Martin Ruetschi / Keystone

Switzerland has a social insurance network that covers risks in many areas, including work, health, family and old age.

This content was published on March 17-17: 25, 2022.

Switzerland’s social condition is difficult to compare with other countries, as it includes many insurance schemes with very different mechanisms. Its funding is distinguished by the low use of tax revenues, the foresight of significant individuals, and the influence of private institutions.

In addition, federalism and direct democracy guide social policy, delay the implementation of certain aids, but sometimes accelerate the process. For example, disability insurance was introduced in 1960 after several initiatives for such tools were submitted, but maternity leave was introduced only in 2005 after being initially rejected by people. rice field.

In international comparison, Switzerland’s share of social spending in GDP occupies an intermediate position close to the European Union average.

Retirement allowance

The Swiss pension system is based on three “pillars”: compulsory state pensions (old-age and survivor insurance, AVS), vocational pensions (LPPs) and individual pensions.

The amount of pension depends on the number of years of contribution and income. It is supposed to ensure a minimum of self-sufficiency. If not, the pensioner in need can apply for additional state-funded benefits.

Disability insurance (AI)

Disability insurance is mandatory. It is funded by donations from employees and employers, and by the Union through various taxes.

AI intervenes when a person is unable or only partially able to perform beneficial activities due to an attack on physical or mental health. Insurance funds rehabilitation measures to enable reintegration into the labor market, as well as all or part of the pension.

Profit Loss Reserve (APG)

This insurance is mandatory and is covered by donations from employees and employers. APG compensates for loss of income between military service, civil servants, civil protection, maternity and paternity.

Since 2005, women have been entitled to 14 weeks of leave after giving birth to their child and have been paid 80% of their salary. Since 2021, men have been able to take two weeks of leave after the birth of their child and have been paid 80% of their salary.

Parents who have to suspend or reduce beneficial activities to care for their children with serious health problems will also take a 14-week vacation from 2021 and be paid at 80% of their salary.

Unemployment insurance

All employers in Switzerland who have not yet reached retirement age are compulsorily insured against unemployment. Donations are paid by employees and employers.

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, you must meet the following conditions:

-Has worked for at least 12 months in the last two years before unemployment
-Resident in Switzerland
-Have a work permit
-Register with Regional Placement Office (ORP)
-Take personal steps to find a new job

The unemployment allowance is 70% of the average salary earned from work in the last 6 to 12 months (80% for dependent children). Benefits are usually paid for two years, with many exceptions.

At the end of the qualification from the age of 60, the unemployed can receive provisional benefits to ensure them a decent standard of living until they retire.

Health insurance

Basic health insurance (LAMAL) is mandatory for all people residing in Switzerland. It is directly funded by residents who pay a fixed monthly premium to a private insurance company. If your insurance premium is too high, you can apply for assistance (subsidy) from your place of residence.

LAMAL covers most health problems, from childbirth to doctor consultation to serious illness. Most prescription drugs are covered.

Accident insurance

Employees are automatically insured by their employer for accidents and occupational diseases. If they work with the same employer for more than 8 hours a week, they are also insured for non-occupational accidents.

Housewives, housewives, children, students and pensioners need to be protected from accidents with basic health insurance. Self-employed people are not obliged to insure against accidents.

Family allowance

The operation of family allowances may vary from canton to canton. As a rule, these aids are funded by employers, self-employed people, and states.

The purpose of family allowances is to partially offset the costs of caring for one or more children. Active people can apply for financial assistance to each of their children up to their 16th birthday. After that, you can get benefits for each of your children by training until their 25th birthday.

Some cantons also have birth or adoption benefits.


People who have insufficient social insurance benefits, are in financial distress, are no longer able to receive benefits, or are no longer able to receive benefits can apply for social assistance. This is intended to guarantee the minimum values ‚Äč‚Äčthat are essential for everyone.

Social assistance is usually covered by local and state taxes. Since it is regulated by the state and most often carried out by the municipality, the amount of its operation and assistance varies greatly depending on the place of residence.

Those in need of financial assistance should contact their local social welfare services. Assistance is assigned on a case-by-case basis depending on the situation and needs. Social assistance benefits are paid to elderly people with too low pensions, single-parent families, as well as unemployed people who could not find a job at the end of their qualifications, people with heavy debt, or workers. Is often. Workers whose salary is not enough to maintain their household budget.

About 10% of the Swiss population benefits from a broader form of social assistance. Subsidies for old-age insurance, family allowances, housing assistance, progress in dependent allowances, and general financial support for daily life.

System flaw

Despite the aid provided in Switzerland, many have slipped through the rift and are in a very unstable situation. About one-third of those eligible for social assistance give up seeking help.

The system is complex and many people are unaware of their rights. Information can be difficult to obtain and competent services are not always readily available. Many people feel guilty and afraid of stigma when seeking state help. In addition, some states stipulate that some of the social assistance granted must be repaid when an individual’s situation improves.

Foreigners are at risk of having their residence permit revoked when using social assistance. And people in illegal or irregular situations do not want to risk being arrested or expelled by the authorities.

There are numerous factors that add to instability in Switzerland. In 2020, 8.5% of the population was affected by poverty despite social insurance intervention.

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