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Pillar 1 is part of the largely state-regulated Swiss pension system, which also includes pillar 2 and pillar 3:
The three-pillar system is designed to financially support your subsistence needs in old age, protect you in the event of disability and provide surviving dependants with the subsistence minimum in the event of your death.
The first pillar is compulsory for anyone in Switzerland earning an income subject to OASI.
Pillar 1 is financed on a pay-as-you-go basis. Accordingly, the contributions of currently active employees finance the retirement of those now drawing an OASI pension. Employees are required to start making contributions from 1 January of the year in which they turn 18 years of age. Those who are not employed must start making contributions from 1 January of the year in which they turn 21 until they reach statutory retirement age. If an employed spouse pays contributions of at least twice the minimum amount, the contributions of the non-employed spouse are considered paid.
The amount you can draw as a pension is calculated based on your average annual income during the contribution period and the number of contribution years. If you have no gaps in your contributions, you are entitled to at least the minimum pension. For each missing contribution year, the OASI pension is reduced by 2.3%.
There may be gaps in your contributions. There are various reasons for missing contribution years: travel, emigration, studying, short periods of work, frequent changes of employer, divorce, retirement of a spouse and missing payments from employers.
The total number of required contribution years is 44 for men and 43 for women (with a statutory retirement age of 65 or 64 respectively).
You can find more information on the different life situations here.
You have five years in which to make up any pension shortfalls. If you miss this deadline, the alternative is to pay voluntarily into a pillar 3a or pillar 3b private pension plan.
Check whether you have any pension gaps and order your OASI statement free of charge from the relevant cantonal OASI (AHV/AVS) compensation office.
The Swiss pension system comprises two further pillars. Research these pillars too to ensure your financial security. You can find more details here.
Whatever your situation in life, there are different aspects to consider if you want to live the life of your choice in old age. You can find the most important here:
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The subject of pensions is complex. There is often not enough time to research everything in detail. If you wish, you can seek advice from our partner service Optimatis. Our experts have the information that you may spend a long time searching for. Benefit from their expertise by arranging a no-obligation consultation.
The independent partner service Optimatis and its qualified staff will work with you to establish a clear overview and produce a snapshot of your current situation. Optimatis can offer you the solution that best fits your needs from the wide range available on the market – a good reason to seek advice from an independent expert.
You just need to request an appointment and a specialist advisor will be in touch with you. During the meeting, you can decide how and whether you wish to proceed with the solutions proposed.
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