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Part-Time Tribunal Members Can’t Have Pensions

In an important test case, part-time medical members of tribunals have failed to convince the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that they should be entitled to pensions like their full-time, salaried, brethren.

The part-time members, who are paid fees rather than salaries, argued that their treatment violated the provisions of the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

An Employment Tribunal (ET) accepted that 85 per cent of the work carried out by full-time regional medical members – the part of their working days taken up by sitting in a judicial capacity – was the same as that done by their part-time colleagues.

However, in rejecting the part-timers’ case against the Ministry of Justice, the ET found that the remaining 15 per cent of the role performed by salaried members differentiated them from their fee-paid colleagues. The ET ruled that the role of the regional members was ‘qualitatively different’ and that the two groups could thus not be regarded as being engaged in broadly similar work.

Whilst not doubting the importance of the work carried out by fee-paid members, the EAT dismissed the appeal. The ET had correctly assessed the evidence and was entitled to conclude that the roles performed by full-time and part-time members were not the same or broadly similar within the meaning of the Regulations.