Social security

Switzerland has a very comprehensive social security system which consists of three sections, or pillars as they are known:

First pillar : AHV (old age and surviving dependants' insurance)
  IV (invalidity insurance)
  ALV (unemployment insurance)


Second pillar: compulsory pension fund which is deducted directly from your salary. When starting a new job, your employer will provide you with the necessary information regarding your pension fund. When you move from one job to another within Switzerland, you will be required to transfer this second pillar into the pension fund of your new employer. Previous pension funds from salaries earned in other countries cannot be paid into a Swiss second pillar pension fund, but employees are allowed to "catch up" (but not exceed) the years they missed when not earning in Switzerland by either paying in one or a number of lump sums or by increasing the monthly deductions from their salaries. Any such payments (lump sums or deductions) are tax-deductible.


The third pillar comprises optional contributions to your pension fund, i.e. it is a private pension fund into which each individual is free to pay. Contributions to this third pillar are also tax-deductible.

The HR Department at your work place will be able to inform you as to what exactly will be deducted from your salary.