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Retirement Age and Equalization of Pension Benefits

  • P. S. Carroll and P. D. G. Tompkins

Extract

In the past three decades there have been many efforts at removing discrimination between people on grounds of sex, both in legislation and in practice. It has come to be accepted that, apart from certain excluded areas, men and women should have equal opportunities and equal rights in equivalent circumstances. This ‘principle of equal treatment’ of the sexes means, amongst other things, that there must be equal rewards for the same work.

Legal effect to these concepts was given by the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, both of which excluded from their ambit provision in respect of death or retirement and statutory instruments then in force (e.g. the Social Security Acts, which enshrine unequal State pensionable ages).

In 1986, Helen Marshall successfully won her case before the European Court, that she should have the right to the same contractual retirement age as her male colleagues. As a result, the Sex Discrimination Act 1986 modified the ‘death or retirement’ exclusions of the 1975 Act to provide that one sex cannot be compulsorily retired before the other but retained the exception that permits one sex to have an earlier normal pension age.

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References

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(1) Ritchie, J. & Barrowclough, R. Paying for Equalisation. EOC. May 1983.
(2) Third Report from the Social Services Committee, Session 19811982.
(3) Reform of Social Security, Programme for Action. Cmnd. 9691. HMSO. December 1985.
(4) Reform of Social Security. Cmnd. 9517–9. HMSO June 1985.
(5) House of Commons Employment Committee Second Report, Session 1988–89. The Employment Pattern of the Over-50s. April 1989.
(6) House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities Tenth Report, Session 1988–89. Equal Treatment for Men and Women in Pensions and Other Benefits. May 1989.
(7) Population Projections PP2 No. 15. HMSO 1987.
(8) CBI Survey of Company Pensions Policy. March 1988.
(9) NAPF Annual Survey 1988.
(10) SirWalley, John (1972) Social Security. Another British Failure? Charles Knight.
(11) Fox, Bulusu & Kinlen, (1979) Mortality and Age Differences in Marriage. J. Biosoc. Sci. 11.
(12) OPCS Unpublished tables. 10% samples 1971 and 1981 censuses.
(13) Department of Employment Gazette. May 1987.
(14) Noble Lowndes Paper No. 1. (1977) State Pension Ages. Flexibility: the key to equality?
(15) Council Recommendation on Community Policy on Retirement Age (82/857/EEC). Brussels, 10 December 1982.
(16) Occupational Pension Schemes—Review of Certain Contracting-Out Terms. Cm 110. HMSO. March 1987.
(17) New Earnings Survey. Department of Employment, April 1987.
(18) Cmnd. 9711. HMSO, January.
(19) Labour Force Survey (1985) LFS No. 5. HMSO, 1987.
(20) Department of Health and Social Security 1 per cent sample of Contributors and Contributions. SR8A. Year ending April 1985.
(21) Tompkins, Peter Flexibility and Fairness. Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust. August 1989.

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