Last reviewed 1 February 2021
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is consulting on proposals to change NHS Pension Scheme regulations. Full details of the consultation, together with a copy of the draft National Health Service Pension Schemes and Injury Benefits (Amendment) Regulations 2021, can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-nhs-pension-scheme-regulations.
The deadline for submitting comments is 8 April 2021.
Proposed changes include:
equalise the entitlement to survivor pensions for male survivors of female scheme members who would otherwise receive a lower pension under existing rules, following the employment tribunal decision in Goodwin v the Secretary of State for Education
further to the changes required following Goodwin, remove certain amendments to the 1995 Regulations made by the Civil Partnership (Opposite Sex Couples) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/1458)
ensure that payments and allowances under the New to Partnership Payments (N2PP) Scheme, introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHS E&I) in 2020, are treated as non-pensionable earnings for both GPs and non-GP providers
reform the final pay control provisions of the 1995 Regulations, following a review and recommendations by the NHS Pension Scheme's Scheme Advisory Board
make miscellaneous amendments to correct minor errors or omissions in the NHS Pension Scheme Regulations and the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme Regulations.
Goodwin v the Secretary of State for Education
In June 2020, the employment tribunal handed down its judgment in Goodwin v the Secretary of State for Education. The tribunal considered the rules on survivor benefits in the Teacher's Pension Scheme and concluded that a female member in an opposite-sex marriage was treated less favourably than a female member in a same-sex marriage or civil partnership, and that treatment amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
As a direct result of this discrimination, male survivors of female members were entitled to a lower rate of survivor benefit than a comparable same-sex survivor. Consequently, the relevant provisions of the Teachers' Pension Scheme Regulations 2010 were found to be in breach of the non-discrimination rule set out in s.61 of the Equality Act 2010.