SENATOR BACIK WELCOMES INTRODUCTION OF PENSION EQUALITY MEASURE

Ivana Bacik TD
10 May 2017

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik has welcomed measures contained in the new Social Welfare and Pensions Bill, which reflects legislation proposed by Labour earlier this year, to ensure greater pension rights for LGBT couples.

Labour’s Equal Pensions Bill was introduced to the Seanad by Senator Bacik, in March.

Senator Bacik commented:

“I thank Minister Varadkar for adopting the words of our Bill, and placing them into his Social Welfare Bill, in order to ensure equality for a small group of LGBT couples who have been denied equal treatment in pension rights.

“Head 14 of Minister Varadkar’s bill deals with an important legacy issue, left over after marriage equality was passed by Referendum in May 2015. It addresses the small number of cases where retired employees who were legally not permitted to marry persons of the same sex before a particular date may be deprived of certain pension benefits.

“Our Labour Bill was drafted in response to the case of Parris v TCD (Case C-443/15, 24th November 2016) in which Mr Parris, a retired TCD lecturer, lost his challenge to his employer’s pension scheme before the Court of Justice of the European Union. He had argued that his TCD pension scheme was discriminatory, as it provided that a TCD employee’s partner would only be entitled to a survivor’s pension where the employee had married or entered a civil partnership before reaching the age of 60.

“Our Bill – now adopted by the Minister – represents a small but significant step towards rectifying a continuing discrimination against a small number of individuals, who face the same difficulty as David Parris under their pension schemes, despite the passage of the Marriage Equality referendum. It will make a real difference to the LGBT couples who face continued discrimination in their pension benefits – I look forward to its speedy enactment.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • The equality measure in question relates to Head 14 of Minister Leo Varadkar’s General Scheme of Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2017: http://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/GeneralSchemeSocialWelfarePensionsBills2017.pdf
  • Labour’s Pensions (Equal Pension Treatment in Occupational Benefit Schemes) (Amendment) Bill 2016 was introduced to the Seanad on March 22nd, 2017 and can be found here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2016/10916/b10916s.pdf
  • Explanatory memo: https://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2016/10916/b10916s-memo.pdf

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