a super salary and 16 privileges

The new Federal Council.Angular stone

This Wednesday, Parliament elected the seven federal councilors for the next legislature. This role brings many advantages, such as a first-class AG subscription, wine cellar and private driver (but that’s not all).

13.12.2023, 07:5712/13/2023, 6:12 pm

Federal Councilors are elected for a term of four years or when a member resigns, as is the case with Alain Berset. To ensure that adapting to the new role is not too difficult, new federal counselors benefit from numerous privileges.

Here is the list of the most important privileges

Salary: 468,276 Swiss francs

The gross annual income of a federal counselor is equivalent to 468 276 francs. To this is added a fixed compensation of 30,000 francs. The President of the Confederation can also expect a reinforcement of 12,000 francs.

A vehicle of representation

Each federal councilor is entitled to a representative car with a driver. The federal vehicle fleet includes about twenty limousines, most of which are Mercedes S 350 4 Matics. Ignazio Cassis and former Chancellor Walter Thurnherr drive a hybrid BMW and Simonetta Sommaruga an electric Volkswagen.

Bundesrat Ignazio Cassis steigt aus dem Auto anlaesslich der Wahlkampferoeffnung der FDP Kanton Zuerich, aufgenommen am Montag, 19 August 2019 in Zurich.  (KEYSTONE/Ennio Leanza)

Ignazio Cassis gets out of his car during the opening of the PLR ​​election campaign in the canton of Zurich, in August 2019. Image: KEY

Mercedes S 350 4Matic

The Mercedes S 350 4 Matic.Image: Shutterstock

BMW hybrid

The hybrid BMW.Image: Shutterstock

Electric Volkswagen

The electric Volkswagen.Image: Shutterstock

Representative cars can also be used for private trips (or even holidays abroad). Federal councilors must, however, bear the cost of food and accommodation for the driver themselves.

A car function

In addition to the limousine, each federal councilor is entitled to a personal service vehicle. The brand and model can be chosen freely, but must not exceed the value of 100,000 francs. If a federal councilor resigns, he can buy the car back from the Confederation at the Eurotax rate.

A roof above the head

The Confederation is less generous when it comes to housing. The magistrate must pay for his or her own accommodation, but anyone who does not already live in Bern or the surrounding area still benefits from assistance in finding accommodation.

A general subscription to 1st class

Emotions run high every time foreign media see a federal councilor on public transport. Magistrates receive a first-class general subscription. They can extend it for free, even after his dismissal. They also receive an AG for Swiss cable cars.

Bundesraete President Fritz Honegger wrote in July 1982 as leader of the Lokomotiv of the Bundesraete auf der Bundesratsreise durch das Gelaende des Verkehrshauses der Schweiz in Lucerne.  Hinter ihm sitzen, von rec...

In July 1982, Confederation President Fritz Honegger drove the federal councilors’ locomotive during the Federal Council’s trip to the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne.Image: KEY

And then the Federal Council?

Former federal councilors continue to receive pensions, even after leaving office. For a former federal councilor, this is equivalent to half the salary of a member of the current government. However, it happens that they give up their pension or this decision is annulled.

A status VIP

If the car or train are not fast enough, councilors can use the plane. For domestic flights, the federal air transport service also offers the Conselho Federal jet (type Dassault Falcon).

On regular flights, federal councilors can travel in first class. In Swiss, magistrates enjoy VIP status.

The telephone and television

Federal counselors’ mobile phone and subscription fees are reimbursed. The fixed network is also free – even in second homes and holiday homes. On the other hand, members of the government themselves must pay the radio and television license fee.

No military service

Bundesrat Paul Chaudet (1904-1977), links, Vorsteher des Militaerdepartements faehrt in einem Panzer der Schweizer Armee, aufgenommen am 13. October 1959. (KEYSTONE/Str)

The head of a councilor stands out from the grenadier tank: Paul Chaudet, head of the Military Department (current Department of Defense), in 1959.image: KEY

Federal counselors are exempt from mandatory military service during their term of office. In practice this rarely plays a role, most current and former federal councilors are past the mandatory age to serve.

The spouse driving

The service vehicle can be used by the husband of a federal councilor or by the wife of a federal councilor.

A diplomatic passport for all the family

To facilitate travel, not only for federal counselors, but also for their spouses and children (up to 18 years old), they receive a diplomatic passport. Members of the government can keep this passport even after their departure.

Alumni reunion

Once a semester, a meeting takes place between current federal councilors, the chancellor of the Confederation and former members of the Federal Council and chancellors of the Confederation.

A free map throughout Vereina Tunnel

Is the road to the Upper Engadine impassable due to snow? This is no problem for councilors: with the free RhB card, councilors pass through the Vereina tunnel free of charge.

A to present at the municipal theater of Bern

A little culture doesn’t hurt. That’s why a six-seat box is reserved for sitting government members and the chancellor at the Stadttheater in Bern. Seniors are also entitled to two places.

The domain of Lohn and the house from Watteville

The Lohn estate in Kehrsatz in the canton of Bern.

The Lohn estate in Kehrsatz in the canton of Bern.image: wikimedia

The Lohn Estate in Kehrsatz can be used for receptions and conferences. Fidel Castro, Winston Churchill and the Swiss ice hockey team have already stayed there. The urban counterpart to the Lohn estate is the Watteville house in Bern.

Bundespraesident Ignazio Cassis, Mitte, begruesst Bundeskanzler Walter Thurnherr, Bundesraetin Simonetta Sommaruga, Bundesrat Ueli Maurer, Bundesraetin Karin Keller-Sutter, Bundesratssprecher Andre Si ...

The presidents of the parties before the traditional Watteville talk in the house of the same name.image: cornerstone

A cave for wine

The Lohn estate and the Watteville house house the cellars of the Federal Council. Contains a selection of bottled wines that, according to the official checklist:

“They are mainly intended for official invitations and can also be used on a case-by-case basis for other official events”

The death happens with great fanfare

A small consolation, but still: if a member of the government dies in office, he is entitled to a death announcement and a flag on the federal building. Furthermore, the Federal Council melee, the chancellor, vice-chancellors and two ushers are expected to participate in the funeral ceremony. The President of the Confederation, another member of the government and the Chancellor are also expected to pay a condolence visit. The bereaved family receives a letter.

(leo/wst)

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