What special issues are there for women?

The information in workSMART's questions and answers applies to both men and women. But there are a number of issues that particularly affect women. Women get a raw deal from the present pensions system. Women can lose out in a number of ways:

  • Spending time out of work looking after children or other dependants may mean that you do not get the opportunity to save into a workplace pension scheme, although this time will normally count towards building up a State Pension.
  • Low-paid jobs may pay less than the lower earnings limit for national insurance. This means that you are not building up entitlement to your state retirement pension and you may not be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension with employer contributions either. Each job counts separately so those combining part-time jobs can earn over the limit altogether, but still miss out if each pays below the limit.
  • Many women in the past paid a reduced national insurance contribution known as 'the married women's stamp'. This did not build up a right to an individual State Pension.
  • Women earn less than men on average so any earnings-related pension will also tend to be less.
  • The state pension age for women increased rapidly between 2010 and 2018 from 60 to 65.

There's an overview of women and the State Pension on The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) website. TPAS also operates a helpline specifically for answering questions about women and pensions. The number is 0345 600 0806.

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.