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Career breaks

Returning to work after a career break can be a daunting experience. Here's some guidance to help you plan your career break, and support for when you’re ready to return to work.

Planned career break

Reduced subscriptions

If you’re on a career break, you may be eligible for a reduced subscription.

Returning to work – know your rights

You have employment rights and responsibilities when you return to work after Statutory Maternity Leave. Find out what these are and what to do if you have any problems or you are denied your rights.

The Working Families website is another source of advice for those returning to work after a career break. They also have a free legal helpline giving parents and carers advice about legal and in-work benefits, as well as helping them to negotiate the flexible hours they want.

CPD for members on a career break

If you are on a career break, such as maternity leave, you still need to maintain CPD compliance. If you have not worked in the previous year, you should make a positive declaration. If you are selected to provide evidence of your CPD compliance, you can state that there was no requirement to undertake any CPD activities that year because you were not working.

CPD is changing: From 1 November 2023 ICAEW's CPD requirements are changing to require a minimum number of CPD hours each year, some of which must be verifiable. You can find guidance and support at icaew.com/CPDchanges. There is specific guidance for those whose circumstances have changed

Online resources from the ICAEW Library

Are you thinking of moving into a new industry sector, or applying for a new job and need some background information?

The ICAEW Library & Information service has a wide range of online resources that you can access from your desktop.

Keeping up to date

Keeping up to date with your skills and current issues in the profession is important when you plan to return to the workplace. Here are four ideas to get you started:

ICAEW technical updates

Updated regularly, the technical area covers key developments in many sectors. It’s a great place to start when reviewing your CPD needs.


Volunteering on a project organised through the ICAEW could be a good way of getting back into the working habit. It’s good for building up confidence and your personal network of contacts and is also great for your CV.

Join one of our specialist networks

Joining a Faculty or Community is a great way to build personal contacts and expand networks in specific business areas and sectors, as well as to keep up to date with technical knowledge and marketplace developments. Members who are unemployed or on a career break, can join these groups at reduced rates.

To join a group, call +44 (0)1980 248 250 or email communities@icaew.com quoting your membership. Members who are unemployed or on a career break, are eligible to join three Communities for free.


Building and maintaining a good network of contacts can pay dividends to your career, with online social networking now playing a major role. Follow our simple guide and start building your network.

Professional support and advice

ICAEW provides expert advice and guidance on all the technical, ethical and practical aspects of your professional life, offering support via helplines and online resources.

The CABA careers microsite offers a range of resources including career coaching, webinars, case studies.

Read about two members’ experience of taking a sabbatical.


Please tell us

The first thing you should do is let us know about your situation. That way, we’ll know to contact you with relevant help and support. Do this by:

  • Updating your employment status in your member profile to let us know that you’re between jobs
  • Then, opt-in to receive updates on career and personal development via the communications preference centre

Our career services

Let us help you get back into work:

  • Register on ICAEWjobs.com for updates on fantastic opportunities for qualified accountants
  • Visit the careers community to quiz our careers experts and network with peers
  • Get one-to-one career advice from our professional career coach

Confidential advice and support

If you need someone to talk to in confidence, contact our volunteer team of support members. You can discuss personal worries, money troubles or career concerns with them, and they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call +44 (0)800 107 6163.

CABA’s helpline also provides free confidential advice, including legal advice and emotional support. For more about CABA visit their website: caba.org.uk/how-we-can-help/financial-assistance/

Reduced membership subscription

If you have a low income when your membership is due for renewal, then you may be eligible to pay a reduced subscription. Unemployed members usually qualify, and so do members who are taking a career break.

Financial assistance and help with debt management

Financial assistance may be available from CABA through their grant-giving schemes and longer term support. If you are worried about making loan or mortgage repayments, please contact CABA’s debt management and support service. They provide independent, impartial and confidential advice. Call 0800 107 6163

Returning to work

We support members who have taken a career break by offering support on a personal, practical and professional level.

Upcoming events

These events are aimed at helping accounting professionals successfully transition back into work after an extended career break.

Back to school, back to work

Workshop giving expert guidance on how to start taking the steps back to the workplace.

Technical Update for Career Breakers

ICAEW experts share their knowledge on key technical changes that will help you be fully prepared for your return to work.

Career Breakers Community

A series of four ½ day events to help you plan your back-to-work journey. Each of these sessions can be booked individually but we would suggest you attend all three to gain the maximum benefit.

  1. Reviewing your career path - clarifying your motivation, goals and strengths
  2. Rebuilding your professional confidence
  3. Reactivating your network - getting out there and selling your value
  4. Returning to work - becoming an expert interviewee

CABA events and training

ICAEW members and their families can access free training via face-to-face and online courses and networking events. Find out more on the CABA website.