Civil partners: restrictions on benefits upheld

By Ian Greenstreet

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the restriction in the Equality Act that provides that survivors’ benefits for civil partners need only be provided in relation to service since 5 December 2005 is lawful.

Mr Walker was employed by Innotec from 1980 until his retirement in 2003. He entered a civil partnership in January 2006. On his death, his partner will be entitled to a pension of about £500 a year (being a survivor’s GMP) whereas, if the restriction did not apply, the pension would be more than £40,000.

In January 2013, an employment tribunal decided that the restriction in the Equality Act is in breach of the EU Equal Treatment Directive and that the failure to provide a survivor’s pension equivalent to that which would be provided to a widow (i.e. for the full period of Mr Walker’s pensionable service) was both directly and indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sexual orientation…

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