Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Switzerland - Family allowances

This chapter introduces the family allowance system, distinguishing between the benefits paid in the agricultural sector and those paid in the other sectors.

Benefits covered in this chapter:

  • Family allowances in the agricultural sector
  • Family allowances in the other sectors

In what situation can I claim?

In Switzerland, we distinguish between family allowances paid in the agricultural sector and those paid in the other sectors.

In the agricultural sector, family allowances are governed at federal level.

In the other sectors, these benefits are defined by specific laws in each of the 26 cantons; a federal law stipulates the minimum conditions.

Whatever the sector, there are at least two types of allowances:

  • child allowance, paid until the child reaches 16 years of age (or 20 years if the child is unable to engage in paid employment);
  • vocational training allowance, paid until the end of the child's training, but not after the child reaches 25 years of age.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Children of married or unmarried parents, adopted children, children of a spouse/registered partner, foster children, as well as brothers, sisters and grandchildren if they are dependent on the beneficiary give entitlement to benefits.

Family allowances in the agricultural sector

If you are an agricultural worker or a self-employed farmer, you can claim family allowances.

As an agricultural worker, you are also entitled to a household allowance.

Family allowances in the other sectors

All parents engaged in paid employment are entitled to family allowances (employed and self-employed).

If you are not engaged in paid employment, you are entitled to family allowances provided that your annual income does not exceed CHF 42,660 (EUR 39,242) (this threshold may be increased or removed by the cantons).

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Family allowances in the agricultural sector

Child allowance:

CHF 200 (EUR 184) per month and per child in lowland regions

CHF 220 (EUR 202) per month and per child in mountain regions

Vocational training allowance:

CHF 250 (EUR 230) per month and per child in lowland regions

CHF 270 (EUR 248) per month and per child in mountain regions

Household allowance:

CHF 100 (EUR 92) per month

Family allowances in the other sectors

Child allowance:

CHF 200 (EUR 184) per month and per child

Vocational training allowance:

CHF 250 (EUR 230) per month and per child

These are the minimum amounts. The cantons may provide for higher allowances and may also pay you other benefits such as birth or adoption allowances.

If you are an employee, you need to send an application to your employer, who will forward it on to the appropriate family allowances fund.

If you are self-employed, contact your compensation fund for family allowances.

If you are a self-employed farmer, you need to apply to your AVS cantonal compensation fund.

If you are not engaged in paid employment, you need to contact the AVS cantonal compensation fund.

Jargon busters

  • AVS: old-age and survivors' insurance. The AVS is the first pillar of the old-age and survivors' scheme in Switzerland.
  • Compensation funds: the compensation offices arrange the payment of various social benefits at the cantonal level. The funds are not centralised and reflect Switzerland's federal structure. There are two main types: occupational compensation funds and cantonal compensation funds.
  • Registered partnership: the registered partnership allows two people of the same sex who are not related to legalise their relationship. For its whole duration the registered same-sex partnership is treated as marriage and its judicial dissolution as divorce; the surviving registered partner is treated as a widower.

Forms you may need to fill in

The forms are usually available on the websites of the cantonal compensation funds.

Know your rights

The following links provide additional information about your rights. They are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact?

Cantonal compensation funds and occupational compensation funds

Find the contact details of the cantonal compensation funds and occupational compensation funds.

Contact the relevant compensation office.

Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO)

Effingerstrasse 20

3003 Bern

Tel. +41 584629011

Fax +41 584627880

www.bsv.admin.ch

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