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Short-time work

Short-time work is given in the case of a temporary reduction or cessation of work in a business. This page tells you what you need to know as an employee.

To protect jobs, companies can temporarily reduce or eliminate employees‘ working hours.

Registering short-time work

Employers must notify the canton in writing of their intention to apply short-time work at least 10 days prior to implementation. Employees do not need to take any specific steps. The canton checks to make sure the short-time work is lawful and determines whether it is really conducive to protecting jobs.

The employer must obtain written consent from the employees for short-time work. They have the right to reject short-time work, in which case the employer must continue to pay full wages, as specified in the employment contract.

Compensation for short-time work

  • If there is a lack of work, employees receive compensation for short-time work. This amounts to 80% of lost earnings.
  • Short-time work does not apply to apprentices, temporary staff and employees on fixed-term contracts. They receive full wages, and as their employment contract has a fixed term, their employment may not, as a rule, be terminated prematurely.

Calculating wages in case of short-time work


Engineer, 1 child eligible for benefits
Insured income: CHF 7,810
(Broadly speaking, insured wages are the wages from which AHV contributions were deducted. The 13th months’ pay is included, while work-related expenses are not.)

Situation Wage calculation
Wage Explanations
A. Short-term work 50%

50% of the wage from the employer


80% of 50% (compensation for short-time work)


plus child and education allowances, as without short-time work.

    Total 7,029.-  


In comparison with unemployment

B. Unemployment

80% von 7,810.-                            Total 6,248.-     

plus child and education allowances per day according to cantonal rules, provided no one else is entitled to these allowances.

Short-time work has no impact on the period of entitlement to unemployment benefits. Following a period of short-time work, unemployment benefits will be based on normal wages.

AHV, IV, EO and ALV contributions

Short-time work has no impact on social insurance contributions. Employers and employees must continue to pay full contributions.

Temporary employment

Employees who lose full or half days of work are required to accept any temporary work assigned by the Cantonal Office for Unemployment Insurance (KAST).

If you have any questions regarding calculations and benefits, contact the unemployment office responsible for short-time work in your company (your employer will provide you with this information).

Termination of employment possible

Both employers and employees may terminate the employment contract during a short-time work period, subject to the applicable notice periods. Employers must pay employees full wages for the duration of the notice period, regardless whether full employment is available or not.

Addresses of unemployment offices