Do employers have to provide survivors' pension benefits to same-sex partners?

Yes, registered civil partners and same-sex spouses must be treated in the same way as opposite-sex spouses in relation to the provision of survivors' pension benefits.

Survivors' pension benefits can be limited to married partners and registered civil partners only. If the pension scheme provides survivors' pension benefits to unmarried partners of the opposite sex, it must also provide survivors' pension benefits to unmarried same-sex partners, whether or not they are registered civil partners.

In Walker v Innospec Ltd and others [2017] IRLR 928 SC, the Supreme Court held that civil partners and same-sex spouses are entitled to pension benefits accrued prior to the introduction of civil partnerships on 5 December 2005. Before this judgment, benefits could be limited to those accruing from 5 December 2005, under an exemption in the Equality Act 2010.