At Work in Zurich

Unemployment Benefits in Zurich

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Unemployment is usually low in Switzerland. The level of unemployment in June 2011 was 2.8 percent.


As soon as a person is given notice and loses their job they must do several things to claim benefits.

    Claimants should provide the following documents:
  • Proof of identity
  • Residence permit
  • Proof of redundancy
  • Passport photograph
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) and copies of diplomas/qualifications

Claimants must be a Swiss national or hold a valid residence permit and be resident in Switzerland, unemployed, able to work and have contributed to the unemployment scheme for at least 12 months within the last 24 months. If you left your previous employment without valid reason, you may lose your entitlement to benefit for a certain period. The same applies to persons who do not actively seek work or refuse a job assigned to them by the employment office.

After registering, the employment office will issue dates for you to attend job counseling, training, and consulting sessions at a regional placement office (URC), usually once per month. It is vital that the claimant attend these sessions to receive benefits.

For complete information and forms, consult the Swiss Portal on unemployment.


Benefits are paid to those aged between 15 and 64. The amount and duration of unemployment benefit are determined by the amount of previous income and the length of employment. Generally, benefits are paid monthly in advance for periods of six months at a time. Entitlement begins after a waiting period of five days of verified unemployment. A maximum of 400 allowances can be paid over a two-year period. A person over 55 years is entitled to 520 allowances paid over a two-year period.

Beneficiaries are usually entitled to 70 percent of the reference salary. If the beneficiary has one or more children and the allowance falls below a predetermined rate, the amount due can go up to 80 percent.

Along with providing financial benefits, Job Centers provide resources for job-hunters like training courses, language courses, etc. Costs for such courses are normally covered by the Arbeitsamt. Appointments in Zurich are usually conducted in German so be prepared.


All employees in Switzerland must pay unemployment insurance. Half of the contribution (Arbeitslosenversicherung or assurance chômage) are paid by the employer and the other half by the employee. These deductions are usually automatically deducted from the gross salary.

Update 18/08/2011


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