Switzerland: abolishing children's pensions - saving or risking poverty for children

The abolition of children's pensions in Switzerland sparked a lively debate in parliament at its last spring session. A proposal to completely abolish these pensions, which also affect pensioners living abroad, was passed by the National Council.

Today, AVS pension recipients who have minor children or children in training receive additional payments. These payments remain irrespective of the recipient's place of residence, whether in Switzerland or abroad.

The National Council has expressed its support for the proposal to abolish this right. The wish that these pensions should no longer go outside the country is emphasized.

The arguments in favor of abolishing these pensions are based on two main factors: the need for economy and the principle of fairness. According to the proposal, a new system is supposed to be implemented to replace these payments.

While critics point to the potential risk of poverty for children, supporters of abolishing children's pensions argue that the current system distributes benefits unequally and disrupts intergenerational solidarity.

While supporting the abolition of children's pensions, supporters also draw attention to biological aspects. They note that men tend to receive these pensions because they are biologically able to have children at a later age, resulting in additional benefits.

Social insurance, including the pension system, is under pressure due to financial constraints. Although children's pensions represent only a small fraction of total social insurance expenditures, the argument for saving is becoming more relevant given the increasing number of recipients of these pensions abroad.

The number of recipients of children's pensions has increased significantly in recent decades. Between 2010 and 2020, it grew from about 10 000 to 32 000. This trend raises concerns about the future financial sustainability of the social insurance system, especially given the increasing number of recipients living outside Switzerland.

Many of the recipients of child pensions live in neighboring countries such as France, Germany and Italy. In recent years, Thailand has also become a popular destination for Swiss pensioners. This has led to a growing Swiss diaspora in that country.

It is worth noting that the proposal to abolish children's pensions raises questions about the possible impact on children. There is concern that abolishing these pensions could increase the risk of poverty for children and reduce their chances of education and access to social services.

However, supporters of the proposal argue that parents will be able to compensate for the loss of children's pensions through other forms of support and benefits. They also point out that the decision will not affect current pensions, but will only apply to new cases.

The National Council voted in favor of the proposal to abolish children's pensions with a significant majority. The proposal will now go to the Council of States, the upper house of parliament, for consideration and vote, where a final decision on the issue will be made.


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