HomeNewsDr. Tanja Kirn speaks at the EU Commission
News, Highlight, Slider

Dr. Tanja Kirn speaks at the EU Commission

Dr. Tanja Kirn, Ass-Prof., presented at the European Commission (DG EMPL) research seminar, the Social Situation Monitor (SSM), results on the social security of cohabiting couples in various European countries. In this context, she also analysed the degree of solidarity within the Swiss AHV system.

The issue of social security for cohabiting couples is becoming increasingly important as family structures change. The relative number of marriages has fallen by around 50% since 1969 and marriages have become more fragile. On the other hand, the number of cohabiting couples and children born in non-marital cohabiting couples increases.

Women are particularly affected by this change. They perform a large proportion of unpaid care work, which is often accompanied by a reduction or abandonment of employment. As a lower income from employment results in a lower pension income, women are exposed to a higher risk of poverty in old age. This risk increases for non-married women, as important social security equalisation regulations (such as splitting of retirement assets, and survivors' pensions) are linked to the couple's marital status. On the other hand, AHV pensions are not capped at 150% for cohabiting couples, which in turn leads to comparatively higher pension income. Overall, the solidarity within the AHV is significantly stronger for married couples than for cohabiting couples.

The results presented were obtained as part of the Erasmus+ project ecoMOD – capacity building in environmental and economic policy modelling and data analysis (Project: 2023-1-LI01-KA220-HED-000157594).