Special grants to support women returning to work in NSW can fund ECEC
The Sector > Policy > Special grants to support women returning to work in NSW can fund ECEC

Special grants to support women returning to work in NSW can fund ECEC

by Freya Lucas

July 22, 2022

Women who are returning to work in New South Wales can apply for grant funding which can be used to cover the gap fee for early childhood education and care (ECEC) and other expenses such as education, work appropriate clothing, transport or technology.


The $32 million grant program is supported by the NSW Government and targets the costs which disproportionately affect women. To be eligible women must have been unemployed for 30 days or more, and intend to return to work in the next six months. Up to $5,000 in costs will be reimbursed for eligible women.


“The program is already helping thousands of women to meet their employment and education goals – I want this program to support as many women as possible to find secure employment,” Premier Dominic Perrottet said.


“This is an opportunity to build the confidence and financial independence for women who need it most.”


Initially offered as part of the NSW Government response to the pandemic, NSW Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor, said the positive results of the program demonstrate the value of the investment. 


“The feedback from over 1,500 women who have completed the program was that it works because of its flexibility and tailored approach. 65 per cent of women secured employment, 73 per cent applied for or started education and training while an incredible 98.5 per cent found the program helpful,”  Mrs Taylor said.


Women may apply for a Return to Work grant if they have been unemployed for at least 30 days and are intending to return to work within the next six months.


A maximum of $5k in grants can be requested to cover costs including:


  • Up to $5k for education related expenses
  • Up to $500 for stationery or protective equipment
  • Up to $500 for work clothing and personal grooming
  • Up to $3.5k for child care or respite care
  • Up to $500 in transport costs
  • Up to $2.5k for office equipment, tools, computers or phones
  • Up to $2.5k relocation expenses moving to a new region for work


All eligible women may apply for the funding but an assessment process will apply, with available funding prioritised to disadvantaged groups first. All successful applicants will be supported by their own Return to Work Coordinator, who will help them develop a tailored Return to Work Plan.


Applications can be made via the Service NSW website.

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