Govt could face further legal challenges over public sector pensions

The government could be facing legal challenges from teachers and doctors who were transferred into less beneficial pension schemes.

Law firm Leigh Day believes that teachers and doctors have grounds for a legal challenge against the government for age discrimination, in a case similar to the one won by judges and firefighters against the government in December 2018.

Similarly to the judges and firefighters case, younger teachers and doctors have been moved into a new government pension scheme less beneficial than the older scheme, while older workers who are within 10 years of retirement have been allowed to stay in the old scheme.

The government failed in its appeal to the Supreme Court against the firefighters and judge’s ruling in June 2019.

Leigh Day has said that the problem affects savers across the public sector and is prepared to support teachers and doctors in a claim against the government.

The law firm already represents around 15,000 police officers whose claims for age discrimination have been lodged with the Employment Tribunal.

The government had previously confirmed that the firefighters and judges case ruling applied to all public sector schemes.

Leigh Day partner, Nigel Mackay, said that the firm believes the government is “short-changing” hundreds of thousand of doctors and teachers.

He continued: “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.

“However, it has not made any commitments to remedy the issue for any judges or firefighters who have not brought claims, or any other public sector workers, including doctors or teachers, that have been affected by the same changes to their pension policy.”

The law firm added that, even if the government was to make changes to address age discrimination in the future, there was no guarantee that it was compensate public sector workers for past discrimination without a legal challenge.

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