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Family allowances

General information

For children up to 16 years (for children who are ill or children with disabilities who are unable to work, the age limit is 20 years), you will receive a child allowance of at least 200 francs a month for each child. For children aged between 16 and 25 who are still studying or in vocational training, you are entitled to an education allowance of at least 250 a month for each child.

The cantons may apply higher rates and provide birth and adoption allowances.

Only one allowance per child

Only one allowance is paid for each child. If both parents are working, the preferred claimant (the question of who is preferred is regulated by law) receives the child allowance. The other parent has the right to be paid the difference if he or she works in a different canton from the preferred claimant where the statutory allowances are higher.

You live in Switzerland

  • Employees and self-employed persons who live in Switzerland and are paid at least 592 francs per month are entitled to family allowances.
  • Persons not in work are normally entitled to family allowances unless their annual taxable income exceeds CHF 42,660.
  • Special rules apply to persons working in agriculture under the Federal Act on Family Allowances for Agricultural Workers.

Seasonal workers and cross-border commuters

As a cross-border commuter from an EU/EFTA state, you are entitled to Swiss family allowances for your children even if they live in an EU or EFTA country.
If your partner works in the country where you live and where your children also stay, then you receive the family allowance from your country of residence. You will be paid any difference between that and the family allowance payable in Switzerland.
For further information on family allowances for children that live abroad, use the link mentioned below.

Claiming family allowances

Family allowances are not paid out automatically, you have to apply for them. You may also claim up to five years of arrears.

  • Employees must apply to their employers for family allowances. The employer will forward the application to the relevant family compensation fund for processing. If the application is approved by the compensation fund, the employer pays the allowance every month along with the salary.
  • Self-employed persons must contact the family compensation fund in order to apply for family allowances.
  • Persons not in work must apply to the cantonal family compensation fund, which is run by the cantonal OASI compensation funds.

Duty to report

You must contact your employer or the relevant family compensation fund to report any change in personal, financial and professional circumstances (including your children’s education) that may have an effect on your right to an allowance or the level of the allowance.