Social security insurance in Switzerland
Old-age and survivors’ insurance (AVS)
The AVS (Assurance Vieillesse et Survivants, in French) is the backbone of Switzerland’s old-age and survivors’ insurance scheme. It is also referred to as the first pillar. AVS coverage is compulsory and its aim is to cover the basic needs of persons reaching retirement age, or in the case of death of their spouse.
Invalidity insurance (AI)
The AI (Assurance Invalidité, in French) is the backbone of Switzerland’s invalidity insurance. It is part of the first pillar. It is a compulsory insurance, like the AVS, which aims to assure the means of subsistence of insured persons who become disabled before retirement age, either through rehabilitation measures or allowances.
Income compensation insurance (APG – Amat)
APG (Allocations pour Perte de Gain, in French) is a scheme that provides fair compensation for income loss in case of service (military, civil protection, Red Cross or community service; Youth and Sport instructor courses; young shooter instructor courses), or motherhood.
Family allowances (AF)
AF (Allocations familiales, in French) are allowances paid out to parents to help them ensure the care of their children up to the age of 25 years. They include child benefits, allowances for occupational training and, in certain cantons, birth and adoption allowances.
Unemployment insurance (AC)
Like the old-age and survivors’ insurance, AC (Assurance Chômage, in French) is a social insurance. All salaried persons, as well as their employers, have the obligation to contribute. The self-employed are not eligible and therefore not covered. Unemployment insurance aims to provide appropriate benefits in the case of loss of employment, reduction in working hours, lack of employment due to weather conditions, or insolvency on the part of the employer. This insurance scheme also provides for unemployment prevention measures and the rapid and sustainable reintegration of insured persons into the work-place.