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Old 20.05.2016, 09:29
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13 salary payments - how common?

Every time there has been a "can I survive on CHF x thread" a certain member always quotes 13 salary payments instead of 12. I've been here 7 years and granted I don't know the intimate details of friends' finances, but I know people working in banking, IT, insurance, consulting, heavy industry etc and I've never heard of them getting their salary in 13 instalments.

Is it a regional thing (IE most people I know work in the greater Zurich region), a German vs French/Italian thing, Swiss vs international company, large company vs SME, prevalent in certain industries etc?

(Waits for Wolli to explain how the 13th salary payment saved him in the souks of North Africa in the winter of 72 and DB to explain how it came into being to cure the poor saving habits of the dwarves working in the sulphur mines underneath the Klausenpass)
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Old 20.05.2016, 09:34
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

State employees
KMUs
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Old 20.05.2016, 09:37
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

I used to work for a big financial company in Switzerland that had a 13nd month until 2010.
It is not uncommon but I assume that most companies that pay bonuses don't have a 13nd month.
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Old 20.05.2016, 09:38
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

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State employees
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and most industries that work with a GAV ( Gastronomie etc.) In my own experience, once you reach a certain level of employment it's superflous whether it's paid in 12 installments or 13. You negotiate your yearly salary and the rest is just a detail. It is useful for young people who don't think to save for taxes at the end of the year though.
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Old 20.05.2016, 09:38
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

It used to be very common in Zurich and Ticino (only places I've worked), but don't know how common it is anymore.

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Old 20.05.2016, 09:40
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

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Every time there has been a "can I survive on CHF x thread" a certain member always quotes 13 salary payments instead of 12. I've been here 7 years and granted I don't know the intimate details of friends' finances, but I know people working in banking, IT, insurance, consulting, heavy industry etc and I've never heard of them getting their salary in 13 instalments.

Is it a regional thing (IE most people I know work in the greater Zurich region), a German vs French/Italian thing, Swiss vs international company, large company vs SME, prevalent in certain industries etc?

(Waits for Wolli to explain how the 13th salary payment saved him in the souks of North Africa in the winter of 72 and DB to explain how it came into being to cure the poor saving habits of the dwarves working in the sulphur mines underneath the Klausenpass)
I get a 13th but I work for smaller Swiss company in Aargau.

I think the larger corporations, especially the international ones, have standardised on a 12 wage system for payroll simplicity.

I think basically if you work for a traditional Swiss firm then you're more likely to encounter a 13th wage. If you work for a large bank or in big pharma with international presence then you'll probably get the normal 12 wages per year.
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Old 20.05.2016, 09:41
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

Loan is, most of the time, annually calculated and it might be up to you how to divide your annual salary, to 12 or 13?

Of course there are companies telling that you have just 12 months salary or you have 13 months salary. But that 13th salary is not a gift it is actually part of your annual salary either divided to 13 or 12
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Old 20.05.2016, 09:51
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

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Loan is, most of the time, annually calculated and it might be up to you how to divide your annual salary, to 12 or 13?
Yes, but Loan is not Lohn.
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Old 20.05.2016, 09:58
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

It's fairly common for Swiss companies in my experience. I worked for a smaller Swiss company and now work for a larger UK-based firm. The Swiss company did the 13 salaries. Their reasoning was that the 13th salary should be the equivalent of one's income tax due the next January.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:03
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

Almost as bad as those wacky Austrians with their 14 payments

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Old 20.05.2016, 10:09
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

Simply put:
1. It's a traditional thing.
2. It's a kick in the balls if you are paying tax at source as you will pay a silly tax rate for the month where you get two payments.


Therefore: Swiss people often get a 13th salary, especially in traditional companies. Any decent MNC knows about the tax implication and rather splits the package on 12 even payments for expats.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:12
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

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Loan is, most of the time, annually calculated and it might be up to you how to divide your annual salary, to 12 or 13?

Of course there are companies telling that you have just 12 months salary or you have 13 months salary. But that 13th salary is not a gift it is actually part of your annual salary either divided to 13 or 12
The term "13th salary" is problematic as in some countries it's a bonus and here it's just the annual salary divided by 13 instead of 12. I had many problems with employees in other countries understanding why Swiss colleagues received a 13th salary and they didn't.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:13
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

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Every time there has been a "can I survive on CHF x thread" a certain member always quotes 13 salary payments instead of 12. I've been here 7 years and granted I don't know the intimate details of friends' finances, but I know people working in banking, IT, insurance, consulting, heavy industry etc and I've never heard of them getting their salary in 13 instalments.

Is it a regional thing (IE most people I know work in the greater Zurich region), a German vs French/Italian thing, Swiss vs international company, large company vs SME, prevalent in certain industries etc?

(Waits for Wolli to explain how the 13th salary payment saved him in the souks of North Africa in the winter of 72 and DB to explain how it came into being to cure the poor saving habits of the dwarves working in the sulphur mines underneath the Klausenpass)
I worked for a small company in ZH from 1994 & everybody got 13 salaries.
Not quite true as the 13th is x/12 with x being the no of months you have worked in the year. I was most disappointed as I started working in December.

The reason I was told for the 13th salary was to help people pay their tax liability for the year.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:17
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

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I worked for a small company in ZH from 1994 & everybody got 13 salaries.
Not quite true as the 13th is x/12 with x being the no of months you have worked in the year. I was most disappointed as I started working in December.

The reason I was told for the 13th salary was to help people pay their tax liability for the year.
The total salary received in a year is X and the months worked is N
There are N * X/13 monthly payments and a X/13 * N/12 bonus payment (or whatever you want to call it).

It is good old fashioned enforced saving.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:19
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

I get 13 months salary too, and I work for a pretty large international German company. We are the only location in Switzerland though, so maybe that has to do with it. But even the expats in my company receive 13 months salaries.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:23
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

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Simply put:
2. It's a kick in the balls if you are paying tax at source as you will pay a silly tax rate for the month where you get two payments.
This is bad form from the employer. They should only have 12 payments when there's quellensteur. This is what mine did before I stopped quellensteur.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:27
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

Alstom paid 13 salaries and GE kept the practice (too much hassle to change it after the acquisition maybe?).

And they do pay bonuses to management so I don't know how much correlation there is between bonuses and 13th salary.

If liquidity is covered, and it should be OK for most cases I think, it's a nice forced savings practice.

Also there are a lots of people working there that are paying tax at source


Greece had/has 14 salaries, 12 normal, 1 extra for Christmas that was paid early in December, 1/2 before Easter and 1/2 sometime in the summer. These were considered bonuses since salaries are generally negotiated on a monthly basis for most white-collar jobs and so when these got cut in many cases (public sector for savings and private because they had the opportunity to cut costs) the other 12 salaries were not re-adjusted.
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Last edited by Don Molina; 20.05.2016 at 10:44.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:38
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

Hubby works for a large international company and they get 13 months salary and an annual bonus. We're in Romandie.

In Belgium the salary was in 14 parts so he got double salary in June and December.

Last edited by Belgianmum; 20.05.2016 at 10:50.
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Old 20.05.2016, 10:49
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

Based in Geneva, I work for a small financial company and we get 14 salaries (double in both June and December). My other half works for the state and gets 13.

I thought it was crazy when I first arrived, but got used to it now.
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Old 20.05.2016, 12:55
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Re: 13 salary payments - how common?

I have done my calculations multiple times and seems we pay more tax (for our income level) with 13 months salaries than 12 month.

As below 120k, i.e. not filling in the tax return and taxed at source, November salary turns out to be in a very high tax bracket and according to my calculation it is 500fr of extra tax vs if was equally divided over 12 months.

I believe I did not make any calculation mistakes being really good with them
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