Pension Rights for Civil Partners

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2010 Local Government Service Group Conference
17 February 2010

Conference welcomes the decision by government to agree new LGPS regulations that extend pensionable service for civil partner survivors’ pensions to include pre-1988 service, so that entitlement is equal to that of married couples.

Conference acknowledges that the issue of survivor benefits for civil partners has been pushed by UNISON at every opportunity, in responding to consultations, in exploring legal strategies and in formal and informal discussions with employers and government.

Conference also welcomes the fact that bargaining for quality and non-discriminatory pension schemes continues to be a UNISON priority.

Nonetheless, conference notes that it remains the case that only pensionable service from 6 April 1988 is taken into account when calculating unmarried cohabiting partners survivors’ pensions. Conference acknowledges that not all same sex cohabiting partners will wish to enter a civil partnership but would prefer to hold out for full equality in the form of equal marriage rights. There are also both heterosexual and same sex couples who do not wish to be bound by the traditions of marriage. These groups will continue to be treated in a discriminatory manner, although the regulations do allow purchase of pre-1988 benefits.

Conference therefore calls on the Local Government Service Group Executive (SGE) to work with other relevant UNISON structures and the Labour Link where appropriate to:

1)Publicise the new regulations to our members in Local Government

2)Continue to seek opportunities to lobby the Department of Communities and Local Government to extend full survivor pension rights to unmarried co-habiting partners

3)Raise with the National Employers to encourage local government employers to consider paying the cost for unmarried cohabiting partners to backdate survivors pensions before April 6 1988.

4)Continue to campaign to protect the LGPS.