Uh oh! Just when you might have thought it had gone away the ‘European Effect’ on pensions is with us again it seems. Why? Two cases; Johns v. Solent and Lindorfer v. Council, and the worry beads are out again.
Johns v. Solent1 was a case before the Employment Tribunals for England and Wales and the tribunal has ruled that any retirement related claims going through right now can be put ‘on hold’ until clarification is forthcoming from the European Court.
That clarification will come only after a case being brought by Age Concern (ECJ Retirement Age Judgment) has been heard. That’s not going to be any day soon and might not happen for up to eighteen months. What this seems to mean is that our new national law that says it’s OK for employers to require people to retire because of their age may not be enforceable. We’ll have to wait and see.
Lindorfer v. Council2 is the case of an Austrian lady who didn’t like the fact that her transfer-in to her employer’s pension scheme took account of the longer life expectancy of women compared to men. Basically the pensionable service she was credited with in the scheme would have been more if she had been a man and she argued that was discriminatory.
Well, the European Court of Justice ruled in her favour on this saying there was no justification for the scheme using sex-specific factors when calculating the pensionable service credit due to the transfer value.
Quite what this will mean for similar transfers over here in the UK I don’t know. But I do know this won’t be the last we hear of the ‘European Effect’ on our pensions.
20 November 2007
1. Equality Challenge Unit website 'Johns V Solent SD Limited', 13 November 2007
2. European Court of Justice, Grand Chamber 'Lindorfer V Council', 11 September 2007.
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