Are career breaks only available to women?

Career breaks have been adopted by some large employers. There is no legal right to a career break unless it is contained in your contract terms.

They are often seen as policies to encourage women to return to work after an extended break for childcare. However, career breaks are not only available to women. Other popular reasons can be travel and study. Organisations believe that, rather than lose the investment (in terms of training and development) made in these employees, it is preferable to provide career breaks with the hope that these employees will eventually return to employment.

The provision of career breaks is purely at the discretion of your employer, but if they are only available to women, they are probably discriminatory on the grounds of gender.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.