Occupational benefits

Which persons are insured?

Under the insurance obligation for occupational benefits in place since 1985, employees 25 years and older must be insured for retirement benefits, provided that their annual income is CHF 21,510 (as at 1.1.2021) or higher.

This threshold has been raised continuously over the years. In 1985 the threshold was still CHF 16,560 and in 2003 CHF 25,230. As of 2005, the affiliation threshold was lowered from CHF 25,800 under the old rules to CHF 19,350.

Exceptions

There are exceptions from compulsory insurance in the following cases:

  • The employment contract is for 3 months or less;
  • employment in Switzerland is not permanent and the person concerned has equivalent insurance abroad;
  • the employer is not subject to the duty to pay contributions (e.g. embassies, international organisations);
  • the person concerned earns income from secondary employment and already has compulsory insurance for the main employment activity or is self-employed in the main profession;
  • the person concerned is at least 70 % disabled;
  • insurance is compulsory for unemployed persons only to cover the risks of death and disability. Under this pure risk insurance, no savings capital is accumulated and no entitlement to pension assets therefore arises;
  • likewise, only pure risk insurance is mandatory for persons who have not yet reached the age of 25.

You can check on the salary statement which is handed to you whether contributions for occupational benefits have been deducted. You should receive an attestation from the appropriate benefit scheme or portable benefits foundation (insurance certificate, policy) which gives you information about the benefits to which you are entitled.

Both the employer and the appropriate benefit scheme are required to give you information on this matter. If you know the address of the benefit scheme, please contact it directly.

 

Three types of benefits are insured in the occupational benefits. On the one hand, benefits upon reaching retirement age (retirement pensions or lump-sum) and, on the other hand, benefits upon the occurrence of an insured event (death or disability) before reaching retirement age (survivors' and disability benefits).

Full vesting of benefits introduced in 1995

As of 1995 the law provided that in the event of a change of pension fund, both the savings contributions made by the employee as well as those made by the employer, plus interest, had to be transferred in full. Full vesting has been in place since 1985 for the LOB minimum retirement savings capital.

Introduction of a compulsory requirement in 1985

A statutory insurance obligation for occupational benefits has existed in Switzerland since 1 January 1985. Before 1985 several employers set up a solution for their personnel within the occupational benefits system.

Claims since 1972

In 1972 Swiss Labour Law embodied the first provisions on occupational benefits and in particular on the obligations of the benefit schemes when affiliated persons left. Certain rules were laid down to calculate and use the occupational benefit credit balance when changing jobs. But the provision of insurance remained voluntary for the employer.

Claims from the period prior to 1972

If employment in Switzerland ended before 1972 claims under occupational benefits were generally paid out on the expiry of the employment contract with the last salary statement. Where the employment relationships were definitively terminated before 1972 no credit balances can as a rule be traced any longer.