Unemployment insurance (ALV)

Entrepreneurs need to get national insurance for themselves and any employees. Presentation of obligations in terms of unemployment insurance.

The employer is required to declare any new worker for calculating unemployment insurance (ALV) contributions if the following conditions are met:

  • salaried activity;
  • liability of the worker to the Swiss social insurance scheme;
  • every worker before the statutory retirement age, 64 for women and 65 for men (retired workers: the obligation to declare and pay contributions applies for the tranche above CHF 1,400 per month or CHF 16,800 per year. Only OASI/DI/APG contributions are due on these amounts, i.e. no contribution is deducted for unemployment insurance and occupational pension);
  • Salary of more than CHF 2,300 per year, or calculation of contributions drawn up at the request of the salaried employee, or employment in a private household, with a dance or theater producer, orchestras, productions in the sound and audiovisual industry, radio and television and also schools in the artistic field.

Declaration by the employer with a view to collection of ALV contributions is filed at the same time, according to the same procedure, and with the same office as for OASI/DI/APG. The employer will declare its first employee, then all employees, to the same office, within 30 days of the start of their jobs.

Unemployment Insurance guarantees entitlement to the full salary in the event of unemployment and encourages reintegration of unemployed individuals into the labor market. It is mandatory for employees. The level of contributions to ALV is 2.2% of the annual salary up to a limit of CHF 148,200. In the case of a higher income, a solidarity contribution of 1% is deducted from the share of the salary above CHF 148,200. The costs relating to ALV are divided equally between employer and employee. Self-employed workers may not, conversely, insure themselves against unemployment.

Self-employed workers going into bankruptcy with their project only receive unemployment benefits if they have paid, as an employee, contributions to ALV for the two years prior to their unemployment for at least 12 months.

Co-owner employees of limited companies or limited liability companies have employee status and therefore enjoy a better position. But they still need to satisfy two prior conditions:

  • Their salary must actually have been paid.
  • The contributions must have been paid to the social insurance agencies.

Whilst operation is not liquidated, and the entrepreneur still has management responsibility (as a member of the board of directors, an indefinitely liable shareholder or a majority shareholder), entitlement to unemployment insurance is excluded.

Entrepreneurs are not entitled either to any benefit in the event of reduction in their working hours, inclement weather preventing work and insolvency of the employer, but must pay contributions for their staff (1%). In the event of the employer’s insolvency, the benefit covers the insured income of employees. Benefits in the event of a reduction in work hours and inclement weather preventing work cover 80% of the loss of earnings and are limited in time.

Source: Ratgeber Sozialversicherungen - Ein praktischer Leitfaden für KMU (only in German, 1.1.2019, FSIO)


Last modification 27.02.2020

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