. Women in particular find the routes back into employment closed off after taking time out to start a family.

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“These returner programmes will make it routine for women to go back to the workplace and get on with their careers. It ultimately should also help us to tackle the gender pay gap. I think it’s important that the public sector leads by example and introduces programmes to support people returning to the workplace.”

Philip Dunne, minister of state for health, added: “Former allied health professionals have the talent and experience the NHS needs so we absolutely want to encourage them to return to work. A new programme run by Health Education England will offer returners tailored education and re-training, so they feel confident and supported to return to providing outstanding patient care.”