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Equalities and Rights Equalities and Rights

Support companies to take on parents and carers returning to work

Last updated: 10:58pm 27 November 2018

So we will support companies to take on parents and carers returning to work after long periods of absence and back similar schemes in the public sector, including the country’s biggest employer, our NHS.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.56

Our verdict

The manifesto acknowledges the country’s gender pay gap (the difference in average hourly pay of men and women) and outlines a number of measures aimed at reducing it. There are 1.8 million women who are out of work for caring reasons, and around three-quarters of those questioned in a large survey said they would like to return to work at some point.

This policy aims to ease the passage of people returning to work both in the corporate sector, by supporting companies to employ parents and carers coming back after long periods of absence, and in the public sector, by actually backing the schemes to achieve it.

Starting with the public sector, in August 2017 the government announced the establishment of “returner programmes” for civil servants, social workers, health professionals and teachers, “formal schemes offered by employers to provide training and support to people who have taken time out of the workplace”.

In the private sector, in March 2018 the Government Equalities Office published Returner Programmes: Best Practice Guidance for Employers. Co-authored with two specialist consultancies, the document outlines the business case for returner programmes and lays out a framework for how to implement them.

In May 2018, the government published a review of research on parents’ decisions about returning to work and child caring responsibilities. The review is a rigorous analysis of evidence regarding the many and varied factors influencing parents returning to work after an absence, and suggests the government remains committed to further progress in this area.

Based on the evidence above, we think the government has made good on this policy promise, so we’re marking this one as ‘done’.

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