• International Workplace
  • 21 March 2018

Government announces £1.5m fund to help tackle the gender pay gap

Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd, has announced a £1.5m fund to support people back into work after time out caring.

The fund, which was launched on Monday 5 March, will offer grants to projects which help people to return to work in the private sector. These projects could help returners update their skills, provide other training, or support businesses to increase employment opportunities for returners. The fund will prioritise projects that focus on small and medium enterprises, employers outside London, and projects that support returners at all skill levels. This is part of the government’s wider strategy to develop the evidence base on what may help to close the gender pay gap.

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd, said:

“It is truly striking that nearly 90% of people out of paid work because they are caring for the home or family are women. Too often people struggle to get back into paid work after taking time out to care for others. That is a huge loss not only to those individuals, but to our economy and to businesses all over the country.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce this government will be launching a £1.5m fund to support people, particularly women, back into work after time out looking after children and other relatives.

“By offering meaningful work that pays, the fund will give people who want to return to employment the opportunity to use their valuable skills, talents and experience.”

A toolkit and guidance have been created to support companies that would like to employ returners. The guidance, which was developed by Timewise and Women Returners, is aimed at employers across sectors and of all sizes. The toolkit, sponsored by Vodafone, explains the business benefits of employing returners.

The guidance, toolkit and fund are all part of a commitment of £5m made by the Prime Minister in the 2017 Spring Budget, to help people back into employment after a career break. There are already public sector returner projects running in the health professions, social work, and the civil service. In addition, a Cyber Security Skills impact fund, run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will be particularly looking for initiatives that help women who have been out of the labour market due to caring responsibilities to get jobs in cyber security.