Short-time working compensation

Unemployment insurance (UI) temporarily covers a proportion of the salary costs of employers whose employees are affected by short-time working. The aim is to prevent redundancies being announced as a result of unavoidable, short-term work stoppages.

In contrast to unemployment benefits, the benefits are paid to the employer. However, each employee has the right to not accept the short-term working compensation. The employer must continue to pay these employees their full salaries. However, there is then an increased risk of employees being made redundant.

Who is insured/entitled to claim?

An employer can make a claim for any employee who has completed compulsory education and not yet reached OASI retirement age.  An employer can make a claim for any employee who has completed compulsory education, has not yet reached OASI retirement age and who is employed on a permanent basis on an hourly or monthly wage for a fixed number of working hours.

Claims may not be made for employees who ...

  • are not in an ongoing employment relationship (i.e. terminated);
  • are in a temporary employment relationship;
  • work “on call” and who are employed on a temporary basis;
  • are completing an apprenticeship;
  • are employed on a temporary basis and with whom no termination option has been agreed;
  • are not affected by an ascertainable working stoppage or whose working hours are not sufficiently verifiable;
  • do not agree to short-time working;
  • have been hired from a third-party company or whose working stoppage is a result of a collective labour dispute.

In addition, no compensation claims can be made for work stoppages affected people employed in a function similar to that of an employer (e.g. CEO) or for spouses or registered partners working at the company of the employer.

Application for short-time working
The employer must submit an application for short-time working. He/She must submit an advance notification to the responsible cantonal employment office (at least 3 calendar days before the start of the intended compensation claim). The forms “Advance notification of short-time working” and “Consent for short-time working” must be submitted. The cantonal employment office in the canton where the business is located/has its registered office is responsible for this. The responsible fund is also selected when issuing the advance notification.

If the cantonal employment office authorises the short-time working, the employer must submit the additional applications to the selected fund. The fund checks the application requirements in detail and in the event of a positive decision, it then reimburses the short-time working compensation.

The short-time working compensation is paid to the employer after the waiting period. It amounts to 80% of the loss of earnings attributable to the reduction in working hours.

With short-time working compensation, the UI also reimburses the employer contributions for OASI/UI/LE/UI (see also the information service brochures and settlement forms). The employer share of OASI/UI/LE/UI is 6.225%.

Who can provide me with in-depth information about short-time working?
The cantonal employment office can answer all fundamental questions on forms, advance notification and company departments. The relevant unemployment insurance fund is responsible for specific questions on benefits and calculations.