Michael Duggan from Littleton Chambers has Emailed me to point out another important set of Regulations dealing pensions. As I can't face doing my own summary, I simply reproduce his Email (with his permission)..
From: Michael Duggan
Sent: 17 November 2006 11:18
To: Daniel Barnett
Subject: Pensions and Age Discrimination
Further to you newsletter this morning - there are also little publicised changes to local government pension schemes which will have an important impact on many thousands of people. As you know, one of the attractions of local government is that you get a decent pension and if you leave early, in some circumstances you get added years. The Government was initially doing away with the discretion in this respect but have now put in transitional provisions so that anyone made redundant before 1st April 2007 and who would have qualified under the 2000 regs will now be able to argue that the LA should exercise its discretion in their favour (and there appear to me to be strong arguments that, if they have always awarded added years, custom and practice etc applies).
Councils are still going to be able to make an award of added years by way of augmentation. The new regulations also provide that they need to have a written policy on how they will exercise their discretion. LAs will no doubt argue that, once the transitional provisions disappear after April 2007, it is likely to be discriminatory to award added years.
The upshot is that people who have worked for many years in Local Government are having benefits taken away from them by virtue of regulations which will benefit one group (however defined) on the basis of age but will actively disadvantage the older worker with many years of service.
Further, how does this all fit in with Schedule 5 of the Age Regs which appears to preserve existing rights; See Schedule 5 paragraph 9 -surely one of the most obscurely drafted provisions ever.
Since LAs must now have a written policy there are going to some interesting issues that arise as to how it will interact with the Age Regs. I would be interested in any views about what LAs can now do with regard to added years, what the policy should contain and what is happening 'on the ground'.
If you can bear to look at them the pension Regs are here: THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (EARLY TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT) (DISCRETIONARY COMPENSATION) REGULATIONS 2006 S1 2006/2914