Pension provision in a registered partnership

Security for your life partner. What same-sex couples need to know.

Under a registered partnership, same-sex couples can live together and take responsibility for one another if they remain in a registered partnership after July 1, 2022. But what would happen if one partner dies or is no longer able to work due to illness? Read about the benefits for registered partners from your pension plan in the event of disability or death.

Registered partnership provides for similar rights to marriage

From 2007 to mid-2022, Switzerland has allowed same-sex couples to enter into a registered partnership. The partners must support each other, must have mutual pension entitlements, and must have inheritance rights including compulsory portions. This option allows couples to make their dreams a reality and to share responsibility with financial security and clear rules. However, even same-sex couples should plan for lost income and worst-case scenarios when they start their journey together.

When does social insurance pay benefits?

Different insurance carriers are responsible, depending on whether it is a case of disability due to accident or illness, or death. 

Accidents and occupational illness If you have an accident or job-related illness, the AHV (Federal Old Age and Survivors' Insurance) and accident insurance will pay benefits. You will receive a daily benefit from the accident insurance if you have a short-term disability. For long-term disability, the accident insurance and AHV will pay you a disability pension. In the event of your death, your spouse and children would receive a survivors' pension. 
Illness If you are unable to work temporarily due to illness, your employer must continue to pay your salary for a certain amount of time. If you are disabled for a longer period of time, the AHV and pension fund will pay benefits. You will receive a disability pension from both pillars. In the event of your death, your surviving spouse and children would receive a survivors' pension. 

Accident insurance

Employees are covered by the mandatory accident insurance. The employer pays the insurance premiums for occupational accident and illness, while employees pay the premium for non-occupational accidents. Self-employed persons can obtain insurance coverage themselves.

Starting on the third day after the accident, the insured person will receive a daily benefit of 80 percent of their salary. If they will not be able to return to work, together with the first pillar they will receive a pension for 90 percent of the pensionable salary. These benefits will apply up to a salary of CHF 148,200. In the event of the death of the insured person as a result of an accident, their registered partner would not receive a survivors' pension. Children who have lost both parents will receive 25 percent of the pensionable salary, while children who have lost one parent will receive 15 percent. 

Continuing salary payments during illness

Employers are obligated to pay 100 percent of their employees' salary for a certain amount of time in the event of illness. According to the Swiss Code of Obligations, the minimum period is three weeks in the first year of company service. After that, the time period depends on what is called the Bern, Basel, and Zurich scale. Many employers purchase daily benefits insurance in order to pay their employees 80 percent of their salary in the event of longer absences. At least half of the premium must be paid by the employer and the rest by the employee. See your employment regulations for specific details.

First pillar: AHV/IV benefits

Insureds receive a disability pension for long-term disability

If the insured person suffers from long-term physical, psychological, or mental disability problems due to an illness or accident and cannot perform their regular duties, they will receive a disability pension. Disability pensions are paid to persons who are not eligible for any employment on the job market.

The amount of benefits is calculated based on the insurance term and income. The degree of disability also determines the pension amount. For disability of 40 percent or more, the pension is one-fourth and for 70 percent or more disability, the insured receives a full pension.

The survivor is classified as a widower upon the death of the insured

In the event of the death of a partner in a registered partnership, the surviving partner is considered a widower, regardless of whether they are male or female. Hence, they are entitled to a survivor's pension for the surviving partner only as long there are children under the age of 18. Children and stepchildren will receive an orphan's pension until the age of 18, or until 25 if they are in school.

Second pillar: Benefits from the pension fund

The pension fund pays a disability pension as well

If the insured is unable to work due to illness and receives a disability pension from the first pillar, they will also receive a disability pension from the pension fund. The amount depends on the pension plan of the respective pension fund. For details, see your pension statement. Any children or stepchildren also receive benefits in the form of a disabled person's child's pension. This is 20 percent of the disability pension.

Partners and (step)children receive financial benefits in the event of the insured's death

In the event of death due to illness, under the second pillar the partner will receive a survivor's pension or single lump-sum payment from the pension fund. If there are children or stepchildren, they will receive an orphan's pension. The individual insurance certificate and the pension fund regulations must be consulted for details of the second-pillar benefits.

Third pillar: Private pension provision benefits

Registered partners are entitled to the retirement assets of the insured

The private pension is not only very suitable for retirement but also for setting aside capital for the worst-case scenario. Upon the death of the insured, the registered partner and any children/stepchildren are automatically entitled to their retirement savings.

Other types of insurance

Third-pillar coverage can be obtained from an insurance company if you wish to provide additional financial security for your partner. You can combine retirement savings with a disability and/or life insurance policy. But beware: A portion of your payment will be used to finance insurance coverage, and will not be available upon retirement. As an alternative, you can set up a retirement savings plan with a bank and conclude a separate risk policy with an insurance company.

Disability insurance bridges income gaps

If the primary earner is unable to work due to accident or illness, disability insurance ensures that the couple can maintain its usual standard of living. The disability pension closes the income gap between the federal and employee benefits insurance (second pillar) disability benefits and the actual costs of living, which tend to be higher.

Term life insurance provides financial stability for survivors

In the event of the insured's death, beneficiaries will receive a pre-determined lump sum or pension immediately. This is particularly advisable if you are paying a mortgage on your home. This will ensure that your life partner can continue to live there.

Do you have any questions about financial security?

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