Federal and cantonal responsibilities
The cantons are responsible for assessing and granting social welfare and emergency aid to persons in need of support. Under the law, the federal authorities must subsidise these payments, i.e. reimburse the cantons for these expenditures.
Under Article 115 of the Federal Constitution, people in need are supported by their canton of residence. This means that the federal authorities may not issue directives or supervise this area of financial assistance. If a person in need has applied to the cantonal authorities for social welfare or emergency aid and not received any assistance, or thinks the assistance they have received does not correspond to the legal provisions, they can appeal against the decision through the courts.
(These documents are not available in English)
(Most of these documents are not available in English)
Genfer Flüchtlingskonvention (Abkommen über die Rechtsstellung der Flüchtlinge)
(Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees; SR 0.142.30)
Übereinkommen über die Rechtsstellung der Staatenlosen
(Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; SR 0.142.40)
UN-Kinderrechtskonvention (Übereinkommen über die Rechte des Kindes)
(UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; SR 0.107)
Cantonal social welfare laws
Swiss Conference for Social Welfare Assistance (SKOS)
Weisung III / 7 SEM zur Sozial- und Nothilfe
(Directive III / 7 SEM on Social Welfare Support and Emergency Assistance)
Last modification 28.08.2017