Switzerland’s old age pension system comprises state provision (1st pillar), occupational provision (2nd pillar) and private provision (3rd pillar).
Each of the three pillars has its own specific objective.
The mandatory first pillar consists mainly of old age and survivors’ insurance. Its objective is to ensure you have enough income to live on when you reach retirement.
It is based on the concept of solidarity: the working population pays contributions which finance the pensions of the retired population. Those who earn higher wages and pay higher OASI contributions support those who are less well-off and pay lower contributions.
The survivors’ insurance provides assistance in the event of the death of your spouse, or of both parents if you are a minor, to prevent people from being placed in a difficult financial situation from one day to the next.
When old age and survivors’ insurance (OASI) is not enough to cover your basic expenses, you can claim supplementary benefits.
The second pillar, an occupational pension fund governed by the Occupational Pensions Act (OPA), is mandatory for most employees.
The second pillar complements the OASI pension with the aim of providing an adequate standard of living after retirement.
The sum of the 1st and 2nd pillars amounts to about 60% of income earned before retirement.
You can increase the funds available to you in retirement by making tax-deductible payments into the 3rd pillar.
Payment into the 3rd pillar is voluntary, unlike payment into the 1st and the 2nd pillars, which for most people is mandatory. This makes the 3rd pillar an individual and private pension fund. It allows you to set aside extra money for your retirement during your working life.
The brochure on Switzerland’s old age insurance system published by the Federal Social Insurance Office provides more detailed information.
For more information on the 1st pillar, who is insured and what the conditions are, please see the page: OASI contributions.
For more information on the 2nd pillar, who is insured and what the conditions are, please see the page: Second pillar.
For more information on the 3rd pillar, who is insured and what the conditions are, please see the page: Third pillar.