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Salary, payslips & minimum wage in Switzerland

Salary, payslips & minimum wage in Switzerland

Salary, payslips & minimum wage in Switzerland

If you are working in Switzerland, you will need to know the key terms and costs associated with your salary and payslip. Additionally, you will also need to know what the average salary in your locality is and what salaries can be expected if you are looking for a job. Switzerland does not have a national minimum wage, but some communities (particularly Swiss cities) have started to bring in their own versions.

Types of Swiss salary

The Swiss system of taxation is based around charging taxes that are calculated by your gross income. This system is integral to the Swiss tax system and allows income tax to be charged fairly. The system may differ from other nations and must be calculated to make sure you know what your take-home pay will be.

Gross salary

Your gross salary is the total amount of salary that you are paid before any deductions are made. The amount agreed upon will be detailed in your employment contract as either a monthly or annual sum. When you are negotiating a salary in Switzerland, you will always be talking in terms of a gross salary.

Net salary

Your net salary is the amount of money that you will receive from your employer once all deductions have been made. This is once social security system, such as your pension contributions, have been deducted. The net pay will be the amount you will receive on a monthly basis. Your tax contributions will also be made from your net salary, as detailed in your tax return.

Net salary calculator for Switzerland

Switzerland has a large amount of variation when it comes to taxes and social security. Often, it is the responsibility of your local council (Gemeinde) to determine the level of tax. In addition, many urban counties (cantons) have larger social security systems and will demand more. In order to help, the Federal Tax Administration has a tool to assist in calculating what your total taxes will be.

Bonus packages for work in Switzerland

As well as your gross salary, your employer will often offer various benefits alongside your regular contract. These are perks that allow for greater luxuries or more work flexibility. Particularly if you are moving to Switzerland to work at an international company, you will often be given benefits that allow for an easy transition into Swiss life for you and your family. Some of the more common benefits can be:

Understanding your Swiss payslip

If you are working full- or part-time in Switzerland, you will receive a regular monthly payslip from your employer. There, they will detail your gross salary alongside the mandatory social security contributions for that month.

Personal information on a Swiss payslip

Typically, the top of a Swiss payslip will detail personal information related to your employment. Many of the common details are:

  • Your name and home address.
  • The address of your employer. The canton where your employer is based.
  • Your social security number, the number that governments and insurance firms use to calculate your social security benefits.
  • Date of the start of your employment.
  • Date of the settlement of payroll, for most Swiss companies this is around the 23rd to the 25th of each month.

Payroll sections for a payslip in Switzerland

The middle section of the payslip will consist of a thorough breakdown of the various social security contributions that have to be paid from your gross salary. These are:

  • Your standard gross monthly wage
  • Any declared overtime
  • Your total gross salary for the month

Deductions:

  • OASI / AHV – This is your contribution to the mandatory first pillar pension scheme.
  • BVG – This is a payment that you make toward your second pillar pension.
  • IV – This is your contribution to disability insurance.
  • UI / ALV – This is your contribution to unemployment benefits.
  • SUVA – This is your contribution to the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) which delivers accident and occupational disease insurance.

Additional information on a Swiss payslip

The final part of a payslip in Switzerland is typically more personal data about where your payslip is being paid to. Most companies now pay employees through online methods, so you will automatically receive your payment through your bank account and will receive the payslip in order to keep it on record for when you need to pay your taxes. Some of the things that can be found in this section are your full banking details or details of a fund that you are paying your salary to.

Average earnings in Switzerland

As of 2020, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, the average gross annual wage for someone working full-time in Switzerland was 78.456 Swiss francs a year. This amounts to around 6.500 Swiss francs a month. The median wage for Switzerland in 2020 was 60.847 according to the OECD.

Swiss average salary by profession

Typically, your profession and seniority define how much you should be paid in Switzerland. It is important when looking for a job to have a salary in mind as most employers will ask you how much you expect to earn. Therefore, it is always valuable to check what your type of work is worth in Switzerland.

Professional category

Median gross monthly wage
(in Swiss francs)

Managers (chief executives, senior officials, administrative,
production, hospitality and retail)
9.547
Professionals (scientists, engineers, teachers, doctors,
business and admin staff, professional skilled workers)
8.502
Technicians and associate professionals (associates of medical staff,
scientific legal and business staff)
6.932
Clerical support workers (customer service, clerks) 5.808
Service and sales workers (personal service, sales, personal care
and protective service workers)
4.901
Skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers 5.250
Craft and tradesmen 5.795
Factory workers and drivers 5.572
Elementary occupations (cleaners, helpers, food preparation assistants,
refuse workers, labourers)
5.101

Source: Federal Statistical Office (FSO), data circa 2018

Cheapest taxes in Switzerland

Swiss cantons are also allowed to institute their own tax system, leading to some communities being cheaper than others. Below is a chart of the cantons’ tax rates based on the gross median wage of 60.847 Swiss francs a year.

Canton Average regional & local tax rate for Swiss median salary Canton Average regional & local tax rate for Swiss median salary
Zug (ZG) 11,4% Thurgau (TG) 17,8%
Appenzell Innerrhoden (AI) 13,1% Schaffhausen (SH) 17,9%
Schwyz (SZ) 14,9% Luzern (LU) 18%
Zurich (ZH) 15,4% Appenzell Ausserhoden (AR) 18,4%
Nidwalden (NW)) 16,1% Basel Land (BL) 19,1%
Graubünden (GR) 16,3% Jura (JU) 19,3%
Obwalden (OW) 16,3% St Gallen (SG) 19,9%
Ticino (TI) 16,5% Basel Stadt (BS) 20,1%
Uri (UR) 16,5% Solothurn (SO) 20,1%
Aargau (AG) 16,9% Freiburg / Fribourg (FR) 20,3%
Glarus (GL) 17% Bern (BE) 20,7%
Valais / Wallis (VS) 17,7% Vaud (VD) 21,2%
Genève (GE) 17,8% Neuchatel (NE) 21,5%

Source: Talent.com and Federal Tax Administration

Regional variations in a Swiss salary

To this day, Switzerland has large regional variations when it comes to salaries. Italian-speaking cantons such as Ticino can have average wages that are 20 percent lower than the national average. Below is a chart showing you which areas pay higher or lower than the national average.

Region of Switzerland Higher and Middle Management Lower management Entry level management Non-management position
Lake Geneva Region
(VD, VS, GE)
+8,3% +7,4% +7,4% +2,8%
Mittelland
(BE, FR, SO, NE, JU)
-4,6% -4,5% -2,2% +2,2%
Northwest Switzerland
(BS, BL, AG)
+3% -0,4% +5,1% +2,7%
Zurich (ZH) +7,9% +11,7% +8,4% +2,2%
Eastern Switzerland
(GL, SH, AR, AI, GR, TG)
-14,2% -11,2% -8,1% -4,2%
Central Switzerland
(LU, UR, SZ, OW, NW, ZG)
-6,4% -6,8% -4,1% -0,6%
Ticino (TI) -18% -15,3% -18,3% -18,5%

Source: Federal Statistical Office (FSO)

What is the minimum wage in my canton?

Each canton has the authority to institute its own minimum wage through a referendum. Swiss voters rejected a national minimum wage of 23 Swiss francs an hour in 2014. Some cantons and local communities have instituted their own minimum wage, and some who have started a business in Switzerland having also agreed on a minimum wage with their workforces which usually account for between 19 and 24 Swiss francs. The official minimum wages are:

Community Minimum wage (Swiss francs per hour)
Canton Geneva 23
Cities of Winterthur, Zurich and Kloten 23
Canton Ticino 19,75 - 20,25
Canton Neuchatel 20
Canton Jura 20

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