FAQs | frequently asked questions

and our answers to these questions

  • All
  • Leaving the pension fund
  • Contributions
  • Entry
  • Volutary purchase
  • Disability
  • Retirement / Early retirement
  • Divorce
  • Death
  • Election plans
  • WEF-prepayment / pledging

What are the conditions for enrolment with the Lonza Pension Fund (PKL)?

The conditions for enrolment with the Lonza Pension Fund (PKL) are:

  • The annual income subject to AHV contributions above entry threshold
  • The employee has passed the age of 17
  • The regular retirement age of 64 or 65 has not yet been reached
  • The employee has a permanent employment contract or a fixed-term employment contract for more than three months

What must I do to enrol with PKL?

In Switzerland, all employees are insured against the risks of old age, death and disability with the pension fund of their current employer, provided that they meet the conditions for enrolment. Provided that you meet the above conditions, you are automatically enrolled with the Lonza Pension Fund for the Standard plan when you join the company.

From what date am I insured with the pension fund?

The insurance begins on the day on which the employment relationship commences or on the day on which the first
the employee is entitled to a salary for the first time, but in any case at the time when they on the way to work.

How do I transfer my assets from the old pension fund / vested benefits foundation or BVG Contingency Fund to PKL?

According to Art. 4 para. 2bis of the Vested Benefits Act (FZG), employees are obliged by law to transfer all retirement assets previously accrued with a Swiss pension fund to their current pension fund to uphold their pension provision. Employees also have to transfer any vested benefits held with vested benefits foundations to their current pension fund. The employee is personally responsible for making this transfer as they are the owner of such an account. In this way, the savings process for retirement benefits under the second pillar (employee benefits) is continued.

Please instruct your previous pension fund to transfer your assets to PKL. You can use the following document for this purpose:

Anmeldung PKL (DE)

Registration PKL (EN)

I have previously worked in Switzerland but I do not know if I still have assets with other pension funds. What should I do?

You can find all the information you need on how to trace forgotten vested benefits and transfer them to your new pension fund on the website of the BVG Contingency Fund.

Homepage BVG Contingency Fund

Will I be informed about the transfer of pension assets from a previous pension fund to PKL?

After receiving your vested benefits, PKL will inform you in writing in the following month about the receipt and crediting of your vested benefits.

With which pension plan am I enrolled upon joining the pension fund?

Upon joining the pension fund, you are automatically enrolled for PKL's Standard plan. However, you can also voluntarily join one of the two election plans by choosing between the Medium plan (+2%) and the Top plan (+4%).

How can I join the election plans?

When joining the company, the following form will be enclosed with your employment documents:

Wahlplan Neueintritt (DE)

Election plan new entry (EN)

If you wish to participate in one of these two election plans, please complete and send this form as a PDF to pensionskasse@lonza.com within your first ten working days.

Who pays the additional 2% or 4% in contributions if I participate in one of these two election plans?

These voluntary additional contributions concern your personal PF contribution and are deducted directly from your salary by the employer. The employer's contributions are not affected by participation in the elective plan.

How do I benefit personally from participating in an election plan?

The annual retirement pension is calculated as a percentage of the accrued personal retirement savings. The additional contributions will increase the individual retirement savings and thus also the annual pension.

Can I still join one of the election plans or change from an election plan to the Standard plan after joining the company?

A change to an optional plan can be made annually at the end of the year or a change from an optional plan back to the standard plan. The change will take effect on 1 January of the following year. Insured persons who do not wish to change do not have to do anything. Election plans or standard plans that have already been selected will continue to run unchanged until revoked.

Will I be informed about a change of plan?

The Lonza Pension Fund will inform you in writing about the successful change of pension plan.

Where can I see under which of the three plans I am currently insured?

Your pension certificate shows under which pension plan you are currently insured.

Where can I see the amounts that are deducted for my pension fund contributions?

Your salary statement for the month in question shows the employee contributions to the pension fund that were deducted from your salary. Any corrections to employee contributions that may be needed are also documented in your personal salary statement. The employer contributions paid on your behalf are not shown in the salary statement.

The current pension certificate is decisive for the pension fund itself. This certificate shows the monthly and annual contributions by the employee (your personal contributions paid by you) and the employer (contributions paid by the employer on your behalf).

How are my pension fund contributions calculated?

Your contributions to the pension fund are calculated as a percentage of your pensionable salary. This is shown in the personal pension certificate.

My pensionable salary does not correspond to my actual salary. How is my pensionable salary calculated?

The insured salary is the effective salary less a coordination deduction. The effective salary corresponds to the annual income (basic salary and the target value of the incentive as well as the current average shift allowances). The coordination offset is determined in accordance with the BVG and corresponds to 87.5% of the maximum AHV retirement pension.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the pension fund contributions listed in my salary statement?

Please contact the HR Services team directly via F11 if you have questions about the pension fund contributions listed in your salary statement. They can answer all your questions related to the items listed in your salary statement.

Who should I contact if I have questions about my pension certificate?

Please contact the pension fund employees directly if you have any questions about your pension certificate.

To do this, you can use the contact form or send us an email (pensionskasse@lonza.com).

Can I have my assets with a foreign pension fund, e.g. in the UK, transferred to PKL?

No, the regulations of the Lonza Pension Fund do not make provision for the transfer of foreign pension assets.

What does the term "making purchases in the pension fund" mean?

Making purchases in the pension fund means that the insured person (employee) makes a voluntary deposit with the pension fund in order to increase their insured retirement benefits.

Can everybody make purchases in the pension fund?

Generally speaking, every insured person can make purchases in the pension fund if they have a gap in cover and the conditions of Art. 79b and Art. 60a-d BVV 2 are met.

What is the minimum amount for a purchase?

The regulations of the Lonza Pension Fund do not stipulate a minimum purchase amount. 

What is the maximum potential amount for a purchase?

The maximum potential purchase amount depends on the framework conditions pertaining to the individual insured person (e.g. age, salary, selected pension plan, etc.). The maximum purchase potential can be taken from the current pension certificate. This is shown at the bottom of the first page.

What must I do if I wish to make a purchase in the pension fund?

If you want to make a purchase in the pension fund, you have to complete and sign the form below and email it to pensionskasse@lonza.com.

Formular Einkauf (DE)

Voluntary purchase (EN)

You must also transfer the required purchase amount to the following account of the pension fund:

Bank details PKL

For further information on purchasing, please refer to the documents below.

Information freiwilliger Einkauf (DE)

Information voluntary purchase (EN)

What should I remember if I wish to make a purchase in the pension fund? Are there any other restrictions applying to a purchase?

The information can be taken from the documents below:

Information freiwilliger Einkauf (DE)

Information voluntary purchase (EN)

How do I benefit from making purchases in the pension fund?

Voluntary purchases will increase the personal retirement savings and therefore also the related retirement benefits. Purchases can also be deducted for tax purposes, i.e. they reduce the taxable income. Details must be clarified by the insured person with the responsible tax authority.

Will I receive a confirmation of purchase from the pension fund?

After your purchase has been credited to your personal retirement savings, we will send you a confirmation letter, new pension certificate and confirmation of purchase for the tax office.

What should I do with the tax confirmation?

The insured person has to submit the confirmation of purchase from the pension fund to the tax office with their annual tax return.

Can I make a purchase in the pension fund now and then deduct the purchase from my taxable income next year?

No, that is impossible. The purchase is confirmed for the year in which the payment was made, i.e. for payments made before 31 December 2021, a confirmation is issued for 2021 and has to be enclosed with the tax return for 2021.

What happens if I have exhausted the maximum purchase potential but still want to make more purchases?

The maximum possible purchase amount is indicated on the individual pension certificate, on the first page. If the maximum possible purchase potential is exhausted, no further purchases are possible.

What do I have to do to leave PKL?

When you leave your employer's company, the employer will automatically notify the pension fund of your departure. You do not have to do anything yourself regarding your departure from the pension fund. You simply have to complete the "Service exit" form sent to you by post and email it to pensionskasse@lonza.com.

You can also find the documents here:

Dienstaustritt (DE)

Service exit (EN)

 

From what date am I no longer insured with PKL?

The death and disability benefits insured on termination of the pension relationship remain insured without any changes until the beginning of a new pension relationship, but at the longest for one month (maximum extension period).

What claims do I have after leaving PKL?

If the employment relationship of a person who is capable of working is terminated before retirement savings have been accrued (< 25 Jahre), the pension relationship ceases at that date without giving rise to any entitlement. If retirement savings are available, the departing person is entitled to vested benefits if they cannot claim a retirement pension  but have not yet reached the regular retirement age and remain in gainful employment or are receiving benefits from the unemployment insurance.

How much are my vested benefits?

The vested benefits (VB) equal the full retirement savings that have been accrued with the employee benefits insurance until the insured person's departure (full vesting pursuant to the Vested Benefits Act).

How do I transfer my assets from PKL to my new pension scheme (pension fund or vested benefits foundation)?

You have to complete and sign the form below and email it to pensionskasse@lonza.com to arrange the transfer of your vested benefits to your new pension fund or your vested benefits account / vested benefits policy.

Dienstaustritt (DE)

Service exit (EN)

 

 

What must I do with my vested benefits if I do not yet have a new employer?

If you do not yet have a new employer when your employment relationship ends, you are obliged by law to open a vested benefits account with a bank or take out a vested benefits policy with an insurance company and have your vested benefits transferred to this account.

Can I leave my vested benefits with the Lonza Pension Fund until I have a new employer?

No, if you do not yet have a new employer when your employment relationship ends, you are obliged by law to open a vested benefits account with a bank or take out a vested benefits policy with an insurance company and have your vested benefits transferred to this account. If no instructions are received within six months, the vested benefits will automatically be transferred to the BVG Contingency Fund.

What happens to my vested benefits if I fail to notify PKL of a new pension fund or vested benefits account?

If you fail to notify PKL of a new pension fund or vested benefits account, your vested benefits will be transferred to the BVG Contingency Fund after six months.

Can I also have my vested benefits paid out in cash?

Insured persons can request the cash payment of their vested benefits if they:

  • Will be leaving Switzerland permanently, but not to take up residence in Liechtenstein;
  • Will be taking up self-employment and will no longer be subject to the mandatory employee benefits insurance
  • or if their vested benefits amount is less than their annual personal contribution

A distinction is made between the following two cases if the insured person is leaving Switzerland permanently:

Moving to an EU/EFTA country

The extra-mandatory portion of the vested benefits (VB) can be paid out in cash. The mandatory vested benefits must be transferred to a vested benefits account.

Moving to a non-EU/EFTA country

The total vested benefits (VB) can be paid out in cash.

If I meet the criteria for a cash payment, what documents do I have to submit for a cash payment to be made?

If the criteria for a cash payment are met, the insured person must submit the following documents:

a) An official confirmation must be submitted if the departing person is permanently leaving Switzerland or will no longer work in Switzerland as a cross-border commuter.

b) If the insured person is moving to an EU/EFTA country, the extra-mandatory portion of the vested benefits (VB) can be paid out in cash. The form required for applying for the additional cash payment of the mandatory BVG vested benefits can be obtained from the BVG Contingency Fund at www.verbindungsstelle.ch.

c) If the insured person is moving to a non-EU/EFTA country, the total vested benefits can be paid out in cash. A confirmation of residence issued by the new country of domicile must be submitted.

d) If the insured person takes up self-employment as their primary occupation and is no longer subject to the mandatory employee benefits insurance, a confirmation issued by the AHV Compensation Fund must be submitted.

As a general rule, a certificate of marital status or another official confirmation of marital status and the certified signature of the insured person and, depending on their marital status, also the certified signature of their spouse/registered partner are required for all cash payment transactions.

Will my vested benefits continue to earn interest? If yes, at what rate of interest?

After your departure, your retirement savings will continue to earn interest at the rate determined by the Board of Trustees until their transfer to your new pension fund. This is usually the minimum BVG interest rate for the current year for all departing insured persons.

Will I be informed about the transfer of my vested benefits to the new pension fund?

After the transfer of your vested benefits, PKL will inform you in writing about the payment/transfer of your vested benefits.

Can I also have my vested benefits transferred directly to a foreign pension fund, e.g. in the UK?

No, the vested benefits cannot be transferred to a foreign pension fund.

How long will it take for my vested benefits to be paid out?

The time required will depend on the quality of the documents that are submitted. If the required documents are submitted in full and correctly, the vested benefits are paid out within two weeks of submission. Payments are usually made on Fridays. If the documents are incomplete or incorrect, payment can only be made when the complete set of documents is received.

When can I take retirement at PKL?

At present, the regular retirement age is 65 for men and 64 for women.

It is possible to take early retirement at your own request five years before the regular retirement age, i.e. men can take early retirement from the age of 60 and women from the age of 59. Applications for early retirement must be submitted in writing to the PKL at least 12 months in advance.

What impact will the result of the AHV reform vote (increase in the retirement age for women from 64 to 65) have on our plan?

The reference age for women and men will be set uniformly at 65 years in the AHV as a result of the reform. The increase in the reference age for women from 64 to 65 years will begin on 01.01.2025 (from the year of birth 1961) and will take place gradually by three months per year. Thus, a uniform reference age of 65 will apply to women and men from 2028, when AHV 21 comes into force in 2024. The pension fund's pension regulations are based on the same reference age as the AHV.

How is my pension calculated?

At the time of regular retirement, the retirement pension is calculated by multiplying the accrued retirement savings with the regulatory conversion rates.

Accrued retirement savings * conversion rate = annual retirement pension

In the event of early retirement, the retirement pension is reduced accordingly.

Can I withdraw part or all of my retirement savings as a lump sum rather than a pension?

Instead of the entire retirement pension, the insured person may - subject to the provisions of the currently valid pension regulations - request the payment of part or all of the existing retirement assets as a lump sum. In the case of retirement in partial steps, a maximum of two lump-sum withdrawals are possible.

How long does the option for choosing between a lump sum and a pension apply?

You can choose between a retirement pension or a lump-sum payment until the first retirement benefits are paid out.

What should I remember if I choose to take a lump sum?

If you decide in favour of a lump-sum payment, the "Capital option" form below must be completed and emailed to pensionskasse@lonza.com.

If you are married, your spouse must also sign the form to indicate their consent. The spouse's signature must be certified.

Kapitaloption (DE)

Capital option (EN)

What are the disadvantages of taking early retirement at my own request?

Upon early retirement, the retirement pension that would have been due at the regular retirement age is reduced in accordance with the current version of the pension fund regulations as of the date of early retirement. If at this time the employee had worked for an employer affiliated with the pension fund for 26 or more years, they will receive a credit for this time in accordance with the current version of the pension fund regulations.

Is it possible to draw a bridging pension until I reach regular retirement age?

If you take early retirement, you have the option of also drawing an AHV bridging pension from the pension fund until you reach regular retirement age. However, regardless of your number of service years, opting for an AHV bridging pension will further reduce the retirement pension.

How much is the AHV bridging pension?

Subject to the following restrictions, the AHV bridging pension can be chosen freely:

  • The maximum AHV retirement pension may not be exceeded.
  • The retirement pension from the pension fund may not be reduced by more than one-third of the retirement pension that was originally insured.

What would happen to my retirement savings if I should divorce?

In the event of a divorce or dissolution of a registered partnership, the pension fund assets that were accrued during the marriage are usually divided in two, unless there was a pension claim (retirement, disability).

I am already a pensioner. What would happen to my pension if I should divorce?

If you are already a pensioner, the instructions of the judge pursuant to the final divorce decree will be executed.

What information is needed for issuing a confirmation on the feasibility of the division of pension assets?

To issue a correct confirmation on the feasibility of the division of pension assets, we need the following information:

  • Date of marriage
  • Vested benefits as at the date of marriage
  • Date of instigation of divorce proceedings

What happens on receipt of the divorce decree?

After receiving the final divorce decree, we will debit the amount set out in the divorce decree to your individual retirement savings and transfer this amount to the pension fund of your divorced partner. This will reduce your insured retirement benefits.

Is it possible to close the gap caused by the divorce again?

The gap caused by the divorce can be compensated in whole or in part by purchases until the time that a pension claim occurs, regardless of the purchase restrictions that apply.

Will I receive information/confirmation about the repayment?

PKL will inform you in writing about the repayment.

What should I do with the tax confirmation?

The insured person has to submit the confirmation of repayment from the pension fund to the tax office with their annual tax return.

I have a foreign divorce decree. Can this be used for the division of pension assets?

Foreign divorce decrees are not recognised in Switzerland for the division of pension assets. In order to carry out the division of pension assets, a final decision regarding the recognition and enforcement of the division of pension assets from the competent civil or pension court in Switzerland is required.

Who can I contact for the issue of a confirmation on the feasibility of the division of pension assets or for questions regarding a divorce?

Please contact the pension fund employees directly if you have any questions about a divorce or a feasibility confirmation.

To do this, you can use the contact form or send us an email (pensionskasse@lonza.com).

Can I request a prepayment for home ownership (early withdrawal) from the pension fund or pledge my retirement savings? If yes, for what?

Yes, it is possible to request a prepayment or pledge pension assets to finance owner-occupied residential property. You can use your accrued retirement savings in accordance with the legal provisions to purchase, convert or renovate residential property, repay existing mortgage loans or acquire shares in a building cooperative.

What is the difference between a prepayment and a pledge?

With a prepayment or early withdrawal, the agreed amount is debited to your individual retirement savings and transferred either directly to the creditor or to a blocked account. The prepayment is directly debited to your retirement savings and therefore reduces your retirement savings and your retirement benefits.

With a pledge, the agreed amount (pledging of a specific amount or the full retirement savings at the time the pledge is realised) remains with your pension fund and continues to earn interest. For as long as the pledge is not realised, the retirement benefits are not reduced.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount that must be or can be withdrawn?

The minimum amount for a prepayment to finance home ownership is CHF 20,000. This minimum amount does not apply for the acquisition of shares in building cooperatives or similar participations. The maximum amount that can be withdrawn is as follows:

  • Up to age 50: Amount of current termination benefit (vested benefits)
  • From age 50: The amount of the termination benefit at age 50 or half of the current termination benefit (if the latter amount is higher).

The maximum possible amount can be taken from the pension certificate.

What documents do I have to submit for an early withdrawal?

What documents do I have to submit for a pledge?

Where must I send the documents?

You can send the complete dossier by e-mail (pensionskasse@lonza.com) or by post to the following address:

Lonza Pension Fund

Münchensteinerstrasse 38

4002 Basel

What are the insurance consequences of an early withdrawal?

The retirement savings will be reduced by the amount of the prepayment or early withdrawal. The future retirement benefits will also be reduced by the amount of the early withdrawal, including the interest on this amount until retirement.

Where can I see that I have made an early withdrawal or a pledge?

This information is provided on page two of the current individual pension certificate.

Can I make another early withdrawal after I have already received a prepayment?

An early withdrawal for home ownership can be made every five years. The last one can be made three years before retirement.

Are there any other legal steps involved in making an early withdrawal for home ownership?

If an early withdrawal is made to finance home ownership, a sales restriction is registered with the Land Registry. This sales restriction is deleted when the insured person has repaid the early withdrawal for home ownership or this person takes retirement.

Are early withdrawals for home ownership taxable?

Yes, early withdrawals for home ownership are taxable.

Does the early withdrawal have to be repaid?

No, there is no general repayment obligation. However, if the owner-occupied residential property is sold, the prepayment must be repaid to the pension fund before approval is granted to delete the sales restriction.

Is there a minimum amount for repayment?

The minimum amount for repayment of an early withdrawal for home ownership is CHF 10,000.

Can I reclaim the taxes incurred on the withdrawal?

Yes. In order to reclaim the tax accrued on the advance withdrawal, an application must be submitted within three years to the tax authority that originally levied the tax. The following certificates must be enclosed with the application:

  • Certificate for the repayment of the early withdrawal (form WEF-RZ)
  • Register extract from the Federal Tax Administration on the pension capital invested in residential property
  • Certificate of the tax amount paid on the basis of an advance withdrawal (federal, cantonal, communal)

Who is entitled to a disability pension?

Disability is deemed to exist if the insured person is likely to become permanently or permanently for a longer period of time completely or partially incapacitated for work or if he/she is disabled within the meaning of the IV.

When does entitlement to disability benefits from the pension fund start?

Entitlement to a disability pension begins as soon as the insured person no longer receives a salary or salary replacement benefits that amount to at least 80% of the lost salary and for which the employer had paid at least half of the premiums.

When does the entitlement to a disability pension lapse?

The entitlement to a disability pension lapses if the disability is healed, or if the insured person dies or reaches regular retirement age. In the latter case, the disability pension is converted into a retirement pension.

How are the disability benefits calculated for partially disabled persons?

If the insured person is partially disabled, the amount of the disability benefits depends on the degree of disability. The degree of disability equals at least the disability level applied by the IV.

How much is the annual disability pension?

For full disability, the annual disability pension equals 60% of the pensionable salary. The personal values appear on page one of the current pension certificate. These amounts are listed under risk coverage.

Who is entitled to a disabled person's child's pension?

Disabled persons are entitled to a disabled person's child's pension for children younger than 18, or younger than 25 if they have not yet finished their education.

How much is the annual disabled person's child's pension?

The annual disabled person's child's pension for a fully disabled person equals 20% of the disability pension for each child. The personal values appear on page one of the current individual pension certificate. These amounts are listed under risk coverage.

Who is entitled to death benefits?

If an insured person, old-age or disability pensioner dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to a spouse's pension. The surviving partner of an unmarried insured person or an insured person not living in a registered partnership is treated in the same way as a surviving spouse after his/her death.

Can I appoint my unmarried partner (cohabiting partner) as a beneficiary if I am not married?

The insured person can inform PKL at any time that they have established a domestic partnership and register the unmarried partner that has to be appointed as a beneficiary. The entitlement of an unmarried partner to benefits will only be determined on the basis of the actual situation at the time death occurs.

To register a domestic partnership, the form below must be completed and emailed to pensionskasse@lonza.com.

Registrierung Lebenspartner (DE)

Registration cohabitant (EN)

Who is entitled to survivors' benefits if I die and I am not married and have not registered a civil partnership?

If an unmarried person who has not registered a domestic partnership dies, the adult children of the deceased person are entitled to the lump-sum death benefit. If there are no children, the parents and siblings of the deceased person are entitled to equal shares of the lump-sum death benefit.

Can I determine the division of the lump-sum death benefit myself?

The insured person can submit a written declaration to PKL in which they determine which persons in the beneficiary categories are entitled to what part of the lump-sum death benefit.

To do this, the form below must be completed and emailed to pensionskasse@lonza.com.

Begünstigtenerklärung (DE)

Declaration of beneficiaries (EN)

How much is the annual spouse's/partner's pension?

If an insured person dies before the start of retirement pension payments, the annual spouse's pension equals 60% of the disability pension. If an insured person dies after the start of retirement pension payments, the annual spouse's pension equals 60% of the retirement pension.

The personal values appear on page one of the current individual pension certificate. These amounts are listed under risk coverage.

Can a lump sum be requested instead of the payment of a spouse's pension?

Yes, a once-off lump sum can be drawn instead of a full or partial spouse's pension.

What should I consider with regard to a lump-sum payment?

A written declaration that a lump-sum payment is preferred must be submitted to PKL before the first pension payment is made.

What will happen to my voluntary purchases and my additional savings contributions (voluntary contribution plans) when I die?

Upon death, voluntary purchases purchases (as of 01.01.2016) and additional savings contributions (voluntary contribution plans) are paid out to the survivors as a lump-sum death benefit. This only applies in the event of death before drawing a retirement benefit.

Who is entitled to an orphan's pension?

Upon the death of an insured person, their children younger than 18 or younger than 25 if they have not yet finished their education are entitled to an orphan's pension.

How much is the annual orphan's pension?

If an insured person dies before retirement pension payments start, the annual orphan's pension equals 20% of the disability pension. If an insured person dies after the start of retirement pension payments, the annual orphan's pension equals 20% of the retirement pension.

The personal values appear on page one of the current individual pension certificate. These amounts are listed under risk coverage.

Is it possible for me to take partial retirement?

Yes, partial retirement is possible. The degree of retirement is determined by the ratio of the reduction in working hours to the working hours immediately prior to partial retirement. The degree of retirement is at least 20% and at most 80%. It may be increased once within this range. A reduction is excluded.

Is it possible to postpone retirement beyond the normal retirement age of 65?

If the employment relationship with the employer contractually continues beyond the normal retirement age (65 years), the receipt of retirement benefits may be deferred until the definitive termination of the employment relationship, but no longer than until the first day of the month following the completion of the 70th year of age.

Who can I contact to request an individual calculation and individual advice?

You can contact the pension fund employees directly for the preparation of an individual early retirement calculation and for individual advice.

To do this, you can use the contact form or send us an email (pensionskasse@lonza.com).