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IMPLICATIONS OF CIVIL PARTNERSHIP ACT
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005. Civil partnerships are a new legal relationship exclusively for same sex couples. Employers must treat employees in a civil partnership in the same way as married employees. A civil partner who is treated less favourably than a married person in similar circumstances will be able to bring a claim for sexual orientation discrimination.
More information at:
When the Civil Partnership Act came into operation, HR checked all its forms and policies to ensure UCL is up to date with the changes and alerted its staff to the changes. In fact we had little change to make as we had not used the terms 'wife', 'spouse' etc for a long time in preference of 'partners'. UCL's Equality Opportunity policies also ensure that same sex partners are considered in the same way as partners of heterosexual staff or students.
1. Change of name:
One person may wish to change their surname to be the same as their partner’s. This doesn’t require a change of name by deed poll. The Civil Partnership Certificate provides necessary documentary evidence of the change of surname.
Some couples may wish to choose a new shared surname, have double-barrelled surnames using both surnames, or have one surname as the middle name of both partners. These changes, and changing a title from Miss/Ms to Mrs, have to be registered by Deed Poll.
Once HR has the necessary documentary evidence of change of name or title, it will change documents/records accordingly.
Professionally, don’t ask if someone is married, or in a civil partnership. Where staff are asked to nominate an 'emergency contact', and 'next of kin', UCL does not ask for the nature of the relationship.
Like married couples, civil partners do not have to live together to be considered civil partners.
Treat civil partnership information as sensitive confidential information. Avoid making civil partnerships public unless you have the person's permission, as some people may not want their sexual orientation widely known, especially where lesbian or gay staff are not 'out', (i.e. do not acknowledge publicly/at work that they are lesbian or gay; knowing that being 'out' and visible can make them more vulnerable to prejudice and attack.)
The same as for married couples.
Pension schemes must provide survivor benefits for civil partners on the basis of deceased members’ rights accrued from 6 April 1988, to treat them on par with widows/widowers.
If one of the partners dies in service as a member of a Pension Scheme, a pension will be payable to the civil partner for life.
If a member of staff who is neither married nor in a civil partnership lives with a partner (including someone of the same sex) and is financially dependent, then that person could qualify for a dependent pension, (as defined by the pension scheme, and in accordance with those scheme rules). Further information and clarification as to who may qualify and what nomination forms may be needed by each particular scheme can be obtained from the UCL pension team (contact information can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/staff/hr_staff_contacts.php ).
For further information contact UCL's Equalities Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org