In the event of a temporary, unavoidable and economically-caused reduction or cessation of work in an enterprise, an entitlement exists to compensation for short-time working.

When is there an entitlement to compensation for short-time working?

The lack of work can trigger an entitlement to compensation if this has been caused by economic reasons and is unavoidable. The working hour shortfall during the period of a calendar month must, in overall terms, correspond to two full working days. In this conjunction, the settlement period corresponds to one calendar month.

The work shortfall may not be cited as a reason if:

  •  it is caused by internal operational measures or circumstances that are part of normal business risks
  • it is normal for the profession or enterprise, or is caused by seasonal fluctuations
  • it falls on public holidays, is caused by company holidays or is claimed for individual days immediately before or after public holidays or company holidays
  • it falls during the period from 24 December to 6 January
  • the employee does not agree to be placed on short-term working
  • the person in question is on a fixed-term employment contract, in an apprenticeship relationship or in the service of a temporary employment organisation
  • the work shortfall is caused by a collective labour dispute at the enterprise

Who is entitled to compensation for short-time working?

All employees who are obliged to make unemployment insurance contributions and those who have not yet reached the minimum age for obligatory OASI contributions and whose working hours have been shortened or have ceased entirely are entitled to claim compensation for short-time working.

The following are not entitled to claim this compensation:

  • insured employees whose work shortfall cannot be determined or controlled
  • the co-working spouse of the employer
  • partners, those with a financial interest in the enterprise, members of the supreme decision-making body of the enterprise who are able to direct or significantly influence the decisions of the employer, as well as their co-working spouses
  • Employees whose employment relationship has been terminated

Benefits

Unemployment insurance covers 60 percent, while the employer covers 20 percent of the attributable loss of earnings. The relevant criterion is the contractually agreed salary during the last payment period prior to the start of the short-time working (up to the maximum limit of CHF 10,500.00 per month – that is to say CHF 477.00 per day). Short-time work compensation is paid out to the employer.

Application for short-time working

To apply for short-time working brought about by economic reasons, a request must be submitted in advance (German only) to the Office of Economic Affairs, Unemployment Insurance Department. This advance request (German only) must be submitted at least seven working days before the start of the short-time working. The registration must be renewed if the short-time working lasts longer than three months. Short-time working may be implemented for up to 18 months within a two-year period.

The completed and signed advance request for short-time working brought about by operating conditions must be submitted together with the following supporting documents:

  • Signatures of all affected employees using the form “Employee Consent” (“Zustimmung für Mitarbeiter” German only)
  • Current commercial register extract (not older than 12 months)
  • Table of holiday and overtime balances (additional hours worked)
  • Salary statements for all affected employees for the last three months before the start of the short-time working

Documents that need to be submitted in order to extend the short-time working:

  • Completed and signed extension request (German only)
  • Signatures of all affected employees using the form “Employee Consent” (“Zustimmung für Mitarbeiter” German only) for the period of the extension
  • Table of holiday and overtime balances (additional hours worked)

Rights and obligations

The employer is obliged to fully pay the short-time working compensation in advance, and must pay this to employees on the ordinary payment date. The employer must moreover pay the full statutory and contractual social insurance contributions in accordance with the normal working hours, although the employer is entitled to deduct the full employer contributions from their salaries. The employer must assert the entitlement using the settlement form of the Office of Economic Affairs at the latest three months after the completion of each settlement period. Compensation that the employer does not pay punctually shall not be reimbursed to him.

The detailed mandatory requirements for a short-time working claim and corresponding form can be found here (German only).

Digression: Bad weather compensation

As in the case of short-time working, compensation for bad weather aims to ensure that employment relationships do not have to be terminated. Bad weather compensation is paid for lost working hours caused by bad weather. It is paid directly to the respective employer, and can be applied for only under certain conditions. This consequently means it can be applied for only during the period between 1 and 23 December and 7 January and 15 March. Only the following groups of professions are eligible for such payments:

  • Bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, roofers;
  • Quarry and gravel workers;
  • Road builders, paving stone layers;
  • Stonemasons;
  • Tilers;
  • Landscape gardeners;
  • Plumbers;
  • Drain cleaners;
  • Workers stabilising river banks and avalanche-threatened areas;
  • Workers specialising in landslides;
  • Forestry workers, provided they do not work in an ancillary branch of an agricultural enterprise.

Further information on the topic of bad weather compensation you will find here (German only).

Statutory basis (German only)