The proposals to remove the discrimination will apply to scheme members who were in service on or before 31 March 2012 and on or after 1 April 2015; including those with a qualifying break in service of less than five years.
The Civil Service Pension scheme in NI is also affected as it offered transitional protection as part of the 2015 pension reforms. The tribunal requires steps to be taken to provide a remedy for claimants who suffered discrimination. Alongside this, the Department of Finance has confirmed that any necessary changes to pension arrangements will also be implemented for non-claimants to ensure the discrimination is removed for all members with relevant service, not just those who have lodged legal claims.
New entrants to the Civil Service, from 1 April 2015, who were enrolled into alpha when they joined, are not affected by the Court’s ruling as they do not fall within scope for the remedy.
All members who were subject to the discrimination will be within scope of any changes made to schemes, irrespective of their status, i.e. pensioner, still in service (active member), left service but not yet taken benefits (deferred member).
Individuals that meet the following criteria are in scope of the changes:
- were members, or eligible to be members, of a public service pension scheme on 31 March 2012;
- were members of a public service pension scheme between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022; and
- the two periods above were continuous (or treated as continuous under the scheme regulations, including those with a qualifying break in service of less than 5 years).