Age discrimination in public sector pensions

In 2018 the Court of Appeal made a landmark ruling that reforms to public sector pensions in 2015 were unlawful age discrimination. The Court of Appeal ruled on two Employment Tribunal cases, Sargeant and McCloud that were brought against the Firefighter and Judicial Pension Schemes. The ruling was that the different treatment of existing members of the schemes was unlawful, not the introduction of new schemes or the fact that the new scheme applied to existing scheme members.

The Treasury has now published its proposals to remedy the discrimination identified in the McCloud and Sargeant cases. The consultation outlines proposals for all members to be enrolled into the 2015 schemes from the 1 April 2022. The proposed remedy period is therefore from 1 April 2015 up to 31 March 2022.

There are two options outlined in the consultation along with questions on a range of points. The two options are an immediate choice or a deferred choice underpin. An immediate choice is an election that members would make shortly after the end of the remedy period to decide how they wish their service in the remedy period to be treated. A deferred choice underpin, which would see the members make a decision at retirement on how they wished their service during the remedy period to be treated.