Understanding OASI: Old Age and Survivors' Insurance in Switzerland

What is the OASI ? Discover in this guide the goals and the workings of the first pillar of the Swiss retirement and pension fund system.

Article updated on 1 January 2021

The Swiss retirement pension system is based on a three-pillar system, which are all essential elements of Switerland's social security system. When you are a Swiss resident and/or work in Switzerland, you are therefore subject to that three-pillar system.

The three pillars are:

  1. Old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI): mandatory for any person of working age
  2. Pension fund (OP) : mandatory for any person with a lucrative activity
  3. Private pensions: optional

What is the OASI ?

The old-age and survivors' insurance (OASI) is the main pillar of the Swiss retirement system. Its goal is to guarantee a minimum vital income for the retirement or in case of the death of the spouse.

In Switzerland, the age for retirement is 64 for women and 65 for men. Early retirement is possible starting from 58 years old, however the retirement will be decreased in proportion.

The OASI insurance was designed based on a principle of solidarity: the active population pays contributions, which are use to finance the pensions of retirees.

This first pillar also includes:

  • The disability insurance (DI), whose purpose is to support persons who cannot work anymore due to a disease, an accident or a disability. It pays full or partial pensions, which allow to meet the basic financial needs of such persons.
  • The loss of earnings insurance (APG / EO), which is composed of supplementary benefits to the OASI and disability insurance, mainly in case of maternity or military service. Since 1 January 2021, the APG / EO also includes two weeks of paternity leave!

Who needs to pay the OASI ?

People with a lucrative activity

When you have a job in Switzerland, you must pay the OASI. 50% of your contributions are directly deducted from your salary. The other 50% are paid by your employer.

People without lucrative activity

Yes, even if you don't work you need to pay the OASI in Switzerland, with a minimum annual contribution of CHF 503 ! This obligation includes :

  • Early retirees
  • Beneficiaries of disability insurance pensions
  • Beneficiaries of disease / accident indemnities
  • Students
  • Globe-trotters
  • Unemployed persons
  • Divorced persons
  • Widowers and widows
  • Spouses of retirees who haven't met yet the retirement age
  • Spouses of persons working abroad
  • Persons with a lucrative activity with an annual gross income below CHF 4,701
  • Persons with a part-time lucrative activity, whose contribution is inferior to half of what they should pay without any lucrative activity at all

How to calculate my OASI contribution?

For persons with a lucrative activity, you simply need to apply the employee's rate to your gross salary to know the amount which will be witheld:

APG / EO0.25%0.25%0.5%

1 January 2020 update: Contribution rate for OASI was slightly increased, from 8.4% to 8.7%.
1 January 2021 update: Contribution rate for APG / EO increases from 0.45% to 0.5%.

For independents and persons without a lucrative activity, the tables for their respective contribution rates can be found here.

How to calculate my OASI pension ?

The OASI pension that you will receive depends on the duration of contribution and your income level, more specifically :

  • How many years you contributed
  • Your average income during your active life
  • The participation to non-lucrative tasks such as education, assistance, etc.

The easiest way to calculate your future OASI pension is to use this calculator made by the Information Centre OASI/DI :

The OASI number

The OASI number is the Swiss social security number. It is anonymize in the form of thirteen numbers, and it will accompany you during your entire life:

OASI number
  • If you are insured with a Swiss health insurance company, your OASI number can be found on your health insurance card.
  • As a cross-border worker, you must contact your employer's compensation fund in Switzerland.

Get our next guide by email

Don't miss our next article on life and work in Switzerland, and receive it straight into your mailbox when published!


Have a question?

Our FAQ gathers the most frequent questions that our clients ask us. Your question is probably answered there!

To the FAQ

If you don't find the answer you're looking for, our team will help you by email, on the phone (Monday to Friday), on Facebook or on Twitter.

Back to guides