Teachers and doctors could have grounds for a legal challenge against the government for age discrimination if they have been moved to a less beneficial pension scheme, Leigh Day says.
The law firm's remarks follow 2015 pension changes which saw younger public sector workers, including teachers and NHS staff, moved to new, less generous schemes, while older workers were able to stay in their existing schemes.
This prompted anger among a group of judges and firefighters who took the government to court. In December last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that the ‘transitional protection' that protected some members closer to pension age was unlawful.
The government must now find £4bn per year to fix the policy mistake across the rest of the public sector after it was denied permission to appeal the decision last month.
Nonetheless, Leigh Day has argued that this problem "persists across the public sector" and noted it is "preparing to claim on behalf of teachers and doctors against the government".
The firm further noted that even if the government makes changes now to address the discrimination going forward, there is no guarantee that it will compensate the workers for the past discrimination that has taken place, unless a legal challenge is brought forward.
Partner Nigel Mackay said: "We believe the government is short-changing hundreds of thousands of hard-working doctors and teachers.
"Public sector pension schemes have been known to provide better than average benefits to reflect the valuable contribution that those in the public sector make to society. However, the changes made by the government have unfairly left younger public sector workers out of pocket.
"As a result of the Supreme Court ruling in June the government has ran out of options in relation to those judges and firefighters who have brought claims."
Mackay also said that the government has "not made commitments to remedy the issue for the judges or firefighters who have not brought any claims, or any other public sector workers including doctors and teachers that have been affected by the same changes to their pension policy".
With one of Europe’s most well-known companies planning its most significant pension scheme overhaul to date, unions have stepped in to ensure workers are not short-changed. Hope William-Smith reports.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) Joint Expert Panel’s (JEP) proposals for future valuations have received broad support as a way protecting the long-term interests of its members.
Over a third of defined benefit (DB) trustees have helped their members source financial advice in the lead up to their retirement, research shows.
Every month, several firms issue trackers of the aggregate defined benefit (DB) scheme funding position. See here for the November 2019 estimates on the various measures…
Pensions schemes are better funded now than this time last year, according to PwC’s annual Pension Scheme Funding Survey.