Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University

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Civil Partnership Registration Information

Loughborough University Commitment - Loughborough University will treat all employees in a civil partnership in the same way as married employees.

Loughborough has an equal opportunities policy that aims to remove unfair and discriminatory practices within the University and to encourage full contribution from its diverse community. Loughborough University is committed to achieving equality for all those who learn and work here and wishes to develop a demonstrably fair and supportive environment which provides equality of opportunity and freedom from unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity (transsexual), marital or civil partnership status, disability, including mental health difficulties, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, social class or offending background. We are proud of our diverse community and wish to encourage and celebrate its full contribution to a University life where all colleagues are treated equally and with respect.

The University will create an environment free from discrimination and endeavour to follow best practice to achieve the aims of the Equal Opportunity Code of Practice in relation to Civil Partnership Registration.

Civil Partnership Act 2004

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 received Royal Assent on 18 November 2004 and came into effect on 5th December 2005.

''Civil partnership registration underlines the inherent value of committed same-sex relationships. It supports stable families and shows that we really respect the diversity of the society we live in. It opens the way to respect, recognition and justice for those who have been denied it too long.''
Jacqui Smith MP, Minister for Equality, June 2003

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 allows same-sex couples to gain legal recognition for their relationships by signing a registration document.

In practice it will mean that same sex couples will have access to many of the state and private pension rights currently enjoyed by married couples.

It is only available to same sex couples.

The Process of Partnership Registration

• Couples may enter civil partnerships in local registration services
• Each partner will have to sign the register in the presence of the registration officer and two witnesses
• There will also be a formal, court-based process for dissolving the Partnership
• Three weeks notification must be given before a partnership can be registered.

Main Partnership Rights

The Civil Partnership Act introduces a number of rights for couples who register:

• Social security and pension benefits, including rights to benefit from a deceased partner's pension
• Full recognition for life assurance schemes
• Ability to succeed to tenancy rights
• Next-of-kin visiting rights in hospitals
• Access to fatal accidents compensation
• Protection from domestic violence
• Recognition for immigration and nationality purposes
• Exemption from testifying against each other in court.

Individual Responsibilities

• Providing reasonable maintenance for civil partners and children of the family
• Civil partners to be assessed in the same way as spouses for child support 
• Ability to gain parental responsibility for a partner's children
• Civil partners to be assessed in the same way as married and non married couples for tax credits

Employment Issues

The Government intends that civil partners and spouses be treated in the same way in relation to workplace benefits as married partners. The Government proposes to amend the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 in order to achieve this. Below are more details of how Civil Partnership will impact at work and includes pensions, benefits and immigration.

All the Human Resource policies and practices including benefits treat civil partners and married people in the same way at Loughborough University.

Pension Provision

The Civil Partnership Act makes a range of key provisions for same sex couples who register a Civil Partnership. Staff will have the same right to survivors’ pensions for their civil partners as married employees already have for their spouses. Although the exact benefits will depend on the type of pension scheme, this will include contracted-out schemes, with rights accrued on the basis of service since 1988 - on the same basis as currently applies to widowers. Spouses’ pensions and death in service lump sums should be paid on an equal basis.

• Public Sector schemes will consider civil partners in the same way as spouses. 
• Private Pension Scheme providers will be required to pay survivor pensions to civil partners.
• If a couple are over state pension age and one of them dies, the surviving partner will be able to access their partner’s state pension provision to boost their own pension entitlement.
• If a couple are under state pension age and one of them dies, the surviving partner will be entitled to claim bereavement benefit.

State Pensions
Civil partners will receive the same state pension benefits as married couples.

Survivors Pensions
Civil partners will be able to accrue survivor pensions in public service schemes and contracted-out pension schemes from 1988. A pension provider will be required to offer the surviving civil partner a pension to the value of the guaranteed minimum pension.

The USS scheme already provides for dependent partners of same sex coupes. The Local Government Pension Scheme currently only provides for the partners of married couples.

It is possible to complete a form stating who you would wish to receive survivors benefit, but the administering authority will decide who to pay it to.

It should be noted that the final decision is made by the pensions trustees who may make other recommendations.

If you wish to be certain that their partner is the beneficiary, it is recommended that this is made explicit by nominating a partner to the pension scheme.

Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has proposed changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme, (LGPS), to implement the survivor pension provisions of the Civil Partnership Act, which is being consulted on. This states that:

“The Government’s intention is that the surviving civil partner of any member – active, deferred or pensioner – with post 5 April 1988 membership should be entitled to benefit. Because civil partnership will not have been available before December 2005, no distinction will be made on the basis of whether the civil partnership was entered into before or after the members ceases or ceased local government employment.”

Pension Benefits for Non Registered Surviving Partners

Same sex couples who are financially interdependent, but have not registered a civil partnership should also be treated in the same way as unmarried heterosexual couples.

In many pension schemes it is already possible to nominate a beneficiary for the death in service lump sum payment or any other lump sum payments, including the USS pension scheme.

Welfare Benefits

Same sex couples living together, as if they were civil partners, will be treated in the same way as heterosexual couples living together as husband and wife,whether they have registered a partnership or not. Needs and the resources of both partners will be taken into consideration in calculating benefit entitlement. Civil partners who are claiming as single individuals will need to put in new claims as couples when they register a civil partnership.

Survivors Benefits
Surviving civil partners will be eligible for bereavement benefits, including bereavement payment, bereavement allowance and widowed parent’s allowance, in the same way as surviving spouses.

Dissolution and Pension Sharing Orders
The Act gives a civil partner the right to a pension sharing order on dissolution of a civil partnership. The regulations which currently apply to spouses will also apply to civil partners.

A pension sharing order allows the court to order that a specified percentage of one party's pension fund be transferred into the name of the other. The recipient becomes a pension member in his or her own right with all the usual benefits permitted by the rules of the scheme. The recipients pension is payable for the duration of their life and is not affected by their previous partner remarrying or entering into another civil partnership.

Tax

Government will legislate to ensure that civil partners will be treated the same as married couples for tax purposes. This means that tax charges and reliefs and anti-avoidance rules will apply equally to married couples and civil partners, and those treated as such. Areas covered will include, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, ISA’s, Transfers and so on.

Tax Credits

Civil partners and co-habiting same-sex couples who do not register a civil partnership will be treated in the same way as married couples and cohabiting unmarried opposite-sex couples.

The incomes of both partners will be taken into account when calculating entitlement to Tax Credits. Similarly same-sex couples living together, (whether or not they register a civil partnership), are obliged to notify the Tax Credits Office of their circumstances.

Immigration Issues

Partnership schemes for same-sex couples that exist across Europe and beyond

Legal relationships registered under the law of another country or territory will automatically be treated as having formed a civil partnership and will not need to be registered in the UK as well, so long as individuals and their overseas relationship meets the requirements set out in the Civil Partnership Act.

Work permit and student visa holders

Civil partners of people with temporary leave to remain in the UK, such as students and work permit holders will be free to apply for leave to remain in line with their civil partners. For example, where the principal work permit holder has two years leave to remain in the UK this will be extended to their civil partner. Should the principal work permit holder apply for indefinite leave to remain, then their civil partner will also be eligible to apply as a dependant.

Non UK or European Economic Area (EEA) citizens

There are restrictions where either of the proposed civil partners is subject to UK immigration control. A person will be subject to immigration control if they are not an EEA or Swiss national and if they require permission to enter or remain in the UK.

The civil partnership provisions for persons subject to immigration control are exactly the same as those already in place for spouses. Anyone subject to immigration control who wishes to give notice of a civil partnership will need to do so at a Register Office designated for that purpose. A list of these offices will be added to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) website in due course.

Conditions for Civil Partnership

Civil partners must be:

• Of the same sex
• Not in an existing civil partnership or marriage
• Old enough to marry (i.e. 18 without permission, 16 with permission)
• Not 'within the prohibited degrees of relationship', as with marriage

Access to the Register
Once a Civil Partnership has been registered the public can have access to this information. However, the university's standard confidentiality protocol means that an individual's sexual orientation will only be discussed or disclosed with their consent.

How to Register

The process is to be notified, however, in the meantime individuals can contact the local Registry Office. Three weeks, (fifteen working days), notice is required and the first registrations will take place from 21st December 2005.

Other Options

The Registry Office will also provide Civil Ceremonies, which are not legally binding, but may be considered as an alternative.

The Leicestershire Registrar office and the Nottingham City Registrars Office are happy to provide more information on Civil Partnerships and Ceremonies.

Changing names after registration

A civil partnership certificate can be used as evidence by Government departments and agencies, such as the Passport Agency and the DVLA in the same way as married couples can use their marriage certificate. If anyone wishes to change their last name after registering a civil partnership they may take a civil partners name, or hyphenate both names.

Dissolution
There is a statutory dissolution process to deal with situations where a civil partnership breaks down. The provisions for financial relief for civil partners correspond to the relief available to married couples on divorce. For example, after the dissolution of a civil partnership the Act provides for pension sharing on broadly the same basis currently applicable to married couples who divorce. See also section on pensions.

Disclaimer
This document is intended for information purposes only. The author nor the University assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information disclosed.

 

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