Could the retirement age in Switzerland be raised to 70?

Could the retirement age in Switzerland be raised to 70?

The Swiss Federal Council and President have accepted a motion that would dramatically change how pensions work in the alpine nation. The proposal calls for the retirement age in Switzerland to vary based on how long each retiree works, meaning some wouldn't be able to claim full benefits until they are 70 years old.

Proposal would base Swiss retirement age on length of career

Under the plans, according to Tio, each worker's retirement age would vary depending on the number of years worked, replacing the current system where all people, from 2025 at least, are able to fully retire at 65 years old. In short: people who have spent longer in higher education or university, and consequently only found a job later in life, will have to retire later than someone who took up work after secondary school or via an apprenticeship.

Ruth Humbel, the national councillor that proposed the change, said that the “right to a pension” would be granted after 44 years of work. This means that in practice, those who work from the age of 21 could retire at 65, while someone who doesn’t work until they are 26 years old could only hang up their boots when they reach the age of 70.

Pension system in Switzerland in need of reform, say experts

The new plan is among a number of solutions proposed to solve the funding crisis in the social security system in Switzerland. With a quarter of the population set to be retirees by the end of the decade, and with recent increases to the retirement age expected to only help in the short term, experts have predicted that the current pension system cannot survive without radical reforms, as more people retire and not enough young people start work.

Speaking to Tio, Humbel said that her plan is based on scientific evidence, noting that in Switzerland, life expectancy is linked to one's level of education: the more educated someone is, generally, the longer they live. She added that those with university degrees tend to have a higher salary and retire earlier, while those on lower incomes tend to work for as long as possible.

Changes to Swiss pensions "socially just" says Humbel

Therefore, she argued that modifying the retirement age to be based on the length of work is a “socially just and acceptable” solution to the funding issue. She has now asked the Federal Council to create a report to take the matter further, a request that the council has now accepted. 

Thumb image credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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