Alongside unemployment, there are other reasons for loss of earnings - for example. Sickness or accident. If a spouse suffers a loss of earnings, the whole family is usually affected. What does this mean for the family members and what can be done?
Pierre Morel: Whether the partners are married or not is not critical. The statutory coverage is the same in both cases: In Switzerland, Pillars 1 and 2 are designed to cover approximately 60 percent of the earnings loss. If the couple has joint children, they may also be entitled to a disabled person's child's pension. If a disability ensues, the benefits very much depend on the employer's Pillar 2 (BVG) solution. If the latter covers only the legally prescribed Pillar 2 minimum, there will be a significant loss of income – and thus a painful reduction in the family budget.
In cases of death, a different law applies: Here, the legislator differentiates between marriage and concubinage. A widow's or widower's pension under Pillar 1 is only paid if the couple was married. And even here, there are still restrictions: The surviving spouse is only entitled to a pension if he/she has to take care of at least one dependent child, or was at least 45 years old on becoming widowed and the partners were married for at least 5 years. But co-habiting partners are not left entirely without benefits: If the employer was notified about the co-habiting partner, he/she may be entitled to payments from Pillar 2.
In certain cases, the divorced partner is indeed entitled to a widow's or widower's pension. The conditions for entitlement to these benefits differ between Pillar 1 (AHV) and Pillar 2 (BVG). That is why it is very important to carry out a personal pension analysis in the event of a change of family status. Your pension advisor can assess what you / your children are entitled to and how you can close any pension gaps.
For children there is an orphan's pension entitlement under Pillars 1 and 2. This entitlement applies until the child reaches the age of majority, i.e. up to the age of 18. If the young person is still in education/training, the payment continues up to a maximum age of 25. This applies regardless of the pension entitlement of the surviving parent. In the tragic event that both parents die, there is an entitlement to two orphans' pensions.
As already mentioned, in the event of disability, you can only expect to be paid 60 percent of your last salary. For homeowners, this income may no longer be sufficient to cover ongoing living expenses. An annuity insurance for disability as part of your private pension provision would generate an income that continues to cover these items in your budget while still meeting mortgage guidelines. A private pension in the event of death can also be important for dependants. For example, there are pension products that ensure that the children can continue their studies and that other financial obligations can be met.