Pensions: Part Time Workers & Comparators

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In Dr Parker v MDU Services Ltd the Claimant argued that the pension scheme offered by her employer was unfair and indirectly discriminated against any worker with a mixture of both full and part time service. The Claimant had been employed for a total of 27 years and this equated to 21 years full-time service. The maximum pension would have been available to an employee with 20 years’ service and yet the Claimant received 21/27 of the maximum and she claimed that this was discriminatory. This particular scheme was unusual as the rights and rates depended on the date and age an employee joined the scheme.

The tribunal found that the Claimant had missed a crucial point when using her comparator. It was important to use a comparator that joined the scheme at the same time and age as the Claimant. In this situation the comparator would have accrued the same pension entitlement as the Claimant and showed that there was, therefore, no discrimination.

The EAT held that the “degree of copying and pasting” of the Respondent’s submissions, from Andrew Short QC, into the tribunal judgment “was extraordinary” but although this approach was unsatisfactory it did not affect the decision.

Written by

Edward Aston
5th December 2017