Frequently asked questions:

When does insurance become compulsory??

This insurance is compulsory for all employees achieving a minimum annual income of CHF 21,330 (gross). Insurance against the risks of death and disability begins on 1 January after the 17th birthday, saving for old age usually begins after the 24th birthday.

In which pension fund am I insured?

Every employer must either run its own pension fund or join a pension fund. He is obliged to provide his employees with the name and address of the pension fund insuring his employees.

What benefits are insured in the pension fund?

In addition to the AHV/IV (1st pillar), the 2nd pillar insures against the risks of old age, death and disability.

Where is my credit balance in case of unemployment / change of job?

Upon termination of your employment, you automatically leave the pension fund. You must inform the fund to which vested benefits account / vested benefits policy or to which new pension fund the money is to be transferred to. If you do not do so, the pension fund must transfer at latest after two years your accumulated credit (vested benefits or vested termination benefit) to the reception institution. This Obligation exists only since 2005. In this case, please contact the BVG Foundation.

In case of credit balances from periods prior to 1 January 2005, you can submit an enquiry to the 2nd Pillar Central Office. The 2nd Pillar Central Office is the liaison office between the pension funds and the insured persons.

Can I withdraw my BVG retirement savings in cash when I finally leave Switzerland?

A cash payment of the BVG retirement assets is possible if the person can prove that he or she is leaving Switzerland permanently. If the person moves to an EU Country, to Iceland or to Norway, a cash payment of the BVG pension credit is no longer possible since 1 June 2007 when the person will be insured in the country of residence against the risks of old age, death and disability. However, payment of the supplementary portion of the pension capital (in contrast to the BVG minimum) is still possible.

What effects does a divorce have on occupational pension provision?

In the event of divorce, the 2nd pillar assets are divided between the spouses. The assets acquired by both spouses during the marriage are shared, but not the pension assets accumulated before the marriage.

The changes to the pension compensation in the event of divorce came into force on 1 January 2017. From this date, the pension entitlements will also be divided if one of the spouses already receives a disability or retirement pension under the 2nd pillar.

The divorced spouse shall be treated as a widow or widower after the death of his or her former spouse, provided that the marriage lasted at least ten years and the divorced spouse was awarded a maintenance contribution or adequate compensation in the form of a pension at the time of divorce.

Can I draw my BVG retirement savings to become self-employed?

A cash withdrawal of the withdrawal benefit is possible if the person starts self-employment and is no longer subject to compulsory occupational benefits. The person must prove to the pension fund that he or she is self-employed. The application for cash withdrawal must be submitted to the pension fund in the year following the start of self-employment. In the case of married insured persons, the written consent of the spouse is required.

Can I withdraw my BVG retirement savings to purchase residential property?

Insured persons can use the advance withdrawal of the retirement assets for the purchase of residential property, the repayment of mortgage loans or the purchase of share certificates in housing cooperatives. An advance withdrawal can be made every 5 years. The amount of the cash withdrawal is limited after the age of 50. For married insured persons, the written consent of the spouse is required. If the residential property is sold, the amount withdrawn in advance must be refunded.

Are unemployed persons insured in the 2nd pillar?

Persons who receive unemployment benefits in excess of CHF 81.90 per day are covered by BVG insurance for the risks of disability and death, but not for old age. The insured person and unemployment insurance each pay half of the contributions. The termination benefit of unemployed persons must be transferred to a vested benefits foundation (bank or insurance company) or directly to the BVG compensation fund.

Old-age provision can be continued voluntarily. The pension fund must inform the insured persons concerned of this possibility. The costs of the voluntary continued insurance shall be borne in full by the insured person.

When is the surviving spouse entitled to a survivor’s Pension?

The surviving spouse is entitled to a widow’s or widower’s pension if, on the death of the spouse, he or she fulfils one of the following two conditions:

  1. He or she has to pay for the upkeep of a child;
  2. He or she must be at least 45 years old and have been married for at least 5 years.