baby pregnancy maternity switzerland financial questions answers
Insurance

Having a Baby in Switzerland: Your Financial Questions Answered

February 10, 2023 - Daniel Dreier

Are you planning on having a baby or are you expecting a baby in the coming months? Find answers to the most important financial questions in this guide.

Aside from the many emotional considerations attached to having a baby, there are numerous financial questions to ask ahead of the big day. How will your income be affected? What benefits are you entitled to? Here, moneyland.ch answers the most important financial questions asked by expectant parents.

Can I lose my job while I am pregnant?

If your employment agreement does not have a time limit, then your employer cannot lay you off at any point during your pregnancy or within the first 16 weeks after your baby is born. The only exception is if your employer fires you due to grave misconduct.

If you have a temporary employment agreement, the above rule only applies to early terminations. Otherwise, your employment will end on the date you agreed to in the contract. You are not entitled to an extension of the employment agreement. If you are only employed on a probationary basis, you cannot claim maternity protection.

Am I entitled to maternity leave?

Yes. Whether you are employed, self-employed, or receiving unemployment insurance benefits, you are entitled to take up to 14 weeks of maternity leave after your baby is born. You are required by law to take a minimum of eight weeks of maternity leave.

Cantons may have more generous maternity leave entitlements than those required by federal law. If you live in the canton of Geneva, for example, you are entitled to up to 16 weeks of maternity leave.

 

Will I receive my salary during parental leave?

During maternity, paternity, or adoptive leave, you receive benefits from the Loss of Earnings Compensation Scheme (EO). These are equal to 80 percent of your pre-leave income, but are capped at a maximum of 220 francs per day (maternity and adoption leave) or 196 francs per day (paternity leave). Your employer may choose to make up the difference so that you receive your full salary.

In order to receive EO benefits, you must have lived in Switzerland for at least nine months, and have earned an income for at least five of those months. You must be earning an income or receiving unemployment benefits at the time that you claim your parental leave entitlement in order to be eligible for EO benefits.

Claiming EO benefits is done by your employer if you are employed, or by the social unemployment insurance (ALV) office if you receive unemployment benefits. If you are self-employed, you must file a claim with your social security office.

Can I claim sick leave for pregnancy-related illnesses?

Yes you can. You are entitled to paid sick leave for illnesses caused by pregnancy. Read the moneyland.ch guide to paid sick leave to learn more about your entitlements.

Do I pay social security and pension fund contributions during parental leave?

Yes. You pay social security and pension fund contributions on the income you receive during your paid maternity, paternity, or adoption leave. This prevents gaps in your pension or insurance coverage.

Do I remain covered by employer-based accident insurance during parental leave?

Yes. You remain covered by the accident insurance provided by your employer or the unemployment insurance office. Your obligation to pay accident insurance premiums is waived during your leave, but you remain fully insured.

Does my baby automatically have health insurance?

Your mandatory health insurance covers you and your baby up until the delivery. After that, your baby is covered by their own mandatory health insurance which you can take out within their first three months. If you do not insure your baby within that time frame, the cantonal health authority will take out mandatory health insurance for them. Getting insurance yourself is recommended, as the canton may not use the cheapest available offer. The coverage applies retroactively to the time of birth. You can find more information in the guide to health insurance for babies.

Does mandatory health insurance cover deliveries in private clinics?

Generally not. Mandatory health insurance only covers deliveries at hospitals which are on your canton’s official list of covered hospitals and clinics, and stays in general wards. These are generally government-subsidized hospitals in your canton of residence or neighboring cantons.

Getting complementary hospital insurance can make sense if you want to deliver at a private clinic, or if you want to stay in a semi-private or private ward before and after you deliver the baby. You can use the complementary hospital insurance comparison to find an offer which covers the clinics and wards you want. Important: Pay attention to qualification periods for maternity. In some cases, you will need to take out insurance before you even get pregnant in order to benefit from coverage.

Should I get supplemental health insurance for my pregnancy?

That depends on whether or not the maternity coverage from mandatory health insurance is sufficient for your needs.

Supplemental health insurance may provide additional check-ups and ultrasounds, rooming-in for the baby’s father, birth preparation courses, and other maternity-related coverages. Many include coverage for longer hospital stays above what mandatory health insurance pays for. Qualification periods are common. In some cases, you will have to take out insurance before you become pregnant in order to qualify.

Coverages and limitations vary between supplemental health insurance offers. You can find offers which include maternity benefits by selecting the maternity filter in the interactive supplemental health insurance comparison.

Does my baby need supplemental health insurance?

Many Swiss insurance providers let you take out supplemental health insurance for your baby before the child is born, with the policy taking effect from the time of birth. This can be beneficial if you are concerned about your child being born with conditions which are not adequately covered by mandatory health insurance, as you normally will not be able to get supplemental health insurance after the child is born and the health conditions become apparent. You can always terminate this insurance at a later point in the hopeful case that it turns out to be unnecessary.

If you feel your child may need extra coverage, you can use the interactive supplemental health insurance comparison to find the right offer.

Can I receive child benefits?

Yes you can. As a parent, you are entitled to receive monthly benefits to help subsidize some of the added costs of raising a child. The way in which you receive this financial support depends on whether you are employed, self-employed or unemployed. You can get detailed information in the moneyland.ch guide to Swiss child benefits.

Am I entitled to free daycare?

No. Parents in Switzerland are not generally entitled to free daycare for their children. However, some cantons and municipalities subsidize daycare facilities or provide parents with vouchers that can be redeemed towards the cost of daycare. The best way to learn about your options is to inquire at your municipal government’s office. It is also worth checking with your employer, as there are Swiss companies which offer daycare subsidies as an employee benefit.

Will having a baby affect my taxes?

Yes. Your taxes will be lower after you have a baby. Firstly, you are taxed at lower rates when you have a child. Additionally, you can claim federal and cantonal tax exemptions for children which substantially reduce your taxable income. There are also tax deductions for childcare costs, medical and dental expenses, health insurance premiums, and many more incidental costs which you may incur as a parent.

Will having a baby affect my unemployment insurance?

Having your first child will positively affect your unemployment insurance coverage. That is because parents of dependent children are entitled to unemployment benefits equal to 80 percent of their insured salary, instead of the 70 percent applicable to adults who do not have children.

Am I entitled to health insurance premium reductions?

Whether or not you are entitled to health insurance premium reductions largely depends on your taxable income. Because having a child lowers your taxable income, you may become eligible to receive health insurance premium reductions. If you already receive premium reductions, having a child will generally make you eligible to receive higher premium reductions.

More on this topic:
Financial tips for families with kids in Switzerland
Health insurance: Discounts for families and kids explained
Swiss health insurance: Dental care for kids explained
Financial education for kids
Gift savings accounts in Switzerland compared
Mobile plans and prepaid mobile for children
Free activities for kids in Switzerland
Smartphones for kids: Tips for parents
How to take cheap family holidays

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Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at moneyland.ch.
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