Should pensions be gender neutral? | Hudson McKenzie

Should pensions be gender neutral?

The State pension in the UK is now gender neutral – but is this a good thing?

Following up to the latest changes to UK legislation regain the State-Pension age, last year, a woman had her state pension denied by the UK Government due to her transgender orientation – therefore this demonstrates why pensions should be without gender discrimination.

The woman in question was born a man in 1948, in which until 1991 when she began to live as a female and then proceeded to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1995. Previous to her transformation as a woman, the female in question was married to a woman and had two children.

However, although the woman underwent surgery, she did not have a certificate to confirm this as she had still not annulled her marriage to her wife and therefore this went against her when she tried to claim for her state pension at the female pension age of 60 years old.

From this, the woman in question was then told that in order to claim for a state pension, she would have to wait until she reached the male state pension age of sixty-five years old instead.

Britain’s Supreme Court then asked European Judges to pass a ruling on the case, in which the European Judges ruled that the marriage annulment condition applicable to the woman in question was not related to the UK’s retirement pension scheme and therefore the UK could not discriminate against the woman based upon her gender.

Therefore, the EU Court demonstrated to the UK Government that the Pension Retirement Scheme is Gender Neutral, in which individuals entitled to their pension should not be discriminated against, whether they are a man or a woman – however up until recently the pension age remained the same.

However, in November 2018, for the first time in seventy years, men and women will now receive their state-pension at the same age. Although this may decrease any discrimination and increase equality for people regardless of their gender, is this actually a beneficial move, especially for women?

For instance, women are likely to get paid less than men during their working lives, meaning that their pension is likely to be less than men. Therefore, would it have been perhaps better for men to retire first at 60 years old, so that women may have a more equal footing by the  time they at least 65 years old, so to have an increased pension pot that is more on par with men, due to the unlikelihood of the pay gap decreasing during their lifetime instead?

If you would like to discuss this article further or have any general legal enquiries, please contact one of our highly qualified solicitors on 020 3318 5794 or via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com