Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Switzerland - Programmes covered by the unemployment insurance regarding the labour market integration

In what situation can I claim?

The purpose of the active labour market programmes is to combat actual unemployment or prevent imminent unemployment.

These concrete reintegration measures take various forms:

  • educational programmes: individual or collective retraining, improvement or integration courses, training courses, participation in training companies;
  • employment programmes: motivation semesters, temporary employment programmes, occupational training;
  • specific measures: training allowances, induction allowances, support to start a self-employed activity, contributions to travel and accommodation costs.

What conditions do I need to meet?

If you satisfy the general conditions for the payment of unemployment benefits (see the chapter on Benefits provided by the unemployment insurance), you are entitled to various programmes. Furthermore, you need to meet the specific conditions of each programme.

Workers at risk of imminent unemployment may also undertake educational programmes (e.g. if you have already been given notice).

It is for the appropriate cantonal authority, usually the regional placement office (ORP), to decide if a programme is suitable in your particular case. The intended goal is always to improve your employability.

Save for some exceptions, you must continue to look for work and be able to leave the programme at any time for a suitable job.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Educational programmes

Individual or collective courses

The purpose of this programme is to overcome any gaps in training. The courses may be individual (courses offered to everybody on the open market for training) or collective (retraining or improvement programmes organised specifically for the unemployed).

The cost of the courses is covered by the unemployment insurance. If necessary, this may also contribute to equipment costs, and travel, living and accommodation expenses.

There is no comprehensive list of the courses covered. The course must be consistent with the labour market or improve your placement ability.

If you wish to take a course on your own initiative, you need the approval of the appropriate authority at least 10 days before the course starts.

Training course

The purpose of this programme is to complete any training-related gaps through a work placement.

Daily allowances are paid to you for the entire duration spent within the company (a maximum of 3 months).

You must submit your application to the appropriate authority at least 10 days before the start of the training course. An internship agreement will be signed by this authority, the company and yourself.

Participation in training companies

The purpose of this measure is to familiarise yourself with everyday professional life.

Training companies give you the opportunity to carry out activities that reflect the reality of the labour market. The majority of these organisations are active in the commercial sector and manage fictitious goods and services. Like genuine commercial enterprises, they have several departments (purchasing, sales, marketing, administration, accounting, etc.).

Daily allowances are paid to you during your placement in such a commercial enterprise, usually for 6 months.

Employment programmes

Motivation semesters

The purpose of this programme is to help you choose an educational path. It is intended to assist young people aged between 15 and 24 years who do not have any training.

For 6 months, you benefit from individual or collective support programmes (placements, courses, one-on-one interviews, coaching, etc.).

You receive an average contribution of at least CHF 450 (EUR 384) per month.

Temporary employment programmes

Temporary employment programmes allow you to carry out an activity in companies from various sectors (nature and environment, social, public administrations, etc.), usually for 6 months. The purpose of this measure is to maintain a regular routine throughout the day.

Daily allowances are paid to you for the duration of the programme. You may also attend a course (in general 1 day each week).

The amount of the allowances depends in principle on the income insured. However, if you participate in a temporary employment programme of which the training part does not exceed 40%, the minimum daily allowance is CHF 102 (EUR 87).

Occupational training

This measure is in principle intended for unemployed persons who have undertaken training but not found any work. The aim is to help them enter the workforce and acquire professional experience.

Occupational training may be carried out in a public administration or private business.

During your training you will receive a daily allowance, the amount of which depends primarily on the income insured.

However, where the training part does not exceed 40%, the daily allowance is at least CHF 102 (EUR 87).

Specific measures

Training allowance

This aims to enable unemployed persons of at least 30 years of age to acquire the basic training that they lack or to adapt their basic training to the needs of the labour market.

A monthly training allowance is paid to you until the training ends, in addition to the trainee wage paid by your employer.

This allowance corresponds to the difference between the gross fixed salary in your contract and that which you can normally expect at the end of your training, subject to a maximum salary of CHF 3,500 (EUR 2,986) per month.

You must sign a training contract with an employer, submit an application and obtain approval from the ORP.

Induction allowance

This measure aims to encourage employers to hire workers who are still not able to perform a job in full and who need a special induction.

In particular it targets the unemployed whose placement is considered difficult, e.g. people of a certain age, those with a disability, those whose knowledge is no longer suitable or the long-term unemployed.

The induction allowance amounts at the beginning of work to 60% of a monthly salary which corresponds to the professional and local practice. The remaining 40% is borne by the employer.

It is generally paid for a period of between 1 and 6 months and is degressive.

You need to apply to the appropriate authority, in collaboration with an interested company.

Support to start a self-employed activity

This measure aims to support unemployed persons of at least 20 years of age who wish to start a self-employed activity.

Daily allowances are paid to you during the development phase of your self-employed activity, for a maximum of 90 days. During this period, you are not required to look for a job.

Furthermore, an insurance to cover the risk of losses or the undertaking of a micro-credit analysis may be provided in addition to or in place of the daily allowances.

The appropriate authority decides on whether to provide this assistance, after presentation of the project which needs to demonstrate that it is economically viable and sustainable.

Contributions to travel and accommodation costs

This aims to promote the geographical mobility of people who have not found work in the region where they are resident and have agreed to change region in order to no longer be unemployed.

  • A contribution to daily travel costs is paid to you for a maximum of 6 months. It covers the cost of commuting between your home and your place of work, within Switzerland (as a general rule, second class public transport and exceptionally, private vehicle).
  • A contribution to weekly travel and accommodation costs covers not only your travel costs, but also your additional expenses when commuting home on a day-to-day basis is not possible: accommodation costs, additional meal costs and costs for travelling back and forth to your home.

Jargon busters

  • Regional placement office: the regional placement offices (ORP) are centres that provide services specialising in the labour market, job placement and unemployment. There are around 130 in Switzerland.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The following links provide additional information about your rights. They are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact?

Regional placement offices, unemployment funds and employment offices

For any information, please contact the appropriate cantonal authorities directly (see contact details for the regional placement offices, unemployment funds and employment offices of each canton).

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

Holzikofenweg 36

CH-3003 Berne

Tel. +41 584625656

Fax +41 584622749

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

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