Providing for same sex partnerships

New law in force

The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 10. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.

Same sex partners enjoy the same legal rights as all parents.

Men and women in same sex partnerships, who meet the relevant qualifying conditions, are entitled to the following:

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Ordinary Adoption Leave, Additional Adoption Leave and Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Statutory Paternity Leave and Statutory Paternity Pay
  • Parental Leave
  • Time Off for Dependents
  • Right to request flexible working
  • Time off for antenatal care

A female partner is entitled to Statutory Paternity Leave and Statutory Paternity Pay if she meets the relevant qualifying conditions.

The same qualifying conditions apply to all employees.

It is unlawful to discriminate against or harass a person on the grounds of their sexual orientation. See your rights: sexual orientation for more information. It is good practice to ask employees if they would prefer information about their sexual orientation to be kept confidential. Employees may be concerned about the possibility of harassment or discrimination from other staff.

Civil partnerships

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005. It enables same sex couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationship. Couples who form a civil partnership are known as civil partners. Civil partners have equal treatment to married couples in respect of employment rights and benefits and can apply for parental responsibility of a civil partner’s child.

Civil partners enjoy the same legal rights as all parents.

Civil partners, who meet the relevant qualifying conditions, are entitled to the following:

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity Leave and Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Ordinary Adoption Leave, Additional Adoption Leave and Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Statutory Paternity Leave and Statutory Paternity Pay
  • Parental Leave
  • Time Off for Dependents
  • Right to request flexible working
  • Time off for antenatal care

The same qualifying conditions apply to all employees.
 

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against or harass a person on the grounds of their civil partnership. It is unlawful discrimination to treat a person in a civil partnership less favourably than a married person.

It is good practice to ask employees if they would prefer information about their civil partnership to be kept confidential. Employees may be concerned about the possibility of harassment or discrimination from other staff.

You should ensure that any benefits provided to married couples, such as survivor benefits, are also provided for civil partners.

Relevant legislation

  • Civil Partnership Act 2004
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Please note that some of the legislation listed above has been amended since it originally came into force. You must ensure, therefore, that you refer to the most recent version.

 

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