The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt delivered the Spring Budget earlier this month. The primary focus of this budget was getting Britain ‘back into work’. We have provided an update on the key takeaways from the Spring Budget for Employers and HR to consider.
Significant plans for support with childcare to encourage parents to return to work. This will be a game changer for parents. Many parents have to make the decision to not return to work because they cannot afford childcare to do so.
Currently working parents with children aged three to four are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week, or 30 hours if both parents work and earn at least the national minimum wage. The expansion of this support will see working parents of children over the age of nine months by September 2025 also receive 30 hours of free childcare for every child over the age of nine months. The plan is to introduce this in phases, beginning April 2024, so unfortunately some parents may not be benefit. We have outlined the phases below.
April 2024 – 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of two-year-olds.
September 2024 – 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of children aged nine months to three years.
September 2025 – 30 hours of free children for every child over the age of nine months.
The Chancellor also pledged to fund schools and local authorities to increase ‘wraparound’ care for working parents to allow parents to work longer hours without having to pay costly childcare bills.
To attract those over 50 back into work, the government will launch a new type of apprenticeship – ‘returnships’. These will offer skills training tailored for the over 50s that will be offered alongside skills bootcamps and sector-based work academies. They will also focus on flexibility and take previous experience into account to reduce training length.
The Government will also add a further 8,000 places per year to its skills bootcamps. These bootcamps reskill people in sectors such as construction and technology.
A new voluntary employment scheme for disabled people and those with health conditions to be funded in England and Wales was also announced. Up to £4,000 per person will be invested to support 50,000 people per year. This support is to help those find a suitable role that caters to their needs. In addition to this there will be reforms to the welfare system to support claimants back into work without the fear of losing their financial support.
A £406 million plan is set out to tackle health issues that keep people out of work. A particular focus will be on mental health, musculoskeletal conditions and cardiovascular disease. Acknowledgements were made to the important role that Occupational Health plays. His plans included bringing forward two consultations on how to improve ‘instant availability’ for the support and double funding for SMEs.
If you require any advice surrounding the Spring Budget and how it may affect your business, get in contact with our team of experts today.
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