Thousands of women across Australia are set for a boost with a $75 million commitment from the Morrison Government for new mid-career checks to help them pick up the work they want or to work more.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said many Australians in their thirties and forties were part of the ‘sandwich generation’ that had taken time out of their careers to start families, care for children and were often worrying about their ageing parents.

The Prime Minister said the Coalition was focused on getting more people the work they wanted with the new Mid-Career Checkpoint initiative set to support up to 40,000 Australians, particularly women, looking to return from time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities.

“Our new Mid-Career Checkpoint program is about backing the women and men who have taken family time and want to work or work more,” the Prime Minister said.

“Giving more people the choice and skills to get back into the workforce is key to our plan for a stronger economy.

“We’ve already overseen 1.3 million new jobs but backing women who have left their careers to take up the job of looking after their family, and who want to return to work, is key to achieving our ambitious target of creating an extra 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years.

“Many women in particular take a career break to start a family or care for older family members and are looking for that bit of extra help to get them back into the workforce.

“The skills and experience gained in those unpaid family roles is often not properly acknowledged, and women in these caring roles can sometimes lose confidence, as others have gone ahead at work and technology has changed roles.

“For those wanting the choice to return to work, we want to help them because tapping into their skills and talents is good for them, their families and the economy.”

The new initiative would start with a ‘checkpoint session’ to help people step back in to or step up their careers after two or more years out of the workforce to care for family:

  • Stepping back in: women returning to the workforce will be able to have an initial discussion with a professional who can help assess their needs and steer them in the right direction (for example, they might need assistance with interview skills, polishing up computer skills, professional development or advice on where and how to undertake specific longer-term skills training)
  • Stepping up: eligible women who have returned to the workforce for up to 18 months and are now at a point where they are ready to step up their career, but need a little extra advice to do so.

Minister for Women and Jobs and Industrial Relations Kelly O’Dwyer said the mid-career checks would give working women options based on their needs, interests and objectives.

“We want to help women to build their financial security by helping them to get the job they want,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“Nothing gives someone more confidence, choices, independence and economic security than a job they love and thrive in.

“We want to ensure women with an interest in returning to the workforce have the advice they need to make that happen.”

The Mid-Career Checkpoint initiative will be targeted at women aged 30 to 45, but men aged 30-45 who have undertaken leave to care for family members will also have the opportunity to participate.

The Mid-Career Checkpoint initiative complements the Coalition’s:

  • Reforms to child care and early learning saving a typical family around $1300 each year
  • Extended access and flexibility for parental leave pay
  • Expansion of the no interest loans scheme to assist 45,000 additional women escaping family and domestic violence.
  • Career Revive initiative – a program working assist regional employers to develop action plans for their businesses to attract and retain women.
  • $18 million in grants through a women’s start-up fund, Boosting Female Founders, to increase entrepreneurship opportunities for women
  • Changes to superannuation rules, including concessional catch-up contributions, to boost super after taking time from the workforce for family responsibilities.
  • Capping fees and charges for low-balance superannuation accounts to ensure women retire with more savings and reuniting Australians with their lost superannuation savings through the ATO.