Women in NSW will be able to apply for grants up to $5,000 through a new Return to Work program which is part of the 2020-21 state budget.
Acknowledging the barriers women have faced at work throughout 2020, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the funding would enable women to seek financial assistance and targeted support including mentoring and leadership training.
The money can also be used for childcare, including before and after school care and transport, aimed at helping mothers transition back to work more freely.
“These grants will help women whose employment has been affected by COVID-19 to overcome some of the obstacles in returning to the workforce,” Berejiklian said.
“I encourage women from all walks of life to apply for these grants and use this springboard to jump back into their former career or even start a new one.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet highlighted both the social and economic drivers underpinning the initiative.
“We know that many part-time or casual positions and female-dominated industries were severely impacted by COVID-19, so we are looking to empower as many women as possible to be able to get back into paid employment,” he said.
With women comprising 53% of directly affected industries, as well as 65% of secondary industries impacted by the pandemic, financial support is vital.
The grants will be available to all women who have been out of work for at least one month.
“There are so many costs involved in starting up again, so it is great that women looking to return to work will be able to use these grants towards things like training and education, office supplies, or whatever it is they need to get back into a job,” said Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor.
Eligible recipients will be connected with a Return to Work coordinator, who will work with them to develop a plan and identify resources that will assist them in getting back in the workforce.
They must be a resident of NSW and plan to start paid work within six months.
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.