I'm in a same-sex relationship, but I am not married or in a civil partnership. Do I have the same right to my partner's benefits package as a married partner would?

No. If you are in a same-sex relationship but are not married and not in a civil partnership, you have the right to the same treatment as someone who is unmarried in a heterosexual relationship. It is not sexual orientation discrimination to offer a benefit only to employees who are married or in a civil partnership, and to exclude all unmarried employees, whether they are in a same-sex or heterosexual relationship.

It would be sexual orientation discrimination for the rules to treat you differently from heterosexual unmarried couples, or for partners in a civil partnership or a same-sex marriage to be treated less favourably than married couples.

There is one exception, which concerns pension survivorship benefits. It is now established that denying civil partners, or couples in a same-sex marriage, access to pension survivorship benefits that accrued before 5 December 2005 (the date the UK ratified European laws outlawing same-sex discrimination) is not unlawful sexual orientation discrimination. This was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in the case of Innospec Limited v Walker [2015] EWCA Civ 1000 CA.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.