Security for all situations in life

Many events in life have a bearing on your occupational pension.

Birth of a child

The HR department must be notified of all births. The HR department will forward this information to the pension fund. Whether or not members have children is of no significance to the pension fund until a claim for benefits arises (e.g. orphan’s pension).

Change of address

Members are obliged to notify the HR department of any change of address. The HR department will forward this information to the pension fund.

Contribution of capital

  • Voluntary buy-ins: Upon prior application, members may make payments to the Foundation at any time for the purpose of increasing their pension benefits. Please note: Advance withdrawals for residential property must be repaid prior to any buy-ins. 
  • Buy-in potential: Calculated by the pension scheme. 
  • Withdrawal of buy-ins: Where members have effected buy-ins, they may not withdraw the respective amount in the form of a lump-sum for the subsequent 3 years. According to a decision passed by the Federal Court in 2010, this also applies to the accrued savings capital. This rule is intended to prevent members from temporarily shifting funds for tax reasons. Under applicable pension laws, it is possible to withdraw savings capital accrued before the buy-in even during the three-year lock-up period. The ALSTOM Switzerland Pension Fund follows the provisions of the pension laws. However, the tax authority may not accept the withdrawal. 
  • Additional early retirement account: Members may offset the reduction in benefits in the case of early retirement by making payments to an additional account. Such payments cannot be made before the regular buy-in potential has been exhausted. 
  • Fiscal consequences: Members must clarify, and are fully responsible for, the fiscal consequences of their buy-ins and any lump-sum withdrawals. 
  • Withdrawals: While members are employed by ALSTOM (Switzerland) Ltd, advance withdrawals may exclusively be made in respect of owner-occupied residential property.

Death

  • Death benefit: Surviving dependents are entitled to death benefit. The latter consists of the savings capital including all voluntary payments less further benefits, such as spouse’s/partner’s pension or lump-sum payments made to spouses or partners. In the case of pensioners, the death benefit is equal to twice the annual retirement pension, less any retirement pensions drawn.
  • Beneficiaries: Members may determine the share of the death benefit that each person in the different beneficiary groups will be entitled to. They must lodge a respective written declaration with the pension fund before their death. The ranking of the beneficiaries is specified in the rules of the pension fund.
  • Payment of pensions: The HR department informs the pension fund in the event of the death of an insured member. The death benefit and the spouse’s and orphan’s pensions are paid as soon as the pension fund has received the required documents, such as list of heirs, birth certificates of the children, confirmation that they are in full-time education, etc. 
  • Spouse’s pension: Surviving spouses are entitled to a spouse’s pension if they are supporting one or several children under the age of 25, or are at least 40 years of age. Registered same-sex partners are placed on an equal footing with spouses. The spouse’s pension amounts to 36% of the insured salary in the Pension Fund or 39% of the insured salary in the Supplementary Insurance Plan.
  • Orphan’s pension: All children who are entitled to a pension have the right to claim an orphan’s pension in the amount of 20% of the full disability or retirement pension.

Departure

  • Vested benefit: Each member is entiteled to receive his vested benefit. For this purpose, the pension scheme contacts the member who is obliged to provide it with details of the account to which the vested benefit should be transferred. The vested benefit is consistent with the savings capital accrued upon departure.
  • Member has new employer: The vested benefit is transferred to the new employer’s pension scheme. 
  • Member does not have a new employer: The vested benefit is transferred to a vested benefit account or used to take out a vested benefit insurance policy.
  • External membership: Members leaving the company may remain with the Foundation as long as they have not joined a new employer’s pension scheme. In this case, they pay both the employee’s and the employer’s contributions. A further option consists of continued insurance free of premium in which case, however, the savings capital will not increase. 
  • Cash payment: Possible in cases whereby members become self-employed or leave Switzerland. Where members move to a EU country with mandatory social insurance, only the portion beyond the obligatory part can be withdrawn. The obligatory portion is transferred to a vested benefit account or a vested benefit insurance policy in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Disability

  • Entitlement: Members who are at least 40% disabled according to the Federal Disability Insurance Scheme (Eidgenössische Invalidenversicherung, IV). Members must have been insured with the Foundation upon occurrence of the incapacity to work which caused the disability. Until the pension fund benefits commence, the company is obliged to pay a continued salary and the member is entitled to health insurance and daily accident benefits. 
  • Pension amount: Depends on the degree of disability according to IV. The full disability pension is equal to 60% of the insured salary in the Pension Fund or 65% of the insured salary in the Supplementary Insurance Plan. The full disability pension is payable to members with a disability degree of 70% or above.
  • Partial disability: The savings capital is apportioned in line with the pension level. The savings capital corresponding to the active portion continues to increase similar to that of fully employed members.

Divorce

  • Division: Principally, the pension fund assets saved up by the spouses throughout their marriage is divided in half. The same applies in the event of the dissolution of a registered partnership.  
  • Procedure: Upon request, the pension fund issues a declaration of feasibility to the respective member. The declaration specifies the member’s financial pension status before the divorce. Subsequently, due to the declaration, the court automatically forwards the divorce decree to the pension scheme, specifying the amount of the spouse’s claim to vested benefits. The pension scheme then transfers this amount to a vested benefit account or to the spouse’s pension scheme. 
  • Buy-back: Members may offset the amounts transferred to their spouses upon divorce by making voluntary payments to the pension fund. 

Joining the pension fund

  • Entry: Upon contractual commencement of employment, but no earlier than age 18. In principle, all employees whose employment exceeds 3 months and whose annual salary exceeds the minimum salary under the BVG join the Foundation. 
  • Scope: Between the ages of 18 and 25, insurance is restricted to disability and death; thereafter it also includes the retirement pension.
  • Contributions: Each year, members may choose between 3 contributions tables: Standard, Standard plus and Standard minus.

Partner's pension

  • Beneficiaries: Unmarried partners who are not related under marriage law if they are 40 years of age or above, have lived with the deceased member for 5 uninterrupted years before his/her death and started their relationship with the member before the member reached the age of 60. 
  • Amount: As spouse’s pension. The partner’s pension is reduced by any current spouse’s pensions. 
  • Registration: Members must register their partners with the pension scheme before their death.
  • Application: The application for a partner’s pension must be submitted within 3 months of the insured member’s death.

Promotion of home ownership

  • Condition: Savings capital may be used to acquire owner-occupied residential property up until age 62 only. 
  • Advance withdrawal: Until age 50, the entire savings capital may be withdrawn. Withdrawals effected thereafter may not exceed the savings capital as per the age of 50 or half of the effectively accrued savings capital. 
  • Consequences: Advance withdrawals reduce the retirement pension. However, advance withdrawals may be offset. The minimum buy-back is CHF 20,000.
  • Pledging: Instead of withdrawing their assets, members may also pledge their pension fund assets to a bank. Since pledging does not lead to a withdrawal of assets from the pension fund, full benefits remain insured.

Registered partnership

Members living in a registered partnership are placed on an equal footing with married members. They enjoy the same rights and are subject to the same duties under the pension schemes' rules as married members.

Retirement

  • Retirement age: 65. A 6-month notice period applies.
  • Early retirement: No earlier than age 58. Early retirement is connected with lower pension payments. Members retiring between the ages of 63 and 65 receive a bridging pension. 
  • Partial retirement: Requires the employer’s approval. 
  • Postponed retirement: Retirement can be postponed until, but no later than, age 70 if the employer agrees.  
  • Retirement benefits: The savings capital may be drawn as a pension or withdrawn as a lump-sum payment. Hybrid forms are also possible. All claims against the pension scheme expire upon payment of the lump-sum. The pension fund must be notified of the impending lump-sum withdrawal no later than 6 months before retirement.
  • Calculation of the retirement pension: The retirement pension is calculated upon retirement on the basis of the accrued savings capital and the conversion rate. The conversion rate is determined by the Board of Trustees.

Salary adjustments

The HR department informs the pension fund directly of any salary adjustments.
The pension fund includes the new figure in its calculation of the pension benefits.

Wedding/registration of partnership

Members must notify the HR department of weddings or registrations of same-sex partnerships. The HR department will forward this information to the pension fund.