Social legislation - local staff

Social legislation - local staff

Regulations applicable to local employees of permanent missions with regard to mandatory Swiss social security insurance and Swiss income tax.

European nationals

The local staff members, nationals of a Member State of the European Union (EU) or Swiss nationals, working for a Permanent Mission of a Member State of the EU must refer to the information note published on this Website regarding their particular situation. The present information note do not apply to these persons.

Nationals of the Philippines and persons working for a Permanent Mission of the Philippines

The local staff members, nationals of the Philippines, and the local staff members regardless of nationality, working for a Permanent Mission of the Philippines, must refer to the information notepublished on this Website regarding their particular situation. The present information note do not apply to these persons.

General remarks

The Swiss social security system is made up of old age pension and surviving dependents' insurance (AVS), invalidity insurance (AI), allowance for loss of earnings (APG), unemployment insurance (AC) and family allowances (AFam). AVS entitles the beneficiary to the payment of an old age pension upon retirement, as well as annuities to surviving dependents (widower, widow and orphans) upon the death of the insured. AI provides annuities in the case of disability. APG pays compensation during periods of military service, and AC pays compensation during periods of unemployment. APG and Geneva maternity insurance (AMat) pays maternity allowance. AFam provides allowances for children.

The occupational pension insurance (LPP) is a supplementary insurance to Swiss social insurance security system  entitling the beneficiary to payments during retirement, as well as payments to surviving dependents (widower, widow and orphans) and payments in case of disability.

The accident insurance (LAA) covers medical costs and hospitalisation in case of accidents and work-related illnesses, and in case of accidents that are not work-related. It also entitles the beneficiary to compensation on a daily basis.

The health insurance (LAMal) covers costs for medical care and hospitalisation in the case of sickness that is not work-related according to the limits stipulated in the insurance contract.

More information on the Swiss social insurance is available on the web site of the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) (English, French, German and Italian).

Categories of local employees

Local employees are not considered as career members of personnel that can be transferred. They can be divided into two distinct categories: 

  • Swiss nationals who hold a "S" or "R" legitimation card, as well as foreign nationals having a B/C permits.
  • Foreign nationals holding an "E" legitimation card who do not permanently reside in Switzerland.

Regulations pertaining to Swiss local staff members or local staff members with B/C permits 

  • Are legally obliged to be insured for AVS/AI/APG/AC/AFam insurance and are responsible for registering with these plans and making the payments. The permanent missions, in their role as employer, are not expected to pay the premiums (article 33, a, of the regulations of 31 Octobrer 1947 on old age pension and surviving dependants insurance).
  • May be insured on a voluntary basis according to the terms of LPP and must assume responsibility for the premiums. LPP is not mandatory for wage earners whose employer is not required to make payments to AVS (article 1j, a, of the Ordinance of 18 April 1984 on retirement and old age, surviving dependants and disability insurance). Vested benefits, please refer to the information of the Federal Social Insurance Office (see below “Links”).
  • May be insured against accidents only if the permanent mission employing them makes a formal request to the Federal Office of Public Health and agrees to satisfy the legal requirements for employers – in particular that the payments are to be made by the employer (article 3, par. 3, of the Ordinance of 20 December 1982 on accident insurance). These persons should be responsible for insuring themselves against accidents with a company offering health insurance or through coverage with a private insurance plan.
  • Are subject to mandatory health insurance; it is a personal obligation, and the employer is not required to make any contribution.
  • Remain subject to the Swiss law and are also liable to taxation on income (article 38, par. 2, of the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on diplomatic relations, applicable by analogy to permanent missions based in Geneva and to their members of personnel).

Regulations pertaining to local staff members having an "E" legitimation card 

  • Are not subject to AVS/AI/APG/AC/AFam insurance (nor to LLP) and may not participate in them, even on a voluntary basis (article 33 and article 37 of the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on diplomatic relations, applicable by analogy to the permanent missions and their members of personnel / Article 1a, par. 2 a, of the Federal law of 20 December 1946 on old age and surviving dependants insurance).
  • May only take out accident insurance if the permanent mission which employs them makes a formal request to the Federal Office of Public Health and agree to satisfy the legal requirements for employers – in particular that the payments are to be made by the employer (article 3, par. 3, of the Ordinance of 20 December 1982 on accident insurance).
  • Are not obliged to be covered by health insurance but may request to do so (within six months of the date of receiving their legitimation card (article 6, par. 1, and Article 7, par. 6, of the Ordinance of 27 June 1995 on health insurance) (see Information note on health insurance).
  • Are not subject to income tax (article 37, par. 3, of the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on diplomatic relations, applicable by analogy to permanent missions based in Geneva and to their members of personnel).
  • Medical costs and hospitalisation, as well as costs of repatriation, are the responsibility of the permanent missions in accordance with the "Declaration of guarantee" signed for this purpose.

Geneva Compensation Fund Office (Caisse cantonale genevoise de compensation)
Rue des Gares 12
CH-1211 Geneva 2
Tel. +41 (0)22 327 27 27
Fax +41 (0)22 327 27 10

Specialist Contact

Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG
Office of Privileges & immunities
Rue de Varembé 9-11
P.O. Box 194
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37