Part-time workers—discrimination issues relating to pensions
Produced in partnership with Elizabeth Ovey of Radcliffe Chambers
Part-time workers—discrimination issues relating to pensions

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

  • Part-time workers—discrimination issues relating to pensions
  • The legislative framework
  • Equal treatment legislation
  • Terms on which persons become members of the scheme
  • Terms on which scheme members are treated
  • Part-time workers—indirect discrimination
  • Where greater number of women than men affected
  • A statistical approach
  • The move away from a statistical approach
  • Discrimination claim—retrospectivity
  • More...

This Practice Note contains references to case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Broadly, EU judgments handed down on or before 31 December 2020 continue to be binding on UK courts and tribunals (even if the EU courts later depart from them) until the UK courts exercise their powers to diverge. For the most part, EU case law made after that date is not binding on the UK, although the UK courts and tribunals may continue to ‘have regard to’ EU judgments if relevant. For more detailed information on the treatment of EU case law, see Practice Note: Introduction to retained EU law. 

The legislative framework

There are two separate areas of legislation which have to be considered in the context of part-time workers and discrimination. The first area is the legislation relating to equal treatment of men and women. Historically, more women than men have worked part-time, so employment terms, including the terms of pension schemes, which are less favourable to part-time workers may well discriminate against women. The second area is legislation specifically aimed at protecting part-time workers.

Equal treatment legislation

Legislative provisions designed to secure equal treatment for men and women in relation to pension schemes have a lengthy history.

The current domestic provisions are to be found in section 67 of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010), which provides that a

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