Case of European Court of Human Rights, February 17, 2011 (case Andrle v. the Czech Republic)

Resolution DateFebruary 17, 2011

Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 138

February 2011

Andrle v. the Czech Republic - 6268/08

Judgment 17.2.2011 [Section V]

Article 14

Discrimination

Lower pensionable age for women who had raised children, but not for men: no violation

Facts – Following his divorce, the applicant obtained custody of his two minor children. In 2003 he sought to retire at the age of 57, but his request was refused on the grounds that he had not attained the pensionable age, which at the time was 60 for men. The age for women was 57 or lower, depending on the number of children they had raised (section 32 of the State Pension Insurance Act). The applicant appealed on the grounds that the fact that he had raised two children should have been taken into account in calculating his retirement age, but his appeal was dismissed after the Constitutional Court ruled in separate proceedings that the legislation was not incompatible with the Constitution.

Law – Article 14 of the Convention in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1: The applicant complained that, unlike the position with women, there was no lowering of the pensionable age for men who had raised children. He did not challenge the difference in pensionable age between men and women in general. The Court accepted that the measure at issue pursued the legitimate aim of compensating for factual inequalities and hardship arising out of the specific historical circumstances of the former Czechoslovakia, where women had been responsible for the upbringing of children and for the household, while being under pressure to work full time. In such circumstances, the national authorities were better placed to determine the moment at which the unfairness to men began to outweigh the need to correct the disadvantaged position of women by way of affirmative action. The Czech Government had already made the first concrete move towards equalising the retirement age by legislative amendments in 2010 which had removed the right to a lower pensionable age for...

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