The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has told the Occupational Pension Schemes Joint Working Group (in a note to the group) that it will consult on draft legislation in relation to GMP equalisation around Easter time. There are two specific issues on which the Government is seeking comment, either in response to the note, or as part of the formal consultation:
- Should the daft legislation refer explicitly to the fact that schemes should not look for comparators when equalising GMPs accrued from 17 May 1990 or should it refer more broadly to not seeking comparators when rectifying any inequality which is not compatible with European law on equal pay? (This question follows from a number of ECJ cases which decided that when equalising GMPs there is no actual need to show that a comparator exists).
- Is there anything else the Government can do to help schemes fulfil their obligations to equalise GMPs?
The note follows fresh legal advice received by the DWP, confirming earlier advice received by it, that GMPs should be equalised. It is not clear if the DWP will actually require in the draft legislation that schemes should equalise GMPs or if this will simply be implied.