Revision: 1

Achieving Pensions Justice – Equalisation of
Teachers’ Pension Scheme survivor benefits
June 2014
What are survivor benefits in the TPS?
 Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) survivor benefits are sometimes
called ‘family benefits.’
 Survivor benefits are paid to partners and dependents after the
death of a TPS member (teacher).
 When the scheme originated, benefits were only paid to widows and
 Over time, the definition of partners who can receive benefits has
 Widowers, civil partners, same sex married partners and co-habiting
partners can receive benefits.
 However, benefits received are unequal.
June 2014
Current Differential benefits
• In the TPS, your pensionable service determines your benefits and
those of a surviving partner.
• For survivor benefits, not all pensionable service counts.
• Some partners could receive higher benefits than others:
Benefits for widows
Benefits for widowers
Benefits for civil partners –
Benefits for co-habiting partners -
backdated to 1 April 1972
backdated to 6 April 1988
backdated to 6 April 1988
backdated to 1 January 2007
June 2014
Marriage (Same Sex) Couples Act 2013
• The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 requires surviving
spouses in a same-sex marriage to be treated in the same way as
surviving civil partners in respect of occupational pension benefits.
• Pension schemes are allowed to restrict civil partners’ equal access
to service-related benefits to those backdated to December 2005
(the implementation date for the Civil Partnership Act). Schedule 9
of the Equality Act 2010 allows this.
• The TPS restricts access to service-related benefits to those
backdated to 1988. However, is this fair – if the same pension
contributions are paid?
June 2014
Walker v Innospec
• and
• Mr Walker successfully challenged the exemption in the Equality Act
2010 (Schedule 9) which discriminated against civil partners
compared with married partners.
• Unfortunately, this was overturned by an Employment Appeal
Tribunal: :
June 2014
Walker v Innospec
• The EAT ruled:
• It is discriminatory not to provide equal survivor benefits
to civil partners.
• However, it is not against EU law to discriminate by
refusing to pay benefits backdated earlier than 2005.
• When benefits differences on grounds of gender were
made illegal there was no provision for retrospective
claims. Therefore, there is no need to provide for
retrospective claims in the case of civil partners.
• Therefore – discrimination is layered over
June 2014
DfE Survivor Benefits
 The DfE:
 Treats same sex married couples as civil partners, and not as
opposite sex married couples.
 Same sex married couples have survivor pension benefits
backdated to 1988, alongside widowers and civil partners.
 Widows have pension benefits backdated to 1972.
 This discriminates against LGBT and women teachers.
June 2014
NASUWT Actions so far
• The DfE buried their announcement on the treatment of same
sex married couples’ survivor benefits in a review of increases
to pension contributions. The NASUWT condemned this.
• The NASUWT has demanded a genuine and full consultation
with trade unions and all scheme members.
• The NASUWT has encouraged members to contact the DfE
to protest about differential pension benefits.
June 2014
Coalition Government Review of Survivor Benefit
 The Treasury has carried out a Review under the Marriage (samesex) Couples Act.
• (1)The Secretary of State must arrange for a review of the following
matters relating to occupational pension schemes—
• (a)relevant differences in survivor benefits;
• (b)the costs, and other effects, of securing that relevant differences
in survivor benefits are eliminated by the equalisation of survivor
June 2014
Treasury Review
• ‘(2)For the purposes of this section, each of the following
are relevant differences in survivor benefits—
• (a)differences between—
• (i)same sex survivor benefits, and
• (ii)opposite sex survivor benefits provided to widows;
• (b)differences between—
• (i)same sex survivor benefits, and
• (ii)opposite sex survivor benefits provided to widowers;’
June 2014
Treasury Review
‘(c)differences between—
(i)opposite sex survivor benefits provided to widows, and
(ii)opposite sex survivor benefits provided to widowers.
(3)The review must, in particular, consider these issues—
(a)the extent to which same sex survivor benefits are provided in
reliance on paragraph 18 of Schedule 9 to the Equality Act 2010;
(b)the extent to which—
(i)same sex survivor benefits, and
(ii)opposite sex survivor benefits,
are calculated by reference to different periods of pensionable
June 2014
Treasury Review
• (5)The Secretary of State must arrange for a report on the outcome
of the review to be produced and published before 1 July 2014.
• (6)If the Secretary of State, having considered the outcome of the
review, thinks that the law of England and Wales and Scotland
should be changed for the purpose of eliminating or reducing
relevant differences in survivor benefits, the Secretary of State may,
by order, make such provision as the Secretary of State considers
appropriate for that purpose.
June 2014
The Treasury Costings
 The Treasury has produced an estimate of the cost of full
equalisation of survivor benefits for private sector defined benefit
pension schemes.
 This estimates the costs of equalisation in the private sector as £18
million – a tiny amount.
 The Treasury estimates that one third of private sector schemes
already pay full benefits for those scheme members who are in a
civil partnership.
June 2014
The Treasury Costings
 The costs to the TPS are small.
 The Treasury estimates the costs of equalisation in the TPS as
being less than 600 million.
 This includes backdated payments (about one third of the cost).
 The Treasury spreads this over 15 years – an additional 0.2% on
employer contributions.
 In the TPS - the NASUWT says:
 The price of equality is well worth paying!
June 2014
The Treasury Review Process
 The NASUWT has met twice with the Treasury to discuss its
 The NASUWT has demanded accurate costings from the Treasury.
 The NASUWT has submitted a detailed consultation response to its
 The NASUWT has demanded equalisation for widowers, civil
partners and same sex married couples, which must involve
backdating of all benefits to 1972.
 It is unacceptable that the Coalition Government has not carried out
a full written consultation and invited members of the public to
June 2014
The outcomes of the Treasury Review
 The Review simply reported the current situation.
 The Review made no recommendations.
 The Review claimed to support equality, but that pensions were
‘unique’, with an implication that benefits could therefore continue to
be discriminatory.
 The NASUWT believes that the Coalition Government has failed a
key equality test.
June 2014
Next Steps for the NASUWT
 The NASUWT will carry on campaigning and lobbying the Coalition
 NASUWT members should lobby MPs.
 NASUWT secretaries and school reps can make use of this Power
Point Presentation to explain the NASUWT campaign.
 Use the materials on the ‘campaigns’ section of the NASUWT
June 2014

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