What is the Unemployment Insurance UI?
The Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a compulsory Swiss social security insurance aiming at financing unemployment benefits. All employees liable to make contributions to the OASI must also pay contributions to the UI. The monthly contribution amounts to 1% monthly gross salary (up to a max. CHF 8,900 CHF gross salary) and is automatically deducted from the monthly gross salary.
If you are entitled to unemployment benefit, you weill get daily allowance of 400 days.
Can you get unemployment benefit as a foreigner?
The following conditions must be fulfilled to get unemployment beneift:
- You were employed in Switzerland for at least 12 months in the two years before registering with the unemployment insurance. Contribution periods in an EU/EFTA state will also be credited if you were in gainful employment after entering Switzerland.
- You live in Switzerland.
- You are eligible for working ("employable"). This means you need a working permit. The cantonal migration office will clarify if you are eligible and if you get unemployment benefit. There is no general rule, it will be decided case by case depending also on the needs of the canton.
You come back to Switzerland after a research stay abroad and you are unemployed - what to do?
Swiss nationals having lived and worked in an EU/EFTA country (>1year)
If you have worked for at least 12 month in an EU/EFTA country, you must fill in a form to document your employment at the municipal administration of your home community. This will entitle you to get daily allowance of 400 days.
Swiss nationals who have lived in a non-EU/EFTA country (>1year)
If you have worked for at least 12 month in a non-EU/EFTA country, you must fill in a form to document your employment at the municipal administration of your home community. This will entitle you to get daily allowance of 260 days.
Swiss nationals who have lived for less than 1 year abroad
You are treated like a Swiss resident living in Switzerland. You are only entitled to unemployment benefit if you have paid contributions to the UI for at least 12 month during the last 2 years.
What to do if you become redundant?
The procedure differs from canton to canton. As a rule, you first register with the community, then with the Regional Placement Centre (RAV) and finally with the unemployment insurance fund. Contact the municipal administration of your community of residence, they will help you to do the next steps. It is important to register as soon as possible, at the latest on the first day for which you are claiming unemployment benefit. The RAV will invite you to an initial discussion.
How many unemployment benefit will you get?
- You will get approximately 70% (single without children) or 80% (having children) of your salary you got the last 6 month.
- The benefit is calculated per day. A month counts 21.7 working days. Example: If you got the last 6 month a monthly salary of 6000 CHF, then you will get a daily allowance of 6000 CHF:21.7 = 276.5 CHF per day.
- If you have been working in Switzerland and therefore paying contributions to the UI during at least 12 months, you are entitled to daily allowance of 400 days.
In the following cases, you may not receive unemployment benefit for a certain period of time (days without benefit):
if you hand in your notice without having a new job lined up
if you lose your job through negligence on your part
if you do not look for a new job during the period of notice.
Period of notice
If your employer issues you with a notice of dismissal, determine whether it is legal. Employers need to adhere to periods of notice. Protection against unfair dismissal applies in the case of illness, accident, pregnancy, military service, civilian service and civil protection. If there is any doubt, immediately refer to the Regional Placement Centre (Regionales Arbeitsvermittlungszentrum RAV) or your trade union for counseling and advice.
If the period of notice is not fixed in your work contract, it is determined by the Swiss Code of Obligations as follows:
- Probationary period: 7 days
- 1st year of service: 1 month
- 2nd to 9th year of service: 2 month
- from the 10th year of service on: 3 month.
Your foreign spouse comes to Switzerland, and he/she has no job
Many foreign spouses of researchers working in Switzerland are initially unemployed. As a rule, they are only entitled to unemployment benefit if they have worked in Switzerland or the EU/EFTA for at least one year over the previous two years.
Newly arrived individuals can nonetheless contact the Regional Placement Centre (Regionales Arbeitsvermittlungszentrum RAV) as soon as they are in possession of a residence permit. They will be accepted onto the job placement scheme and may be able to attend a course paid for by the unemployment insurance fund. Job-seekers must, however, attend counselling appointments at the RAV and provide proof of their job search.
- Vacancies for scientists and academics on jobs.myScience.ch .
- The following links provides useful hints and information for unemployed people (only in german, french and italian): treffpunkt-arbeit, www.espace-emploi.ch, www.area-lavoro.ch.
- Binational.ch, the homepage of the Association of Counseling Agencies for Binational and Intercultural Couples and Families provides a lot of helpful information for binational couples who live in Switzerland or would like to live in Switzerland.
- The Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) provides general information about the Swiss social insurances and the UI.
Source: RAV, binational.ch, Swissnetwork
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