The Swiss System

Swiss quality of life

 Switzerland is a country that offers a unique quality of life, one that few regions in the world can even aspire to.

The beauty and variety of the landscape, low crime rate, an excellent healthcare system, a high standard of education, first-class sporting infrastructures, modern and efficient public services, legendary cleanliness and of course, the precision for which the country is renowned well beyond its borders.

This quality of life is based, among other things, on a well-thought-out administrative and social system:

The Swiss System

The Swiss social protection system covers the following areas:

  • Health insurance (LAmal) and compensation for loss of earnings (APG) during maternity leave
  • Old-age, survivor's and disability insurance schemes made up of 3
    “pillars", i.e. the AVS-AI (pillar 1), the occupational pension scheme
    PP (pillar 2) and optional individual pension and insurance provisions
    (pillar 3)
  • Occupational or non-occupational accident insurance (AA)
  • Unemployment insurance (AC)
  • Family benefits

With the exception of pillar 3, all of these insurance types are compulsory.
This area is based on three pillars:

  • pillar 1, that of the public authorities, is made up
    of the AVS and the AI. The annuities from these two types of insurance
    are intended to cover the basic needs of the parties insured. The first
    pillar is compulsory for everyone, including independent contractors and
    those not gainfully employed.
  • pillar 2 (LPP) complements the first pillar with
    occupational old-age, survivor's and disability insurance. These two
    pillars guarantee at least 60% of their last salary for insured parties
    who retire. Only those employed are subject to the second pillar by law.
  • pillar 3, the individual pension and insurance
    arrangements aimed at covering further needs, is optional but unlike
    other forms of savings it offers certain tax benefits. The funds can
    only be paid out in the event of certain incidents (retirement, death or
    invalidity) or, under certain circumstances, for the purchase of their
    own place of residence.


Within the Federal scheme, family allowances are managed by the
cantonal social security offices and, within the cantonal schemes, by
the family allowance funds (recognised professional or interprofessional
funds and cantonal funds).
Compulsory health insurance

Compulsory health insurance guarantees access to a range of quality
medical care and appropriate medical treatment for everyone living in
Switzerland within their canton of residence. Health insurance for
medical expenses is required under Swiss law. This private insurance,
which must be taken out within 3 months of your arrival in the country,
is the responsibility of the employee. The amount varies depending on
the level of cover you require.
Taxes and duties in Switzerland are complex as the rules vary depending
on your permit type (cross-border or Swiss residence permit), your
salary level and your canton of employment. Taxes in Switzerland are
also made more complex by the number of cantons (the applicable taxation
differs from one canton to the next). The method of calculating tax in
Switzerland is, however, rather simple compared with other countries.
As a foreigner, an employment contract is not in fact sufficient to
work in Switzerland, you must also have a Swiss work permit. The Swiss
work permit is an official document issued by the population service in
your canton which allows you to work in Switzerland.