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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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Redundancy and deferred pensions :- Following redundancy in

Customer Question

Redundancy and deferred pensions :- Following redundancy in 1986 I have a deferred pension from that employment commencing in 4 yrs time when I'm 65. The pension was a final salary non-contributory scheme. Redundancy was due to company re-organisation and was immediate on the day I received notice. I was given a redundancy payment but was not given the option of working the 6 week statutory notice period and received payment in lieu. A recent pension forecast shows my period of service for pension purposes as ending on the day I received the notice of redundancy instead of 6 weeks later at the end of the statutory notice period. Reading the contract of employment suggests that I was entitled to "the same benefits as a normally terminating person", ie benefits continue to accrue to the end of the notice period. As the pension in part is determined by the length of service have I been short-changed by 6 weeks and do I have any rights of redress ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer, if you are not getting anywhere with the scheme administrator and it seems that the administrator is applying an incorrect end date then you have the option of referring the matter to the Pensions Ombudsman who will make a determination as to whether the correct date has been applied.

You will find full details of the complaints process at www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk.

All the best.

Please remember to give positive feedback. I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you but I don't think you've answered my question. What I want from you is what the law says in these circumstances. I'm not sure whether its a question for the pensions ombudsman or an employment tribunal as it seems to stem from the way the company has interpreted the contract of employment.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Didn't answer my question. I'm looking for legal advice on what the law says in these circumstances, that's why I've come to you, not to be advised to take the matter to an ombudsman for their advice.Initially Remus 2004 barrister specializing in this field was assigned the question but never responded.
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
So are you saying that the scheme is basing its decision according to what the employer says is the effective date of termination?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes exactly, its a company pension administered by the company so all the details regarding final salary and the end date of employment have been determined by the company. I always believed that the employment contract terminated at the end of the statutory notice period and that this had precedence in law, and therefore all benefits under the contract of employment continued to the end of the notice period.


I notice your time line is EST, are you a US lawyer interpreting English law ?

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
No I'm based in the UK. Have you complained to the employer directly. Do you know when they notified the scheme administrator of the termination date?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes have written to the company explaining my concerns and awaiting their reply, but anticipating they will not willingly shift their position as it's likely they've applied the same principle to others made redundant in the same circumstances at the same time. I assume they notified the scheme administrator immediately following my redundancy dismissal (May 1986). This has only come to my attention when I recently asked the administrator for a pension forecast as I'm only 4 yrs off from drawing the pension.

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Ok I will respond in full this morning.
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hello sorry for my slight delay in getting back to you.

I am still of the opinon that the Pensions Ombudsman is the correct form of redress. They have powers to make orders to all parties concerned in the administration of a pension scheme (including the employer).

Whilst potentilaly there is a breach of contract claim against employer for incorrectly interpreting your contract at the time you were made redundant, limitation periods in UK law mean that you will not have direct redress against the employer. There is normally a 6 year limit on breach of contract claims from the date of the breach.

There is no such limit for the ombudsman running from the date of the breach, the limit for them is 3 years from when you ought reasonably to know of the problem, as you have only just received the forecast then you are well within that time limit. If the ombudsman finds in your favour then the employer/ administrators can be ordered to put things right and ultimately the courts can be involved if they refuse to comply with the determination of the ombudsman.

I have already given you the details of the Pensions Ombudman Service and would urge you to contact them to make a complaint.

All the best.

Please remember to give positive feedback. I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience: Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello,


Thank you very much for your advice and especially explaining the law. I now have a better idea of how to take this forward if the employer sticks to his current position and indeed will follow through with the Pensions Ombudsman if necessary.


Many thanks,


NB.

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
No problem, all the best.

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