unemployment insurance

unemployment insurance

What is the Unemployment Insurance UI?

  • Unemployment insurance (UI) is a compulsory insurance scheme in Switzerland that covers all employees.
  • Unemployment insurance provides benefits in the event of unemployment, work absences due to weather conditions, short-time work and the insolvency of the employer. It also pays for reintegration measures.
  • In the event of a temporary loss of employment, employees are paid 70% (80% if they are obliged to support their children) of their insured earnings in the form of daily allowances.
  • The amount of unemployment benefit depends on the average OASI-liable salary earned in the last 6 or 12 months before unemployment.
  • An insured person receives daily unemployment benefits if he or she has paid unemployment insurance contributions for at least 12 months in the last 2 years before becoming unemployed.

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?

In principle, Swiss nationals who have lived abroad are entitled to unemployment insurance and social assistance. However, Swiss nationals living abroad in an EU/EFTA state must in principle first claim their entitlements in the last country of employment.

Swiss abroad who return to Switzerland from a non-EU/EFTA country can usually claim unemployment benefits in their new canton of residence. It is important that the person can be credited with either at least 12 months of employment in Switzerland or at least 12 months of employment abroad and at least 6 months of employment in Switzerland during the 2 years preceding the application.

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?

Unemployment benefit is paid to you in the form of daily allowances. Your insured earnings serve as the basis for the amount of the daily allowance and are determined on the basis of your earnings in the last 6 months.

Depending on your personal situation, the daily allowance is between 70% and 80% (if you have children) of your insured earnings.

The unemployment insurance fund pays you the daily allowance monthly and sends you a written statement. The amount of daily allowance you receive depends on your age and your contribution period.

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.

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