JLT Benefit Solutions: Pension Scheme Rules Should Be

Checked For Equality Act Compliance

 

5th November 2010, London: 

  • New Act could result in increased Employment Tribunal hearings
  • Essential that pension scheme rules, policies and procedures are investigated to ensure no breach of 'non-discrimination' requirement
  • Abolition of Default Retirement Age set to increase demands for flexible working, with employers and trustees likely to need advice on interaction of age discrimination regulations with pensions and risk benefits

JLT Benefit Solutions, one of the four largest employee benefit consultancies in the UK, has published its latest consultancy alert "The Equality Act - what does it mean for pension schemes?"

The Act, which comes into force from 1 October, consolidates and strengthens existing anti-discrimination law and impacts on both occupational and personal pension schemes, as well as numerous other bodies and organisations.

Key points:

  • The Act extends characteristics of the current 'non-discrimination' definition to cover 'gender reassignment' and ‘marriage and civil partnerships' 
  • A Default Retirement Age (DRA) of 65 was carried forward into the Act, though the government has since announced it will abolish DRA in April 2011. It is expected that this abolition will result in increased demand for flexible retirement practices whereby employees may want to takes some or all of their pension benefits whilst remaining in service, perhaps on a part-time basis
  • Trustees are given an overriding power by the Act to make a resolution to alter their scheme rules in order to conform with non-discrimination requirements

John Wilson, Head of Technical Services at JLT Benefit Solutions, commented:

"With the new Equality Act entering into force, employers and trustees should review their scheme rules and other policies in order to identify any provisions or practices that may be potentially discriminatory. For those provisions and practices not specifically exempted, employers will also need to consider whether they can justify their ongoing use or whether those provisions should be removed or amended to ensure compliance."

"At first blush, the Act does not appear to have much impact on pensions, as it essentially consolidates existing legislation. However, the Act does go further than that and its precise impact may only become clear in time when claims are considered."

"By conducting a scheme review now, trustees and employers will reduce the chances of becoming the first 'test case'."

 

--ENDS--

 

Further Enquiries:

Group Corporate Communications                JLT Benefit Solutions

Isabella Young                                   Simon Hazeldine

EMAIL                                            EMAIL

+44 (0)20 7558 3387                            +44 (0)1727 775 102

 

Editor's Notes:

About JLT Benefit Solutions Limited

JLT Benefit Solutions Limited (JLT) is one of the UK's leading employee benefit providers offering a wide range of benefit and pension services, including administration, actuarial and pension consultancy, investment, wealth management, Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), Small Self Administered Schemes (SSASs) flexible benefits, healthcare, benefit communication and financial education.

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, JLT employs over 1,200 professionals in the UK with revenues of some £90.5m in 2009. The recent acquisitions of HSBC Actuarial and Consultants Limited and iimia Wealth Management have supported JLT's continued expansion to become one of the four largest employee benefits consultancies in the UK. This year JLT was awarded Pension Scheme Administrator of the Year at the 2010 European Pensions Awards.

Other pensions and employee benefits companies within the JLT group of companies include: Profund Solutions Limited, Independent Trustee Services Limited and Pension Capital strategies Limited.

JLT Benefit Solutions Ltd is part of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc.

http://www.jltgroup.com/employee-benefits/

 

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc (JLT) is an international group of risk specialists and employee benefits consultants and one of the largest companies of its type in the world. JLT offers a distinctive choice to clients and partners through our combination of independence, scale and specialism.

The Jardine Lloyd Thompson group is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and employs over 6200 people worldwide and through the JLT International Network provides services in more than 130 countries.

http://www.jltgroup.com/

 



Contact Details

Isabella Young

Group Communications Manager

JLT Group
The St Botolph Building
London, EC3A 7AW
[T]: 020 7558 3387