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Maternity allowance

Who is entitled to maternity allowance?

Women are entitled to maternity allowance if at the time when your child is born they are

  • employed or
  • self-employed; or
  • working in the business of your husband, family or cohabiting partner and receive a cash salary; or
  • unemployed and either already receive a daily unemployment
    allowance or
  • have paid contributions for a sufficiently long period of time within the meaning of the unemployment act; or
  • unable to work owing to sickness, injury or disability and because of this are receiving daily benefits from a social or private insurer, provided that these daily benefits are calculated on the basis of a previous salary; or
  • in a valid employment relationship, but are not receiving any continued payment of wages or daily benefits because your entitlement has been exhausted.

If they were employed in the Canton of Geneva prior to the birth, they may be entitled to supplementary cantonal benefits. Information can be obtained from the cantonal office of social insurance in Geneva:

For more information on the protection of employees during maternity, please refer to the relevant leaflet of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO:

Maternity and working time organisation (only in german)

What are the eligibility requirements for maternity allowance?

You will be eligible for maternity allowance if you were

  • covered by mandatory insurance within the meaning of the OASI act during the nine-month period immediately preceding the birth of your child. If your child was born prematurely, this period is reduced to:
    • six months in the case of children born before the seventh month of pregnancy;
    • seven months in the case of children born before the eighth month
      of pregnancy;
    • eight months in the case of children born before the ninth month
      of pregnancy, and
  • gainfully employed for at least five months during this period.

Periods of insurance and employment in an EU or EFTA member state and in the United Kingdom are counted.

When does entitlement begin and end?

Entitlement to maternity allowance begins on the date of the child’s birth and ends after a maximum of 14 weeks or 98 days. If during this time you return to work on a full-time or part-time basis or die, your entitlement will end early.

If you die on the day of the child’s birth or during the subsequent 97 days, the surviving parent (father or mother’s wife) can claim an extension of the paid leave to which they are entitled as the other parent provided that they meet the qualifying conditions.

Is there an entitlement to an extension of the maternity allowance if the child has to stay in hospital for a longer period?


You continue to be entitled to the allowance if your child has to remain in hospital for more than 14 days directly after the birth. The period of entitlement is extended by the number of days spent in hospital but by no more than 56 days. You are entitled to this extension if you return to employment after the end of maternity leave. To claim the extension, you must specify on the application form the length of the hospital stay, present a medical certificate and submit the requisite evidence of your returning to employment. 

Such an entitlement also exists if you receive unemployment benefits, have not used up all your daily allowances by the time of the birth and a reference period is still open at the time of the birth.

How is the compensation calculated?

Maternity allowance is paid as a daily allowance and amounts to 80 % of your average earnings prior to the birth, subject to a maximum of
220 francs per day.

Caution: taking unpaid leave before giving birth could adversely affect the amount of maternity allowance you are entitled to.

The maximum daily allowance is reached when your monthly income comes to 8 250 francs (8 250 francs x 0.8 ÷ 30 days = 220 francs/day), or, if you are self-employed, when your annual income comes to 99 000 francs
(99 000 francs x 0.8 ÷ 360 days = 220 francs/day).

What if the maternity allowance coincides with other benefits?

If an entitlement to daily allowances from

  • unemployment insurance;
  • disability insurance;
  • accident insurance;
  • military insurance, or to
  • compensation payments for persons performing military or civilian service,

exists at the time of the birth of the child, maternity allowance takes precedence over these benefits and will come to at least the same amount as the daily allowance you were receiving previously.

How can a claim be asserted?

The following persons can claim maternity allowance from the OASI compensation fund responsible for their case:

  • the mother
    through your employer if you are an employee;
    directly from the compensation office if you are self-employed, unemployed or unable to work;
  • the employer
    if the mother fails to claim through the employer (see above) and the employer pays a salary during the period of the entitlement;
  • the dependants
    if the mother does not fulfil her maintenance or support obligations.

In the case of mothers who are employed, unemployed or unable to work at the time of confinement, the current or last employer certifies:

  • the duration of the employment relationship;
  • the salary relevant for calculating the maternity allowance and
  • the salary paid by the employer during the period of daily allowance entitlement.

The entitlement to maternity compensation can be claimed up to 5 years after the end of the 14-week maternity leave. Thereafter it expires without further claims.

Is maternity allowance subject to contributions?


Maternity allowance paid directly in place of the salary also counts as income. OASI, DI and IC contributions must therefore be paid on them. For employees, the contribution to unemployment insurance is also deducted. Like any other income, the amount of maternity allowance paid out directly will be recorded in the OASI individual account kept by the compensation offices for every insured person. This will allow it to be taken into account when calculating future pensions.

Additional information on the obligation to pay contributions can be obtained from the compensation offices.

How is maternity allowance paid?

By the employer or the compensation office.

If the employer continues to pay the salary for the duration of the entitlement, the compensation office will pay the maternity allowance to the employer.

In the event of any dispute with the employer, or under special circumstances, the mother may request direct payment of the maternity allowance by the compensation office. Special circumstances would apply, for example, if the employer were insolvent or in default or if the mother has another job and the employer has not been informed of facts relating to this (amount of salary, self-employment, etc.).

In all other cases, the compensation office will pay maternity allowance directly to the mother or to the entitled recipient.

The mother may ask for the allowance to be paid to her dependants entitled to maintenance or support. Maternity allowance is paid in arrears at the end of the month. If it amounts to less than 200 francs per month, it will be paid at the end of the maternity leave.

Maternity allowance can also be paid to mothers living abroad, if she moves abroad after the birth of her child. The Swiss Compensation Office (SCO) will handle this case.

Does the accident insurance remain in place?


Employees who receive maternity allowance will continue to be covered by mandatory accident insurance while they are on maternity leave. In principle, they will be exempt from premium payments during this period. 

If, while the mother is on maternity leave, the employer pays a salary which amounts to more than the maternity allowance, he or she will be required to pay AIA premiums on the difference between maternity allowance and the salary payments (up to the current maximum insured earnings of 148 200 francs).

Unemployed women will continue to be insured against accidents while on maternity leave. They do not need to cancel the suspension with their health insurance because of this. However, a precondition for this is that there should not be any gap between receiving daily unemployment benefit and the maternity allowance.

Will the occupational pension cover remain in place?


The occupational pension insurance cover for employees will continue to the same level during maternity leave. The previous coordinated salary, on which contributions are levied, will therefore remain valid. However, the employee can request a reduction in the coordinated salary.

If there are any questions about the amount of the occupational pension contributions, please contact your pension fund. No occupational pension contributions are levied on maternity compensation.