If your company's operations cease or are temporarily reduced for extraordinary reasons outside your company's control (e.g. unusual weather conditions, a downturn in the economy or a pandemic), you can apply to introduce short-time working.
The main aim of short-time working is to avoid employees having to be laid off.
Where and how?
First you need to contact the appropriate authority in the canton where your company is based (generally the cantonal economic affairs department).
They will give you a form to apply for short-time working, which you can then complete and return.
The canton considers the application, in particular looking at whether short-time working will actually prevent redundancies in your company.
You have to apply for short-time working at least ten days before it is introduced in your company.
Exceptionally, you may apply three days in advance if you can prove that there is an immediate need to reduce working hours is due to sudden and unforeseeable circumstances.
If you need to extend the short-time working period beyond the period authorised, you must reapply at least ten days before your existing authorisation expires.
Employees do not have to do anything.
Compensation and salary
Compensation for short-time working is 80 per cent of loss of earnings, i.e. 80 per cent of the percentage of work temporarily lost. The canton pays the compensation to the employer, who passes it on to the employees
For the percentage of work retained, the salary is paid by the employer
There is no short-time working compensation for people in training, temporary employees and those in fixed-term employment relationships. Persons in these categories receive their full salary. And a fixed-term employment contract cannot generally be terminated early.
Compensation and social security
Short-time working does not affect social insurance contributions such as OASI/II/loss-of-earnings compensation; both employers and employees must continue to pay these in full.
During short-time working, both the employer and the employee can terminate the employment contract.
Further information can be found in the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) brochure (in German, French and Italian) and on the work.swiss website.