Created in 1925, the old-age and survivors’ insurance system, together with the Professional Insurance and the third pillar, constitutes the basic mechanism of Swiss retirement. It partially offsets the loss of income of the pensioner and the spouse. The system is supplemented by disability insurance and supplementary benefits , thus constituting the first pillar of Swiss pension plans .
It is a mandatory scheme that benefits all employees and self-employed persons working in Switzerland, including cross-border commuters, as well as inactive persons from the age of 20 years.
The system is based on the principle of distribution as many European systems, that is to say that current contributors pay to allow today’s retirees to benefit from the AVS pension, contrary to occupational pension plans. (second pillar) which is a funded system. The functioning of the old-age and survivors’ insurance thus ensures the necessary solidarity between the different generations of assets.
Financing the system
Contributions of the insured
Most of the funding for the Swiss retirement scheme is provided by contributions distributed between employers and employees. Those of the employees are deducted directly from the salary by the company and then paid to the compensation fund that manages the funds.
Note that the spouse must also join the fund if the contribution is not at least twice the minimum premium.
The self-employed pay directly to the fund. Pensioners benefiting from AVS who are gainfully employed contribute part of their income (after deducting a deductible).
These contributions from the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance are supplemented by a partial refund of VAT. On the other hand, to compensate for a possible insufficiency of contributions, a compensation fund has been set up to ensure the payment of annuities in years when contributions prove to be insufficient.
Duration of contributions
Employee contributions are paid from the age of 17 to the statutory retirement age. Non-employees are liable from the 20th anniversary.
The number Avs
The Swiss AVS number is the equivalent of the social security number in France. It makes it possible to uniquely identify the insured. It is composed of 13 digits since 2008. The first 3 correspond to the country code, the 9 others are issued randomly and the last dialed with one of the random digits a number used to control the whole.
The new numbering system of the old-age and survivors’ insurance now allows the insured to keep the same number for life for the same time, whereas before this was changed as soon as a change of identity took place (marriage, divorce, etc.).
Each person has an individual account (CI) held by the compensation funds. In the case of multiple contributions, there will be as many individual accounts as there will be contributions per fund.
It is also possible at any time to know the situation of his individual account by writing to the fund on which it depends. The amount of the pension depends on the combination of two factors:
- Average income of contributor referred to as average income
- The contribution period.
Calculation of average income determining
The determining average income corresponds to the combined average of all professional income and the various bonuses received for:
- Educational tasks : insured persons who have raised one or more children can benefit. For married couples, this bonus is divided by half between the two members of the couple.
- Assistance tasks : they directly concern people who have had parents who require care.
Note that to receive a full pension, you must have paid continuously until retirement. Otherwise, the AVS annuity will be reduced.
Important : the cumulative individual annuities of a couple can not exceed 150% of the maximum pension . If exceeded, the pensions paid to each will be reduced in proportion.
When the couple separates, the ” splitting ” (1) equitably determines the share of each spouse according to the number of years of marriage.
(1): rules of income sharing between the members of a couple in the event of divorce.
For Swiss cross-border workers who have contributed to credit unions in different countries, the settlement of entitlements follows the principle of community retirement. See here
Legal age of departure
Retirement benefits are paid at the time of legal retirement, ie 65 for men and 64 for women. But the rent is said to be flexible, that is to say that it is quite possible to collect it before the legal age of one or two years, benefiting from a reduced rent. On the contrary, it is possible to postpone the payment until 5 years after the legal age.
The surviving pension
The ” survivors ” pension is paid to the spouse according to the contribution period and the average professional income. Note that the accumulation between an old-age pension and a surviving pension is not possible , the surviving spouse receiving the highest pension.