Your Rights if in a Civil Partnership

Site updated on August 5, 2016

The Civil Partnership Act of 2005 came into force at the end of 2005 and provides a range of rights for same sex couples who have formally entered into a legal relationship. Some of these rights relate to employment. These rights are now covered by the Equality Act 2010.

Your Employer should  treat same sex couples in a Civil Partnership the same as married couples.

Civil Partners should be given access to the following employment rights and benefits where these are offered to married couples:

  • entitled to paternity leave, adoption leave, statutory paternity pay and adoption pay
  • flexible working requests for looking after a child
  • pension rights the same as a “spouse”.
  • death in service benefits where paid to a married couple
  • any wedding related gifts or honeymoon leave

All employment benefits (which are available to “spouses”) should be available to same sex civil partners.

Civil partnerships and marriage

Key points

  • Same sex couples who register as civil partners have the same rights as married couples in respect of employment rights.
  • The Equality Act 2010 protects employees who are in a civil partnership, or marriage against discrimination.
  • The Equality Act also gives protection from discrimination because of an employees sexual orientation.
  • Recruitment and selection policies must not discriminate on the grounds of civil partnerships, marriage or sexual orientation.

It is possible for Gay and Lesbian couples to register a civil partnership; this gives them many of the same rights as a married couple. The Equality Act of 2010 protects employees who are in a civil partnership, or marriage, against discrimination.

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of being in a civil partnership or marriage. Indirect discrimination can occur when an employer has a condition, rule, policy or a practice in a company that applies to everyone but will disadvantage people who are in a civil partnership or marriage. Indirect discrimination can be justified only if an employer makes a lawful decision in running a business or organisation and this decision is fair and reasonable and they can show they have looked at less discriminatory alternatives.

Same-sex couples who register as civil partners have the right to equal treatment with married couples in a wide range of matters including employment and vocational training. Whatever benefits married employees and their spouses are given must be provided to employees who are civil partners and to their civil partners. This includes survivor pensions, flexible working, statutory paternity pay, paternity and adoption leave, health insurance or time off before or after marriage/registration.

The Equality Act 2010 also gives protection from discrimination because of sexual orientation. This includes orientation towards someone of the same sex (lesbian or gay men), opposite sex (heterosexual) or both sexes (bisexual)’. The law means that an organisation’s recruitment and selection procedures.

© Your Job Rights 2016

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