Company bosses who display ‘reckless and wilful behaviour’ and mismanage their employees’ pensions could face up to seven years in prison.
Amber Rudd, Pensions Minister, February 2019
A priority for Feisty Women is to test the effectiveness of equalities legislation by challenging the lawfulness of 2011 changes to the state pension age for women through civil litigation and a possible group action.
Our interest is not the restoration of state pension age for women or transitional arrangements, but financial redress on the grounds of indirect discrimination and a potential breach of contract.
The Gender Pension Gap for women over the age of 60 mirrors the Gender Pay Gap. Motherhood is an important cause of low pay for women. In the first 12 years after a child is born, the pay gap between women and men widens to 33% (Institute of Fiscal Studies).
A wealth of data exists to prove the economic participation of women and men as they approach retirement is not the same. Women in their sixties are poorer and in worse health than men the same age. Our paid work and unpaid work in the home (critical to the success of the economy) have not been valued proportionately.
Changes to state pension age for women have created a unique legal situation. We know women over the age of 60 have experienced sex discrimination and economic injustice all their lives, yet there appears to be no straightforward route to justice. Pension injustice appears to fall between different areas of law. For this reason, our legal representatives describe our case as a ‘case of interest’ because there will be lessons to be learned. If in the end, women over the age of 60 have no real access to justice, then we will challenge the effectiveness of equalities legislation which may not be fit for purpose.
Following a year of in-depth research, Feisty Women has now put in place a three step process.
First, we have engaged legal representatives to work across areas of law to prepare a detailed brief for an advocate (barrister) expert in employment law and discrimination.
Second, the advocate will give an opinion about what is likely to be a novel route through the legal system.
Third, if a legal route is possible, Feisty Women will raise further funds and launch legal action.