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EAT confirms impact of Brexit on discrimination claims - The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Mr D Beattie and Sixteen Others, 20-20 Trustee Services Limited, Federal Mogul Limited
The appeal in this age discrimination claim centred around whether the Employment Tribunal in the first instance was correct to disapply parts of the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010 on the basis that this was incompatible with EU Law. The 2010 Order sought to include a temporal limitation in relation to periods of pensionable service prior to 1 December 2006 in relation to which the overriding non-discrimination rule imposed by legislation did not apply.
The Employment Tribunal had considered the claim to be analogous to Walker v Innospec which found that a temporal limitation on benefits for a same-sex spouse was incompatible with EU Law and required to be disapplied.
Partially upholding the appeal by the DWP, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 prevented claims by some members to the extent they were not brought before the implementation period completion day of that Act which was 31 December 2020.
For members who had brought claims before 31 December 2020 their claims were found to be brought under retained EU law, for any members whose claims were made after that date the rights in respect of which they claimed were no longer available under UK law.
Pensions Dashboard Regulations – in force 12 December 2022
The Pensions Dashboard Regulations 2022 have now been published and come into force on 12 December 2022.
The Regulations provide for a mandatory staging timetable for pension schemes and their providers to connect to the dashboards infrastructure.
The first staging window will open on 1 April 2023 and will apply to all personal and stakeholder pension providers with 1,000 or more policies, and master trusts with 20,000 or more deferred and active members.
Later staging windows are set out for smaller schemes, with the window opening on 1 October 2025 for relevant schemes with 100-124 deferred and active members.
The staging deadline for public sector pension schemes is 30 September 2024.
Autumn Statement – Lifetime and Annual Allowance frozen
Further to the Autumn Statement:
- The Pensions Lifetime Allowance will remain at its 2020-21 level (£1,073,100) up to and including 2025-26.
- The standard Annual Allowance is fixed at £40,000.
- The Money Purchase Annual Allowance is fixed at £4,000.
Single Code of Practice progress
It is reported that progress is being made with the Single Code of Practice with TPR hoping this will be laid before Parliament towards the end of the year or the beginning of January.
If implemented in line with previous drafts, the code will require occupational pension schemes with 100 or more members to carry out and document an own risk assessment ("ORA") of their system of governance which is intended to be an assessment of how well the scheme's governance systems are working and the way in which potential risks are managed.
Current drafting requires trustees to prepare and document the scheme's first ORA within one year of the Single Code coming into force and subsequently review that ORA every 12 months (or sooner if there is a material change in the risks facing the scheme or to its governance process).
Trustees and savers warned to stay on guard against scammers
The Pensions Regulator (TPR), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) have joined forces to warn pension scheme trustees and savers of a potential increased risk from scammers seeking to cash in on economic uncertainty.
The warning comes in response to concerns of those bodies that fears over the economy, such as concerns related to the recent extreme movements in gilt yields, may prompt savers to incorrectly decide there is a risk to their retirement pots and make rushed decisions about their finances.
The press release notes that trustees are called on remain vigilant to the risk of scams and suspicious transfer requests and follow best practice in protecting savers from scams – including warning them of the heightened risk of pension and investment scams in times of uncertainty and providing some of the common signs of a scam.