The remuneration of directors is basically considered as salary subject to social security contributions, notwithstanding the absence of an employment contract as such. Therefore, the company must pay social security contributions on all the remuneration received by the director, regardless of whether it is not in the form of a real salary but consists of tantièmes, fees or attendance fees.
Moreover, even in the absence of any shareholder-director remuneration, which is often the case for start-ups during the initial development phase, the company is obliged to affiliate with a cantonal compensation fund. In the case of remuneration, it is also necessary to register with the social security system or, depending on the amount of salary, with the occupational pension scheme.
However, the absence of a salary does not necessarily exempt you from social security contributions. On the one hand, Swiss residents are obliged to pay AHV even if they are not gainfully employed, the amounts being calculated on the basis of their social status. In addition, the authorities often see an abuse in the fact that a director-shareholder does not pay himself a salary and thus avoids social security contributions, thus only receiving a dividend which is not itself subject to contributions. However, after the development phase of a new company, the competent authorities may demand social security contributions even if there is no salary, although such cases are rare in practice.