Do I need a full pension plan as a part-time artist?
#Freelancer #Part-time #Self-Employed

Well do you pursue your part-time art as a freelancer, in self-employment or as an employee? This question has a big influence and the provision you need.


The term ‘freelance’ does not exist in law. A distinction is only drawn between self-employment and employment as an employee. The legislation on social security (AHV/AVS, BVG/LPP, UVG/LAA/LINF) provides a very restrictive definition of who is considered self-employed.


You are only considered self-employed if you bear commercial risk, are economically independent from your client and receive no instructions as to the organisation of your work, i.e. how work when and how you want, and receive a fee for a service (activity or product) provided by the relevant deadline. All other forms of work contracts are not considered self-employment.

Employment as an employee

Under Art. 5 paragraph 2 of the Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance Act (AHVG / LAVS), you are (generally) considered employed as an employee if you work for an employer for a given or unlimited duration and are dependent on the employer economically and for the purpose of organisation of work. The lack of commercial risk is of central importance.


If you are self-employed part-time, this is considered supplementary self-employment (Selbständigkeit im Nebenerwerb / activité indépendante accessoire / attività indipendente accessoria). You must register with the AHV/AVS branch at your place of residence.

Note: low wages

  • If the salary does not exceed CHF 2,300 per year per employer, employers do not generally have to pay AHV contributions. However, the employee can request that AHV contributions be paid from the first franc of salary. The contributions must then be deducted.
  • In the case of low wages in the cultural sector, contributions must be paid from the first franc of salary, regardless of whether the total salary is less than CHF 2,300 or not.

Special provisions

In principle, AHV/AVS (state pension), IV (invalidity insurance), EO/APG/IPG (loss of earnings compensation) and ALV/AC/AD (unemployment insurance) contributions must be made on any wage payments. On when the following three conditions are met simultaneously are such payments not obligatory:

  • The wage comes from supplementary employment, i.e. main employment activity must take place in parallel.
  • The wage from this supplementary employment does not exceed CHF 2,300 per year and employer.
  • The employer and employee agree to not making AHV/AVS/IV/EO and ALV contributions (with a statement called Beitragsbefreiungs-Verzichtserklärung / déclaration de renonciation du paiement de cotisations).