connect, grow & thrive.

Redundancy & Financial Support

The opportunity to work in Switzerland is attractive in many ways. But what happens if your contract expires or you lose your job? The good news is, you won’t have to pack up and leave the country immediately. You don’t want to tempt fate but it’s useful to know what you need to do to get unemployment benefits.

Main criteria for eligibility

  • In the two years before becoming unemployed, you must have held a job for at least 12 months (and contributed to the unemployment scheme)
  • You must be registered with the employment office, remain at its disposal and actively seek work
  • You must be able to work

Your nationality doesn’t affect your entitlement but you must hold a valid residence permit and be resident in Switzerland.


The duration of compensation depends on a person’s age, maintenance obligations and contributions made. Your allowance is usually equal to 70% of your last salary, 80% if you are supporting a child or your income was below a certain threshold.

How to apply

In Luzern you notify the employment office (Arbeitsamt) without delay. Upon registration you will be referred to a RAV centre for individual consultations. Apply in person and bring:

  • AHV-IV insurance certificate
  • Your permanent residence permit
  • Job application papers, previous employment contract and the notice letter

You are obligated to start looking for a new job immediately (i.e. the day you receive notification of your redundancy). If you don’t, your unemployment benefits could be temporarily discontinued. Keep all documentation (job offers, applications, rejection letters) related to your job search as your RAV consultant will want to see them.

If you lost your job, make sure the notice period agreed in your contract was respected. In the absence of such, the Swiss Code of Obligations regulates the notice period. You have the right to a reference from your employer. Self-employed persons are not insured against unemployment.

(LiL Winter Magazine article)

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.