Age discrimination—the pension exceptions and when they apply
Produced in partnership with Elizabeth Ovey of Radcliffe Chambers
Age discrimination—the pension exceptions and when they apply

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Elizabeth Ovey of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Age discrimination—the pension exceptions and when they apply
  • Exceptions for age discrimination under the Equality Act 2010
  • Legal status of exceptions
  • The exceptions
  • Exceptions relating to length of service
  • Exceptions that apply to occupational pension schemes
  • Admission to schemes
  • Use of age criteria in actuarial calculations
  • Contributions
  • Benefits
  • more

Exceptions for age discrimination under the Equality Act 2010

The general non-discrimination rule for occupational pension schemes in the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), s 61, applies to age discrimination as much as to any other form of discrimination. However, the Equality Act permits exceptions under which specified rules, practices, actions or decisions adopted by occupational pension schemes are not a breach of that rule. There is also power to specify exceptions for personal pension schemes.

The exceptions are now set out in the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010, SI 2010/2133 (the Age Exceptions Order), which took effect on 1 October 2010. Some minor amendments have since been made, principally to reflect changes to the state pension, and the discussion which follows is based on the current version of the Order.

These exceptions replace those formerly available under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/1031, which were made as part of the implementation of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000. There are no significant differences, so trustees of schemes which were amended to comply with the age discrimination legislation on its original introduction in 2006, and employers in relation to such schemes, are likely to find that the terms of the Age Exceptions Order are already reflected in their scheme’s governing documentation. (Note that the