general information

general information

Overview: what is the Swiss three pillar system?

The social insurance system in Switzerland is based on three pillars:

  • the 1st pillar is obligatory for everyone and includes Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance OASI, Disability Insurance DI, Ordinance on Compensation for Loss of Income and health insurance.
  • the 2nd pillar is obligatory for those in employment and includes occupational pension funds, accident insurance and unemployment insurance.
  • the 3d pillar is voluntary and includes qualified savings plans (pillar 3a), free savings plans (pillar 3b) and private health insurance.

What does the Agreement on the Freedom of Movement of Persons mean?

The Agreement on the Freedom of Movement of Persons entered into between Switzerland and EU and EFTA countries regulates the coordination of social insurance systems. This ensures that a person who works and/or lives in another country does not suffer any negative impact on insurance cover by changing country. Every country has to treat citizens of other countries like its own citizens. The agreement determines, for example:

  • in which country a person has to pay social insurance contributions
  • from which country or countries a person will receive a pension and how it is calculated
  • that services provided in another country in the case of illness and accident are the same as if the person were insured there.

Which countries have an Agreements on social insurance payments?

Switzerland has entered into international agreements with various countries to regulate social insurance rights and duties. These countries currently comprise:

Chile, Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Canada, Philippines, Croatia, San Marino, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, USA and Cyprus.

Citizens of these countries will have their pensions paid abroad if they return there.

Further information

Sources: AHV, BSV,