The Danish pension fund for doctors has been hit with a formal complaint filed via an arbitration agency by women doctors who said the fund discriminated against them.

Lægernes Pension announced yesterday that the Equal Treatment Board (Ligebehandlingsnævnet) informed it on 10 September that six female members of the pension fund had lodged a formal grievance.

The pension fund said: “The complainants believe that they have been discriminated against by Lægernes Pension because of their gender and will therefore receive less in monthly pension benefit from Lægernes Pension compared to their male colleagues.”

The pension fund said that up to 1998 when the law changed on the issue, it had been normal practice in the pension sector, and at Lægernes Pension, for pension savings to be gender-segregated.

Under the old system, the fact that as a whole women lived longer than men led to lower monthly pension payments to women on the rationale that their lifelong pensions had to extend further than those of their male counterparts.

Lægernes Pension said the issue affected around 3,000 female members out of its total membership of 46,000.

“In the same context, it should be mentioned that approximately 5,000 male doctors receive a lower monthly pension than their female colleagues,” said Lægernes Pension.

“This applies to those members who have chosen a spouse’s pension and is due to the fact that the spouses of the male doctors live longer than the spouses of female doctors,” the fund said.

A spokesperson for the Danish National Board of Appeal (Ankestyrelsen), which includes the Equal Treatment Board, was not immediately able to confirm the existence of the case, but told IPE the board was unable to comment on individual cases anyway.

The pension fund said that in previous years it had looked to see whether the principles of the new system, under which women are paid the same monthly pension as men, could be applied retroactively and also apply to those doctors who were already members.

However, the pension fund said it had decided that this could not be changed.

“As recently as 2016, the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority’s board of directors has confirmed this legal assessment,” the fund said.

Commenting on the current situation, the fund said: “Lægernes Pension would like to contribute to creating further clarity and transparency in the area, just as we contribute to the Equal Treatment Board’s case processing of the complaint from the six members.”

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