UK - Government guidelines on bringing fixed-term workers' pension rights into line with permanent staff have been attacked by lawyers for being too woolly.
And they warn that firms which follow them could still find themselves in court.
The new regulations under the Employment Act 2002 come into force on October 1. Companies will then have three months to comply.
Government guidelines set out two approaches to the legislation:- A requirement to give the same benefits to permanent and fixed-term employees, unless they can “objectively justify” not doing so.- A package approach. Here a firm need not match every benefit provided it offers a package of similar value
Hammond Suddards Edge partner Francois Barker said: “Any companies which choose not to mirror permanent staff pensions benefits will find it difficult to objectively justify their reasons. And even if a firm gets it right, they could still find themselves in court.”
As for the package approach, Barker said that it would be “near impossible” to give an accurate monetary valuation of the pensions benefits.
Linklaters & Alliance head of litigation Mark Blyth said the guidelines were too woolly and could give smaller firms – where there are no permanent staff doing an equivalent job to the fixed termers – a get-out clause.
Blyth said: “A fixed-term worker who wants to challenge his pensions benefits will need to find a comparable post within the company – and they can not use an external comparator.”
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