The government has launched a new fund for the purpose of supporting workers returning to work in the private sector after a career break. The £1.5m fund will provide financial assistance for returners, to update their skills or undertake other training, and will support businesses to increase employment opportunities for returners. It is aimed primarily at small and medium enterprises, and employers based outside London.

In addition, new best practice guidance for employers on designing and implementing returner programmes, and the business case for doing so, has also been launched. The guidance, developed in association with Timewise and Women Returners, is aimed at employers of all sizes and across all sectors.

The new fund and guidance form part of the government’s strategy to close the gender pay gap. A separate returner programme was announced in last year’s spring budget to support certain public sector workers to return to work after a career break.