Family allowances in switzerland

Family allowances are intended to offset some of the costs that parents incur for their children. Family allowances include child allowances and vocational training allowances, as well as birth and adoption allowances in certain cantons.

Who has the right to family allowances?

  • All employees (different in agriculture),
  • people without gainful employment with a modest income,
  • the self-employed (since 2013).

The beneficiary must complete the family allowance form provided for this purpose, have it signed by his employer and send it with the necessary supporting documents to the cantonal family allowance fund (compensation fund), which will issue a decision. If you are entitled to receive family allowances, you may request them retroactively, up to 5 years.

Both the father/mother of a child are gainfully employed. Can they decide which one of them will receive the family allowance?
Double payments of family allowances are not allowed. When several individuals are eligible for a family allowance for the same child, this is referred to as a “concurring claim”. In such instances, the parents may not decide which of them will receive the family allowance. The decision is made according to the following order of precedence:

  • If both parents have joint custody of, and live with, the child (which is the mostly the case for married parents), it is the parent who works in the family’s canton of residence who claims the allowance. If both parents work in their canton of residence, or if neither do, the allowance is paid out to the parent with the highest income on which they pay statutory OASI contribution.
  • If only one parent has sole custody, their entitlement to the allowance takes precedence.
  • If both parents have joint custody of the child but do not live together, the allowance will be paid out to the parent with whom the child lives.

To determine your status and what is the administrative process, we have created this friendly tool :

In case you are changing employer and already received family allowance (1 child or more) from your previous employer, you may have to lodge a new family allowance application with your new employer.

These results do not replace a formal decision from your employer’s AVS-Family allowance authority (AVS compensation fund).

If you have more questions, you can also visit the FAQ page of the Federal Social Insurance Office.