In what situation can I claim?
The Swiss unemployment insurance may pay you benefits in case of unemployment, reduced working hours due to economic reasons, suspension of work due to bad weather and insolvency of your employer.
- Unemployment benefit: this is one of the most important benefits of the unemployment insurance. If you are unemployed (totally or partially), it enables you to receive an allowance to suitably compensate for your loss of income.
- Reduced working hours allowance: this aims to compensate your loss of income if your company experiences difficulties and needs to temporarily reduce its activity and, as a result, your working hours. For your employer, it is an alternative to redundancies, as it aims to keep employment contracts in place.
- Bad weather allowance: this is paid to workers in certain industries (such as the building sector) when weather conditions make it impossible to continue work.
- Allowance in case of insolvency: this covers part of your unpaid salary when your employer becomes insolvent.
What conditions do I need to meet?
Unemployment benefit: it is compulsory for employees in Switzerland to be insured against unemployment. To receive unemployment benefit, you must satisfy the following conditions:
- be unemployed or partially unemployed;
- have suffered a loss of work (including loss of salary) for at least 2 consecutive days;
- be resident in Switzerland;
- have completed compulsory education and not yet reached the age for entitlement to an old-age pension and not receive such a pension;
- have been in paid employment, on which contributions have been paid, for at least 12 months over the 2 years preceding unemployment (persons who could not have been working because they were in training, ill, suffered an accident, or were in prison, etc. are exempt from this condition);
- be available for recruitment, i.e. be willing and able to accept suitable employment;
- satisfy various control requirements (be registered as a job seeker, look for a job, etc.).
What am I entitled to and how can I claim?
As a general rule, the actual benefit starts after a waiting period of 5 days unemployment. Under special circumstances, this period can be shortened or extended. Anyhow, contact the appropriate authority as soon as possible.
Unemployment benefit is paid in the form of daily allowances five times a week, calculated in general on the basis of your last salary:
80% of average pay over the last 6 months, up to a maximum salary of CHF 12,350 (EUR 11,521) each month
In case there are no maintenance obligations towards children under 25 years of age, or if the unemployment benefit exceeds a certain amount (CHF 140, EUR 131) or in case of no partial invalidity:
70% of average pay over the last 6 months, up to a maximum salary of CHF 12,350 (EUR 11,521) each month
The number of unemployment benefits paid within a period of 2 years is limited as follows:
200 daily allowances
260 daily allowances
400 daily allowances
520 daily allowances
520 daily allowances
90 daily allowances
Entitlement to unemployment benefits may be suspended in various circumstances (between 1 and 60 days depending on the severity of the infringement) if, for example, you resign without a valid reason, do not make sufficient efforts to seek work or refuse a job assigned by the employment office or if you provide false or incomplete information.
Reduced working hours allowance
The allowance covers 80% of your last pay (up to a salary limit of CHF 12,350 each month, EUR 10,552) for lost working hours.
It is paid to you after a waiting period of at most 3 days per month for 12 months maximum over a 2-year period.
It is the responsibility of your employer to apply for the allowance in case of reduced working hours. On the usual pay day, you should be paid 80% of your earnings.
Bad weather allowance
The allowance covers 80% of your last pay (up to a salary limit of CHF 12,350 each month, EUR 10,552).
It is paid to you after a waiting period of at most 3 days per month, for the working hours lost for a maximum of 6 months over a 2-year period.
It is the responsibility of your employer to apply for the bad weather allowance. On the usual pay day, you should be paid 80% of your earnings.
Allowance in case of employer insolvency
The allowance in case of insolvency covers 100% of the pay that your employer owes you (up to a maximum salary of CHF 12,350 each month, EUR 10,552) for the last 4 months maximum and for work actually carried out.
You must apply for the allowance in case of insolvency as soon as possible (normally within 60 days) at the public unemployment fund for the canton concerned. At the end of this period, entitlement to this allowance ends.
You must also actively seek to recover your outstanding wages from your employer, or risk losing the allowance.
- 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.
- Unemployment fund: the unemployment funds are the point of contact for all financial aspects related to unemployment. They assess entitlement to allowances and are responsible for payments. Insured persons and employers are free to choose their fund in each canton.
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)
Tel. +41 584625656
Fax +41 584622749