Home > Spezialthemen > Main points about family allowances

Main points about family allowances

Updated on April 26, 2024

Family allowances support you in raising your children. The federal government prescribes minimum rates for child and education allowances. The cantons can set higher allowances and also pay birth and adoption allowances. As a rule, employees and self-employed persons are entitled to family allowances according to the family allowance regulations of the canton in which they work (principle of place of employment). Persons who are not gainfully employed normally receive their family allowances from the cantonal family compensation fund in their canton of residence. In this article, we explain the most important facts in brief.

What are family allowances?

There are three different types of family allowances. These are:

Child allowance
The child allowance is paid for children from birth until they reach the age of 16, provided that the entitlement to education allowances does not begin earlier. It amounts to at least CHF 200 per month in every canton, in certain cantons such as Zug and Geneva even CHF 300 (in Geneva from the third child even CHF 400).

Education allowance
The education allowance is paid as soon as your child is in post-compulsory education such as cantonal school or an apprenticeship, but at the earliest from the age of 15. It is also paid for children over the age of 16, even if they are still in compulsory education. The education allowance amounts to at least CHF 250 per month throughout Switzerland, in certain cantons such as Geneva and Vaud even CHF 400 and in Valais even CHF 425 (again, in all three cantons even higher amounts are paid from the third child onwards).

Birth and adoption allowances
Birth and adoption allowances are not prescribed by law and are only paid in some cantons. The amount of these allowances ranges from a one-time payment of CHF 1,000 to CHF 3,000 and serves to support the costs incurred in connection with birth or adoption.

Who is entitled to family allowances?

You are entitled to family allowances if you are employed or self-employed. Non-employed persons with a low income are also entitled to the allowances, provided that your income does not exceed the cantonal limit. If you are registered as unemployed, you are not entitled to family allowances, but you will receive a supplement to your unemployment benefit. Cross-border commuters and seasonal workers are also entitled to family allowances for their children under certain conditions.

How do I receive family allowances?

If you are employed, your employer must take care of the registration for family allowances. For this purpose, a registration form with the necessary information must be filled out and submitted to the compensation office where the salary contributions are also paid. The family allowances are then normally paid out via the salary. This entitlement also exists for part-time employees, provided that the annual income exceeds CHF 7,170. Otherwise, an application for non-employed persons must be submitted.

If you are self-employed or not gainfully employed, you must submit the application yourself to the family compensation office responsible for you (for non-employed persons, the cantonal compensation office in the canton of residence is responsible). They will then also take care of the payment. If you have forgotten to apply for family allowances, you can claim them for up to 5 years.

Who receives the family allowances if the father and mother are employed?

Only one allowance may be paid for each child. If both parents are employed, have joint parental care and live together with the child, the one who works in the canton of residence is entitled. If both or neither work there, the parent with the higher income subject to AHV becomes eligible. If only one parent has parental care, his or her claim always takes precedence. And in the case of separated parents with joint custody, the one with whom the child lives is entitled. 

Is there an entitlement to family allowances for children living abroad?

There is only an entitlement to family allowances for children living abroad if there is an intergovernmental agreement in this regard. This includes EU and EFTA countries in particular. If both parents are gainfully employed and the other works in an EU or EFTA state, the family allowances are primarily paid in the children's country of residence. However, if the child allowances are higher here, an application can be made for payment of the difference.

Do social security contributions and taxes have to be paid for the family allowances?

The family allowances are counted as taxable income and are therefore also taxed normally. However, no deductions for social security contributions have to be made on the family allowances. 

Are you self-employed, currently not employed or about to form a company and need assistance with the application process for family allowances? We will be happy to advise you, make the necessary inquiries and take care of the correct registration with the compensation office responsible for you. Contact us now!

Oliver Diggelmann

Contact me now for a personal consultation!

Zürcher Treuhand is your trustworthy and reliable financial partner.

More about Special topics

ANobAG - Everything you need to know about it

Are you a Swiss resident working for a foreign employer who has no domicile in Switzerland? This is called ANobAG in Switzerland, which stands for "employee without a contributory employer". Learn everything you need to know about this in this article.

Increase in private share of business vehicle

Do you or your employees also use your company vehicle for private purposes? If you want to know how this is declared in the salary statement and what changes apply since 2022, find out more in our guide.

Underbalance, capital loss and overindebtedness - Everything you need to know about it

Owners and board members in particular should familiarize themselves with this topic, as non-compliance with the legal provisions can result in a lawsuit and liability with private assets in the worst case. Find out everything you need to know here.

Main points about family allowances

Family allowances support you in raising your children. The federal government prescribes minimum rates for child and education allowances. The cantons can set higher allowances and also pay birth and adoption allowances. In this article, we explain the most important facts in brief.

Key interest rate increase in Switzerland - How Central Banks fight inflation

Electricity prices will rise by 20 percent or more in 2023. What impact will this key interest rate hike have and how will it moderate inflation? Find out more about the Swiss National Bank's monetary policy and how the key interest rate increase will impact nationally and internationally in this article.

The best accounting softwares in Switzerland 2024

A big part of the companies founded in Switzerland is obliged to double-entry bookkeeping according to the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR). Therefore, both at the time of company formation and in general accounting, it should be questioned at regular intervals which accounting program is best suited for one's own needs. We are pleased to present in this article some of the best known and best rated accounting software in Switzerland. 

ANobAG - How to relocate to Switzerland as an employee without a contributory employer

In times of globalization and digitalization, the labor market and their working models have also changed significantly. There are more and more foreign companies without a branch or place of business in Switzerland that hire employees here, so-called ANobAGs (employees without a contributory employer).

Paternity and maternity leave in Switzerland

Both fathers and mothers are entitled to paid leave after the birth of their child, also known as parental leave, in Switzerland. While mothers are entitled to 14 weeks of leave, fathers have been entitled to a total of 2 weeks of paternity leave since the 2020 national referendum. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about maternity and paternity leave in Switzerland.

Oliver Diggelmann

Do you have questions? Get in touch with me, I am happy to help.

Follow us