Unemployment insurance (ALV) in Switzerland

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If you become unemployed, you are entitled to unemployment insurance benefits if you have worked in Switzerland for at least 12 months in the last 24 months.

Find out here what benefits you are entitled to and what steps you need to take to receive them.

Unemployment insurance in Switzerland

Unemployment insurance in Switzerland a compulsory social insurance scheme that provides financial assistance to workers when they are unemployed. It is financed by contributions from employees and employers.

The contribution rate is 2.2% of gross wages, with employees and employers each paying half.

Persons earning more than CHF 148,200 per year must also pay a solidarity contribution of 1% on the portion of their salary above this limit.

Requirements for receiving unemployment benefits

To receive unemployment benefits in Switzerland, you must meet certain requirements:

  • You must be unemployed or threatened with unemployment.
  • You must be a resident of Switzerland.
  • You must have completed the required contribution periods (at least 12 months within the last 24 months prior to registering for unemployment).
  • You must be actively looking for work and be willing to accept a reasonable job.

Registration with the unemployment insurance fund and the RAV

As soon as you know that you will become unemployed or are already unemployed, you should immediately register with the unemployment insurance fund and the regional employment center (RAV).

You should register with the unemployment insurance fund no later than the first day of unemployment in order to avoid loss of benefits. You must register with the RAV within 14 days of becoming unemployed.

Unemployment insurance benefits

Unemployment insurance pays unemployment benefits, which are calculated according to your insured earnings and marital status. The amount of unemployment benefit is usually 70% of your insured earnings.

For persons with dependent children or insured earnings of less than CHF 4,350 per month, the unemployment benefit is 80%.

The maximum duration of unemployment benefit depends on your age and your contribution period. In general, the maximum period of entitlement is 400 daily allowances (approximately 18 months) with a contribution period of at least 18 months.

For older insured persons or longer contribution periods, the maximum period of entitlement may be up to 520 daily allowances.

Obligations as an unemployed person

While you are receiving unemployment benefits, you have certain obligations to fulfill. These include actively looking for work, participating in labor market integration measures organized by RAV, and documenting your efforts.

You must see your RAV counselor regularly and keep to the agreed appointments. You are also obliged to accept reasonable job offers.

Reductions and sanctions

It is important to follow the guidelines and obligations of unemployment insurance, as violations may result in reductions or sanctions.

For example, your unemployment benefits may be reduced if you register late with the unemployment insurance fund or the RAV, do an insufficient job search, or refuse a reasonable job.

Insolvency compensation

If your employer becomes insolvent and cannot pay your wages, you are entitled to insolvency compensation under certain conditions. This is paid by the unemployment insurance and covers wage claims for a maximum of four months.

To apply for insolvency compensation, you must register with the relevant unemployment insurance fund and submit the necessary documents.

Short-time compensation

In difficult economic times (such as Covid phase in 2020 and 2021), your employer can apply for short-time work to avoid layoffs. In this case, the unemployment insurance pays short-time work compensation, which covers part of the lost wages. The amount of short-time compensation is usually 80% of the lost earnings.


Unemployment insurance in Switzerland offers financial support if you become unemployed or are threatened with unemployment. In order to claim ALV benefits, it is important to meet the requirements and register with the unemployment insurance fund and the RAV in good time.

Be sure to fulfill your obligations as an unemployed person to avoid reductions or sanctions. If you have any questions or uncertainties, it is advisable to seek professional advice or contact the relevant unemployment insurance fund and the RAV.

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