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How much salary do I get from maternity/paternity leave in Switzerland?

February 1, 2021
2 min read

How long is my maternity leave?

Maternity leave lasts 98 days (or 14 weeks), from the day it starts. Both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to maternity leave. Women who return to work earlier lose their entitlement to compensation. You can claim maternity benefit up to 5 years after the end of your 14-week maternity leave. After that, your entitlement will be forfeited and you will have no further claims. Important to note that for maternity leave, weekends are included in the compensation period.

If your child is born after 1st July 2021 and has to remain in hospital for more than 14 days directly after the birth, the period to receive maternity pay is extended by the number of days spent in hospital but by no more than 56 days. So if your child is born on July 14th and you remain in the hospital until August 9th, you will receive an additional 10 days of maternity pay. To claim the extension, you must specify on the application form the length of the hospital stay, present a medical certificate and submit the requisite evidence of your returning to employment.

How much do I get paid?

Mothers are paid 80% of their earnings in the form of a maternity allowance of up to 196 francs per day. Cantonal provisions, personnel regulations and collective employment contracts may provide for more generous solutions. The maximum daily benefit is reached when your monthly income comes to 7 350 francs (7 350 francs x 80% ÷ 30 days = 196 francs/day), or, if you are self-employed, when your annual income comes to 88 200 francs (88 200 francs x 0.8 ÷ 360 days = 196 francs/day).

To receive the maternity pay, employees must have paid AHV for 9 months prior to the birth of their child and must have worked for at least 5 months during pregnancy.

If your child was born prematurely, the period to be paying AHV is reduced to:

  • 6 months in the case of children born before the 7 month
  • 7 months in the case of children born before the 8th month
  • 8 months in the case of children born before the 9th month

In addition, at the time of birth, expectant mothers must still be employed or self-employed.

How do I get my maternity/paternity pay?

You can claim maternity/paternity pay in three ways:

  • Your Company - You can claim directly from your company
  • Direct from AHV Office - You can claim directly from the AHV office if you are self-employed, unemployed or unable to work

If your company continues to pay your salary for the duration of your entitlement, the compensation office will pay the maternity benefit to your employer. If your company is unable to pay your maternity leave, the compensation office will step in and pay maternity benefit directly to you or to the entitled recipient.

Maternity benefit can also be paid to you abroad, if you move abroad after the birth of your child.

Is there a difference between maternity & paternity leave?

As of January 2021, fathers in Switzerland receive 2 weeks of paid paternity leave within six months of the birth of their child. Unlike the mother, the father is only entitled to claim paternity pay if he is the legal father at the time of the child's birth or becomes the legal father within the following six months.

Anther difference to maternity compensation, a longer hospitalization of the child does not allow postponement of the start of entitlement. Unlike maternity leave, paternity leave is flexible. Fathers can take it all at once or as individual days, but it must be within six months of the birth. It is also noteworthy to mention that company's cannot reduce the vacation entitlement of employees who take paternity leave.

Paternity leave does not come without a cost to the employee. The costs of paternity leave will amount to approximately 230 million Swiss francs per year. To cover this cost, the EO contribution increased in 2021 from its current level of 0.45 % of wages to 0.5% .

The Swiss parliament also discussed a proposal for a joint parental leave of 38 weeks allowing parents to freely allocate the joint leave between themselves. This legislation is seen as a step towards workplace equality which has been proven effective in Scandinavian countries.

Bassil Eid
Earny CEO

CEO of Earny and long time CFO working with Startups.