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Old 01.07.2015, 14:06
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Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Could anyone tell me if they believe the Pensionskasse acted correctly in the following situation:

The employee requests for a Fr. 20'000.-- payment (minimum possible) out of their Pensionskasse to put towards the purchase (or renovation of property). The Pensionskasse agrees and confirms in writing. The purchase of the property goes ahead (signing and part payment via mortgage and savings go through) but the Pensionskasse never pays out. Instead a letter arrives from the Pensionskasse saying they will now not pay out as they have discovered from the employer that the employee is "off sick" from work.
The employee thus has to quickly pay the Fr 20'000.-- himself to the seller (and does so) to avoid the purchase falling through.

Moreover, the sick leave continues and the work contract is terminated (although not formally). The Pensionskasse writes to the employee again, now insisting a Frezügigkeitskonto be opened for them to deposit the money into. The employee opens one at a random bank and the Pensionskasse deposits the entire amount (including the Fr. 20'000.--) into this "blocked" account.

Did the Pensionskasse act correctly in not paying out the money to the employee, just because he was off sick and is it absolutely compulsory to open one of these accounts, what if the employee simply didn't reply to the Pensionskasse's letter?
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Old 01.07.2015, 14:15
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Can´t help you with the first part.

As for the second part (what I was told): as soon as the Pensionskasse is notified that you are no longer employed by that company, you will receive a notification to open a "Freizügigkeitspolice" (life insurance?) at the current insurer, a "Freizügigkeitsdepot" (investment funds?) at your current provider or a Freizügigkeitskonto (vested benefits account) at another bank.

If you do not reply to this, for example SwissLife would open a Freizügigkeitspolice for you.
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Old 01.07.2015, 14:19
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Thank you, yes the employee did open one in this case (although with a random bank as he only had a post office account), but the money is still "stuck" in there once it's in there, as then a withdrawal is difficult to obtain.

I understand that you can't even add to it using a paying-in slip as the money simply bounces back!

The only benefit of this account is that it is not subject to tax.
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Old 01.07.2015, 14:48
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Well yes, this is not money you can just withdraw and use. It is meant for your retirement and therefore blocked. Only in certain circumstances you can withdraw this.
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Old 01.07.2015, 14:52
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Just talk with your bank how you can withdraw money for a self used property.
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Old 01.07.2015, 14:56
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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Just talk with your bank how you can withdraw money for a self used property.

Thank you, in the meantime the purchase was self-financed, the renovations completed, again self-financed and the withdrawal was no longer necessary. What was odd was the way in which the Pensionskasse behaved. First saying they would pay out and then (post-sale!) going back on their word, just because the employee was off sick. Not everyone carries Fr. 20'000.-- around in their pocket to settle a sale!
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Old 04.07.2015, 12:49
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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Thank you, in the meantime the purchase was self-financed, the renovations completed, again self-financed and the withdrawal was no longer necessary. What was odd was the way in which the Pensionskasse behaved. First saying they would pay out and then (post-sale!) going back on their word, just because the employee was off sick. Not everyone carries Fr. 20'000.-- around in their pocket to settle a sale!
If employee is off sick for a long time, could become issue. Long illness can turn into disability allowance. Means that the money in there might be needed to pay this.... right?
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Old 06.07.2015, 19:36
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Were you or were you not affiliated to the pension fund at the planned date of payment? Always a bit difficult to answer questions like this without having a copy of the pension fund regulations.
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Old 07.07.2015, 00:00
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

The Pension Plan is there to insure against the financial consequences of old age and of disability. Therefore, if those running the Pension Plan heard that the employee was off sick, then I would think it would be minimum responsible behaviour for them to immediately stop any payments out of the plan.
Yes, knowing that the employee is ill, they should take all steps they can to ensure that the funds remain intact, just in case the employee remained ill, and would need to claim a Disability Pension from the Pension Plan, for him/herself, and perhaps also a spouse’s pension or children’s pensions related to the disability, or a widow(er)’s pension and orphans’ pensions, if the illness lead to death.
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Old 10.07.2015, 11:19
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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Were you or were you not affiliated to the pension fund at the planned date of payment? Always a bit difficult to answer questions like this without having a copy of the pension fund regulations.
It was not me personally. Thank you for your reply.

My ex-colleague was indeed affiliated to the pension plan at the planned date of payment as she was an employee of the company (the company owns its own pension fund). She was off sick via a doctor's note but had not received a termination of contract letter, though the work contract was terminated later.

Let's say approx./as example the pension fund pre-authorized the payment in mid-December 2011. The purchase date was 5th January 2012. The purchase took place i.e. the bank paid their part (mortgage 80%), she paid her part (10%) and the rest was meant to be transferred around the same time from the pension fund (remaining 10%). The transfer never took place and instead she received a letter from the pension fund maintaining that it was not possible to receive this money as they had found out she was unable to work/off sick at that time.

She paid the seller the remaining 10% immediately from her own savings, because the sale had gone through. But it strikes me as odd that this sort of thing can happen, as the sale may have had to be annulled had she not had enough money to pay the other 10%. Indeed had she have known, it is possible she would not have gone ahead with the purchase.
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Old 10.07.2015, 11:26
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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The Pension Plan is there to insure against the financial consequences of old age and of disability. Therefore, if those running the Pension Plan heard that the employee was off sick, then I would think it would be minimum responsible behaviour for them to immediately stop any payments out of the plan.
Yes, knowing that the employee is ill, they should take all steps they can to ensure that the funds remain intact, just in case the employee remained ill, and would need to claim a Disability Pension from the Pension Plan, for him/herself, and perhaps also a spouse’s pension or children’s pensions related to the disability, or a widow(er)’s pension and orphans’ pensions, if the illness lead to death.
Thank you for your input. I understand your point. However I am interested to know if there is an actual rule or law that enables the Pensionskasse to do such a thing, - after all, it can be a lot of money, possibly resulting in a house purchase being cancelled!
Moreover because the work contract was terminated, the Pensionskasse insisted that a Freizügigkeitskonto be opened and the money transferred to a bank. If they stopped the payment for the house purchase because they were worried that they may later become 'leistungspflichtig', why would they insist on getting rid of her and the money this way via the Freizügigkeitskonto?
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Old 10.07.2015, 11:35
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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Thank you for your input. I understand your point. However I am interested to know if there is an actual rule or law that enables the Pensionskasse to do such a thing, - after all, it can be a lot of money, possibly resulting in a house purchase being cancelled!
Moreover because the work contract was terminated, the Pensionskasse insisted that a Freizügigkeitskonto be opened and the money transferred to a bank. If they stopped the payment for the house purchase because they were worried that they may later become 'leistungspflichtig', why would they insist on getting rid of her and the money this way via the Freizügigkeitskonto?
The Freizügigkeitskonto (vested benefits fund) is just a pension fund without incoming payments, so they didn't change anything on that.

I think it depends very much on the detail - under EHO you are supposed to pay the money back; if they had reason to believe this wasn't possible then they would be right to disallow.

I think insurance for the disability pension is separately purchased so not really related to the saved funds.
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Old 10.07.2015, 12:36
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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The Freizügigkeitskonto (vested benefits fund) is just a pension fund without incoming payments, so they didn't change anything on that.
Correct, regarding the Freizügigkeitskonto, this was the normal procedure as the work contract had been terminated and the Pensionskasse was informed by the employer directly. My ex-colleague had no problem at that point opening this bank account and this is what she did. The entire amount (not just the Fr. 20'000.-- she was refused for the property purchase contribution) was placed into the account. There was no new employer.

1. Could she then, once the money was in this account, have made a request to the bank where the Freizügigkeitskonto was opened to withdraw the money for property refurbishment?
2. Is the money that the Pensionskasse places into the blocked Freizügigkeitskonto, Pillar 2?
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Old 10.07.2015, 12:44
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Yes to both points.
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Old 10.07.2015, 12:45
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Was she still ill when work contract had been terminated?

Freizügigkeitskonto is a parking place for Pillar 2 until you have a new employer and a new Pensionskasse.
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Old 10.07.2015, 14:10
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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Was she still ill when work contract had been terminated?

Freizügigkeitskonto is a parking place for Pillar 2 until you have a new employer and a new Pensionskasse.
Thank you for your reply.

Yes she was. She was off sick with a doctor's note for months before the termination of the contract and continued to be for months after also (uninterrupted illness period). The company terminated the contract during the illness period. After the termination date the company stopped paying and a completely separate Krankentaggeldversicherung took over paying the 'salary' for the following months.
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Old 10.07.2015, 14:19
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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Yes to both points.
Thank you for your reply.

So in this case, what puzzles me is why, if they were so worried that they may in the future become 'leistungspflichtig', would the Pensionskasse bother blocking the money for the purchase if my colleague would have been able to withdraw it by requesting a similar sort of thing from the bank where the Freizügigkeitskonto was opened?

Bearing in mind that there was direct contact at that stage between the employer and the Pensionskasse as the latter belongs to the former, it is our opinion that they did this just out of spite, to get back at her for being off work sick, since they were then informed by the employer that she was ill and off work.

At that time the Banking Ombudsman was contacted, but although they didn't see that the Pensionskasse had done anything wrong, they said it wasn't a case that was covered by their competency.
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Old 10.07.2015, 14:35
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Since the withdrawal was to happen after the turn of the year, it may well be that some factor changed. Did you (your friend) ask the Pensionskasse why they refused? What did they say?

Some new regulations have been applied not too long ago with respect to withdrawing 2nd pillar money for self-used home. For instance, at age 50 and above you can no longer take out all the money.

Also, there's a limit of 20k withdrawal (by law I think), perhaps the Pensionskasse has a higer one? Also, withdrawal may happen only once every five years.

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although they didn't see that the Pensionskasse had done anything wrong
So the Bankenombudsmann said the refusal was correct? What did they give as reason?
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Old 10.07.2015, 14:41
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

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Since the withdrawal was to happen after the turn of the year, it may well be that some factor changed. Did you (your friend) ask the Pensionskasse why they refused? What did they say?

Some new regulations have been applied not too long ago with respect to withdrawing 2nd pillar money for self-used home. For instance, at age 50 and above you can no longer take out all the money.

Also, there's a limit of 20k withdrawal (by law I think), perhaps the Pensionskasse has a higer one? Also, withdrawal may happen only once every five years.
Thank you for your reply.

She was nowhere near 50 years old. She had never made a withdrawal before.

The withdrawal amount would have been Fr. 20'000.-- exactly (the minimum amount allowed by law), the Pensionskasse in question does not have a higher minimum limit.

The Pensionskasse cited the following two reasons:

- employee is unfit to work (100% krank)

- employee's contract has been terminated - [strictly speaking untrue, she had not received any written notice at all that the contract was going to be terminated in the future and it had certainly not been terminated at that time].

Last edited by plumtree; 10.07.2015 at 14:43. Reason: adding a phrase
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Old 10.07.2015, 15:49
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Re: Pensionskasse changes their mind!

Go ask a lawyer for specialised information, sorry, get your friend to go ask a lawyer for specialised information
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