Key points
§  Add a note hereAn employee who is a trustee of a relevant occupational pension scheme relating to his (or her) employment has the legal right to perform his duties as such a trustee without fear of being dismissed. Furthermore, he is entitled to a reasonable amount of paid time off work (during normal working hours) to enable him to carry out those duties and, if need be, to undergo training relevant to the performance of those duties (sections 58, 59 and 102, Employment Rights Act 1996).
Add a note hereThe expression 'relevant occupational pension scheme' means an occupational pension scheme established under a trust by the employee's employer, as defined in section 1 of the Pension Schemes Act 1993.
Add a note hereComplaint to an employment tribunal
§  Add a note hereIf an employer dismisses an employee (or selects him (or her) for redundancy) for performing (or proposing to perform) his duties as a pension fund trustee, the dismissal will be regarded as unfair. The trustee may present a complaint of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal, regardless of his age or length of service at the material time, and will be awarded compensation (including a minimum basic award of £3,500 – which latter is reviewed annually) if his complaint is upheld. The complaint must, however, be presented to the tribunal within three months of the effective date of termination of the employee's contract of employment.
Add a note hereApplication for interim relief
§  Add a note hereA pension fund trustee who has registered a complaint of unfair dismissal with the Secretary to the Tribunals, in the circumstances described above, may apply to an employment tribunal for interim relief (briefly, a direction to his (or her) employer, or former employer, ordering him either to reinstate the employee in his old job or re-engage him in comparable employment pending the determination of his complaint at the subsequent full tribunal hearing).
§  Add a note hereAn application for interim relief in the circumstances described must be submitted to an employment tribunal within seven days of the effective date of termination of the employee's contract of employment.
§  Add a note hereAn employment tribunal must hear an application for interim relief as quickly as possible, but not before sending the employer a copy of the employee's application and giving the employer at least seven days' advance written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.
§  Add a note hereIf, on hearing the employee's application for interim relief, the tribunal agrees that there is a likelihood that the complaint will be upheld at a full tribunal hearing (that may not take place until several weeks or months later), it will order the employer to reinstate or re-engage the employee until the date set for the full hearing. If the employer fails to attend the interim hearing or has made it clear that he has no intention either of reinstating or re-engaging the employee, the tribunal will make an order for the continuation of the employee's contract of employment. This means, in effect, that the employer must continue to pay the employee his or her normal wages or salary (less any reduction in respect of payments already made) until the employee's complaint is finally heard and decided. A failure to comply with the terms of a 'continuation order' will likewise attract an award of compensation that, if need be, will be enforced by the ordinary courts.