Equal Old Age Pensions for Women

Back to all Motions

2015 National Retired Members Conference
17 June 2015

Conference notes that women who paid reduced National Insurance rates or ‘married women’s stamp’ for some or all of their working lives, are disadvantaged as a result of lower NI payments, unable to receive a state pension in their own right at retirement age.

Conference are very concerned that most women were not told of the disadvantages of paying the ‘married women’s stamp’ when introduced, and this has had an adverse effect on the state age pension for women today paying the ‘married woman’s stamp’. In fact women who currently pay the reduced rate of NI contributions will get a much lower pension, which will be based on 60% of their husband’s contributions, but unable to receive this until their husband retires.

Women who pay or have paid the ‘married women’s stamp’, are also not able to claim job seekers allowance and have no rights to sickness benefit. In addition women who stayed at home due to child care or caring needs, are also penalised financially as a result.

Conference notes that before legislation such as the Sex Equality Act, 1975, some employers had policies in place which saw women having their employment contracts terminated when they married or had children.

Therefore this National Retired Members’ conference calls upon UNISON’s National Retired Members’ Committee and National Executive Committee to;

1. Campaign urgently on behalf of women who pay the ‘married woman’s stamp’, to ensure that women are paid the same rate of state age pension as men with immediate effect.

2. Support one rate of pension for all, regardless of gender.

3. Campaign for the Government to make a one off top up payment for those women who have been receiving a lower pension, as a result in recognition of their contribution to Britain’s society, using the individual’s state pension date as the base date in calculating any amount due.

4. Take positive action to make UNISON’s concerns known to the government through the Labourlink, national and regional branches of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), local Trades Councils, by lobbying MPs, and by supporting the National Pensioners Convention and the Scottish Pensioners’ Forum in their campaigns.

5. Report back to the 2016 National Retired Members’ Conference on action taken and actual achievements.