Tuesday 7 March 2006

Part-Time Pensioners: House of Lords Decision

The House of Lords has, this morning, delivered its opinion in Powerhouse Retail Limited v Burroughs.

Arising from the 60,000 part-time pension cases brought in the 1990s, it deals with the narrow point of time limits for bringing an equal pay claim when there has been a TUPE transfer.

Pension rights do not transfer under TUPE to the transferee. Thus rights to claim for an equal pension for part-timers, implied by the equality clause under the Equal Pay Act 1970, do not transfer under TUPE.

Under s2(4) of the Equal Pay Act 1970, a claim must be brought within six months of the last day on which the Claimant was employed in the employment.

The transferors argued that the employment had ended in 1992, when the TUPE transfer took place, and that the claims were presented more than six months after that date. The employees argued that employment should be regarded as continuing, under TUPE-fiction, so that their claims were within time against the transferor.

The House of Lords unanimously accepted the transferor's arguments (upholding the Court of Appeal). Time limits for an equal pay claim will expire six months after the date of the TUPE transfer, as that is the date on which the employment with the transferor ends.

Powerhouse Retail Limited v Burroughs

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