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Swiss retirement provision is based on the three pillar principle. Pillar 1 consists of Old age and Survivors’ Insurance (AHV), Invalidity Insurance (IV), as well as supplementary benefits (for situations where pensions and income do not cover the basic cost of living). The 1st pillar is compulsory and should cover basic living expenses. Pillar 2 consists of an occupational pension (pension fund), which is also compulsory. The 3rd pillar is a voluntary private pension.
The 1st pillar is funded through Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance (AHV). It also includes Invalidity Insurance (IV), insurance for loss of earnings during military service and maternity (EO) and unemployment insurance (ALV).
All employees insured under the 1st pillar and who earn at least CHF 21,150 a year (in 2016) are insured under the 2nd pillar. Mandatory insurance starts when you enter into a working relationship after reaching the age of 17 at the earliest. Until you reach the age of 24, contributions cover only the risk of death and invalidity. From the age of 25, and until you stop working, contributions will also accrue to retirement benefits.
Insurance is not compulsory for self-employed persons and persons with a temporary employment contract not exceeding three months. In certain circumstances, they may take out voluntary insurance for a minimum pension.
The 3rd pillar is a tax deductible pension available to gainfully employed persons on a voluntary basis. For further information about the third pillar, see "The 3rd pillar - private pension plans".