Same-sex married couples and civil partners are treated in exactly the same way as widowers under all public service pension schemes, private sector contracted-out occupational pension schemes and the pension protection fund rules. These rules cover what happens when a pension scheme goes bust. This means that a survivor’s pension is paid to a surviving spouse or civil partner based on members contributions on their service back to 1988.
For other schemes, UK law requires that schemes take into account service from 5 December 2005 onwards when calculating survivors’ benefits for same sex married couples or civil partners.
The only area where same-sex married couples or civil partners may find that they receive different treatment from heterosexual spouses is in the area of survivor benefits for non-contracted-out pension schemes. This is where an employer may choose voluntarily to offer more than the statutory minimum. The government doesn’t regulate for these schemes and it is a matter for the employer’s discretion. The majority of employers have opted to treat all employees equally, regardless of sexual orientation. Stonewall strongly encourages employers to do this.
For more information please contact Stonewall Information Service on 08000 50 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5:30pm)