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Spring 2023 Budget: Get back to work!

Adrian Fryer

There was a definite theme running through the employment proposals announced in the Spring 2023 Budget: ‘Get back to work’!

Announcements included:

  • The introduction of ‘returnerships’ (later life apprenticeships) for those over 50 returning to the workplace following a break
  • The introduction of free childcare for working parents with 1 and 2 year olds.
  • Removal of the pensions lifetime allowance to encourage those who have taken early retirement back to work.

The impact on employers will be largely indirect and hopefully positive. A larger prospective workforce means a larger and more diverse pool of potential candidates for roles.

The introduction of ‘returnerships’ (which will be a new form of apprenticeship targeted at the over-50s who want to return to work) is a recognition that, as a society, we are living longer and UK productivity relies on using talents of all ages and re-engaging those who may have already had a ‘first career’. Personnel Today reports that the over 50s are the fastest growing demographic in the UK – numbering 27.9 million people by 2030.

No details have been published yet but there are factors that will need to be considered. For example, what rate of pay will those on ‘returnerships’ be entitled to? Will they be treated in the same way as other apprentices? Employers will also need to consider specific needs and priorities of those returning to work over the age of 50. They might prefer flexible working or jobsharing so you may face an increase in flexible working applications. There could also be an increased need for occupational health support if those returning have age-related health issues.

An employer’s obligation not to discriminate on grounds of age, sex or disability will apply in the context of returnerships just as it does to other areas of employment.



Adrian Fryer, Partner & Head of Employment

t: 0151 224 0539