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MSE News: Retirement age hike has left women hundreds of pounds worse off

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  • DairyQueen
    DairyQueen Posts: 1,830 Forumite
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    bigadaj wrote: »
    Which might well have been the case forty or fifty years ago, but things change as should the legislation.

    Not 40/50 years ago. Things have indeed changed (and so has the legislation) but that social transition has taken many years longer than the government took to belatedly implement and accelerate equalisation of SPA. The process of gender equalisation is still ongoing. I am in danger of going off topic if (for example) I make reference to pay inequality, or that men continue to dominate board rooms, etc., etc.

    Anecdotally, I still vividly recall a workplace conversation I had with my then boss some years ago, Having discovered that a newly recruited man was earning 25% more than me I politely queried this (as we had the same job role and I was more experienced). The reply: "He has a wife and children to support" would now constitute grounds for legal action. Back then the only recourse unlikely to torpedo your career was to vote with your feet. I left the company shortly thereafter.

    It was 1989. I had just turned 30. I was then an IT team leader. It took another few years before that culture began to significantly change.

    The legacy of pay inequality will be a feature of our social landscape for decades. Less pay means less pension and that is evidenced by the ongoing and persistent gender difference in pension provision.

    There are now women retiring with pensions which match those of their male colleagues but, in my experience, they are still a minority. Many women of my age and older (and also many younger) are, or will be, dependent on their spouse's pension to maintain their income in old age. Women whom retire minus a spouse are especially over-represented in the lowest pensioner income groups. And, yes, I know that the exceptions are well-represented on this forum.

    I consider myself lucky that, despite having been paid less than my male colleagues throughout my most productive years, I still have a decent pension. I can guarantee that, even if I retire on the same date as a man of my age, and even if we have identical employment and investment histories, his pension will be higher than mine.

    There is no question that SPA should have been equalised many years before the government took action. There is also no question that women should be treated equally in the workplace, and paid on a par with men. The former has an end date; not so the latter.

    I will now jump-off my soapbox.
  • Mortgagefreeman
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    DairyQueen wrote: »

    Anecdotally, I still vividly recall a workplace conversation I had with my then boss some years ago, Having discovered that a newly recruited man was earning 25% more than me I politely queried this (as we had the same job role and I was more experienced). The reply: "He has a wife and children to support" would now constitute grounds for legal action. Back then the only recourse unlikely to torpedo your career was to vote with your feet. I left the company shortly thereafter.

    It was 1989. I had just turned 30. I was then an IT team leader.

    Oddly enough I suffered similar discrimination as a single bloke, back in the late 80's. Company bought in a bloke four year younger than me, with much less responsibility and work load than I had. Paid 30% more than me because he had a wife and two kids! Needless to say my Boss soon realised ' the error of his ways ':D
  • jamesd
    jamesd Posts: 26,103 Forumite
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    edited 6 August 2017 at 7:46PM
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    If you want the 1940 Act's reasons, the Hansard debate is here. They included:

    1. Replacing the local government Poor Law means tested payments with a means tested pension administered by the new Unemployment Assistance Board for women unable to work or find work from age 60.
    2. Allowing a 65+ year old husband to claim the couple's pension when his wife had reached 60. If the wife was 66 and husband 63 both were ineligible for this contributory pension because qualification was first by husband's age.

    In essence, the current working age benefits system delivers the help to women unable to work or find work today, while those who have a state pension entitlement can now get it at their state pension age regardless of the age of their husband.

    A significant difference today is that the means tested Pension Credit is a lot higher than means tested benefits for those below their Pension Credit age (the age at which a woman would reach her state pension age).

    At the moment we have a temporary setup where men not working can claim Pension Credit instead of working age benefits a year before their state pension age. Might be worth making some sort of reduced but higher than working age benefits a normal part of the means tested system for both men and women at the same age, but still with a reduced seeking or unable to work requirement to reflect the practical job finding difficulties. That to address the income poverty (below 60% of average income) increase of 6.4% for women and 6.1% for men in the group affected by the increase in Pension Credit age that this analysis found. There's a good deal of payment level difference between working age and pension benefits for some sort of halfway house or escalating level.
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