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Part-Time Workers' Pensions

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of women who are affected by the ECHR ruling on occupational pension provision for part-time workers: what estimate he has made of the number that have successfully exercised their rights following that ruling; and if he will make a statement. [114512]

It is not possible to estimate precisely the total number of women part-time workers who might be affected by the European Court of Justice ruling on access to occupational pension schemes. About 60,000 claims were originally lodged with Employment Tribunals and aspects of the Court rulings are still awaiting clarification. Some claims have been struck out because they were lodged too late; while other part-time workers could still make claims.In order to be successful, claims have to be lodged in time (ie while the individual is in work or within six months of leaving employment with the relevant employer); it has to be accepted that the part-time worker's exclusion from the particular scheme amounted to indirect sex discrimination; and agreement has been made regarding the appropriate rates of contributions to be paid in respect of the claim.We understand that some private sector employers have already reached settlement with their applicants and negotiations are well advanced for public service schemes.