Proposals to make the first 5,000 of earnings non-pensionable under the national pensions savings scheme discriminate against women and would never be permitted under employment law, says Legal & General pension strategy director Adrian Boulding.
He says the proposals for a 5,000 “offset” will hit women harder than men as they earn less on average. He adds that workers with more than one part-time job will be affected by the offset on multiple occasions.
Boulding says occupational schemes used to operate on a similar basis but no longer do so for fear of violating anti-discriminatory employment law.
The criticisms undermine pension minister James Purnell’s claims that the NPSS represents the biggest move to sexual equality since Barbara Castle’s 1978 reforms.
Boulding says: “This is blatant sexual discrimination against women. Occupational schemes used to operate offsets but if they did now they would be marched to the nearest employment tribunal. I have raised these concerns repeatedly with politicians to no avail.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman says: “Our package of reforms will dramatically improve the outcomes for women and carers. For the first time, caring contributions will count in the same way as work to build up a state pension entitlement.”