Council of States decides against discriminatory social security changes

OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 30 May 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is relieved that the Council of States has today decided to follow the recommendation of its Commission on Social Security and Health (SGK-S) to delete the amendment to Article 4 (1) in the context of the supplementary benefits reform. This means that the current rules remain in place. Last March, the National Council approved an application whereby Swiss Abroad would have had to pay social security contributions (AHV) for at least ten years in order to qualify for supplementary benefits, which would have discriminated against Swiss Abroad.


Restricting access to supplementary benefits for repatriating Swiss Abroad constitutes discrimination and creates a category of second-class Swiss citizens. This change in the grace period is contrary to the international mobility of our fellow citizens and is a blatant social disadvantage for all persons who for some reason have lived abroad. It is also contrary to Article 8 of the Federal Constitution (equal treatment). In fact, it would result in punishing anyone who wants to gain experience abroad.


The Council of the Swiss Abroad, the legislative body of the OSA, voted against this change at its meeting in Bern on 10 March. (Addendum: see also the Spring Meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad report on this website).


At present, 751,800 Swiss citizens live outside the country’s borders. This figure is increasing by an average of 2% per year and manly relates to stays abroad of short duration for work reasons.


Since the decision of the Council of States deviates from that of the National Council, the differences between the two chambers still need to be clarified. The OSA very much hopes that the National Council will follow the Council of States on this point.