Civil Partnership Pension Rights

Monday, July 23, 2012

Civil partners do not have the same pensions rights as married members in respect of pensionable service before 5 December 2005, as the Equality Act 2010 allows pension schemes to only take into account civil partner’s rights accrued from this date – the date the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force (special rules apply in respect of contracted out rights).

Therefore, death benefits payable to civil partners may be much less than those payable to spouses – depending on the rules of the pension scheme in question. We have seen some legal challenges to this discrepancy in pension rights – and expect that more will follow. There is likely to be increased attention on this issue, following the publication of the Government Equalities Office consultation on equal civil marriage, which proposes that the ban on same-sex marriage through a civil ceremony be lifted. Couples will also have the option of ‘converting’ a civil partnership into a civil marriage. The consultation flags that the DWP is considering whether the Equality Act 2010 should be amended and how state pensions can be made more equal.

Thank you for all your assistance in helping to meet the deadline for the capital reduction exercise – your professionalism and friendly approach was appreciated.

Finance Director - Leading UK Company

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