Unemployment insurance

How to get money if you lose your job

Unemployment insurance

All employees in Switzerland who have not yet reached the legal retirement age must be covered by unemployment insurance. Half of the contribution is paid by the employee and the other half by the employer.

Your contributions to the unemployment insurance scheme ( Arbeitslosenversicherung - assurance chômage) are directly deducted from your gross salary by your employer. To be eligible for unemployment benefit you must meet the following conditions:

  • In the two years before becoming unemployed and registering with the employment office you must have held, for at least 12 months, a job requiring the payment of unemployment insurance contributions
  • You must remain at the disposal of the employment office and must at the same time actively seek work on your own behalf

If you have left their previous employment without an acceptable reason your entitlement to unemployment benefits may be suspended for a certain period of time.

Unemployment benefits

If you become involuntarily unemployed, you are entitled to 70 per cent of the average earnings paid into your unemployment insurance in the previous six months. If you have a child or your daily allowance falls below a predetermined minimum, you are entitled to 80 per cent of the average earnings in the last six months.

Unemployment benefit is allocated as a daily allowance covering five days per week. Entitlement begins after a waiting period of five days of proven unemployment. Unemployment benefits allows up to 400 daily allowances to be received in a two-year period. If you’re over 55 and have made unemployment insurance contributions for at least 18 months, you are permitted up to 520 daily allowances in the same period.

In many cases, your employment office might allow you to take training courses or be allowed to benefit from other programmes while continuing to receive daily allowances.

Application procedures

In order to claim unemployment benefits you should report to the employment office nearest your home on the first day of unemployment. After registration, you are normally required to attend consulting and control sessions twice a month at the regional placement office. Unemployment benefit is paid at a benefit payment office which you can choose when registering at your employment office.

Note that benefits are only paid while you’re living in Switzerland. If you leave Switzerland during your period of entitlement, monthly payments are automatically cancelled and you are not paid out a lump sum. If you residence permit expires while you’re still entitled to unemployment benefits, it will be renewed for the remainder of the period.

Further reading

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