Unemployment insurance helps unemployed persons to bridge unemployment. Unemployment benefits provide those who are insured with adequate financial compensation for loss of earnings due to unemployment. The benefits are paid out by the responsible unemployment insurance fund to the person concerned.
Further details on the information below can be found in the FAQ sheet on unemployment benefit.
Who is insured?
People who are in employment (employees) are usually obliged to make unemployment benefit contributions and are therefore insured against the financial consequences of unemployment. Employers deduct the contributions directly from the employee’s salary and pay them to the OASI compensation fund.
People who do not make contributions can nevertheless still be insured under certain circumstances (ʻpeople exempt from fulfilling the contribution periodʼ).
Under the OASI law, self-employed people are not obliged to make contributions and are therefore not entitled to unemployment benefit.
Any person who has been employed in Switzerland for at least twelve months during the two years preceding registration is entitled to unemployment benefit. To claim you must:
- be fully or partially unemployed (any person who has a part-time job and is looking for a full-time job or another part-time job is considered ‘partially employed’);
- be able to show a loss of at least two working days and a loss of salary;
- have your place of residence in Switzerland (cross-border commuters usually receive unemployment benefit in their country of residence);
- have completed compulsory education. In addition, you must not have reached the OASI retirement age or be drawing an OASI retirement pension;
- be able to prove at least 12 months of contributions within the two years prior to registration;
- be employable (i.e. be willing, able and entitled to accept a job);
- comply with the regulations of the regional employment centre (RAV).
Duration of insurance cover
As a rule, you are entitled to unemployment benefit for a maximum period of two years under the Unemployment Insurance Act (AVIG). The effective starting date for receiving unemployment benefit is the first day on which you meet all the eligibility requirements.
Whether you are entitled to the maximum daily allowance and for how long depends on various conditions.
Calculation of daily allowance
The ‘insured salary’ is used as the basis for payments. This is determined by the unemployment insurance fund and is based on a person’s income from the last six months, or from the last 12 months if this is more favourable.
Flat rates apply for people who are exempt from fulfilling the contribution period.
A daily allowance is calculated from the insured salary (actual or flat rate), which amounts to 80% of the insured salary if:
- the unemployed person has maintenance obligations for children under 25;
- if the insured salary is not more than CHF 3,797;
- the unemployed person is receiving an invalidity benefit for a level of disability of at least 40%.
The unemployment benefit is paid out by the responsible unemployment insurance fund to the person concerned.