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Special Edition April 21, 2020–Update of April 09, 2020 COVID-19: Short-Time Work

Please find below the most important information to short-time work. In addition, you will find in blue the changes as of 17 April 2020 concerning persons at high risk.

I. General Information

Please visit www.work.swiss for general information to short-time work. Short-time work shall enable the employer – with the consent of the employee and with the permission of the competent authority – to temporarily reduce resp. temporarily suspend the agreed working hours in order to avoid terminating the employment contract. Certain conditions must be met.

For example, the loss of work is

  • beyond the employer’s usual operating risks, i.e. for example due to COVID-19 measures,
  • only temporary,
  • controllable (i.e. timekeeping), and
  • at least 10% of the agreed working hours with regard to employees working in short-time work.

Employees

  • whose employment contract is terminated, or
  • whose consent to short-time work is not available, or
  • have reached the minimum age of compulsory retirement age (AHV)

are excluded from the short-time work compensation.

In partial modification of the usual scope for short-time work, the following employees are entitled to shorttime work compensation (as of April 20, 2020) during the adopted COVID-19 ordinance:

  • on-call workers if they have been working in the company for more than 06 months,
  • apprentices,
  • employees with fixed-term employment, temporary staff,
  • employer-like employees and their spouses resp. registered partners (only lump sum compensation of CHF3,320),
  • high risk employees in the sense of art. 10b COVID-19 Ordinance (with the consent of the employee, short-time work should be possible for persons at high risk).

The employer’s application for short-time work is divided into three steps. Please note that due to Federal Emergency ordinances (COVID-19) the following rules are subject to a time limit (Mid-September 2020).

1. Pre-notification

The employer completes the form ( Pre-notification form ) and chooses the unemployment insurance fund ( List of unemployment insurance funds ). Employer ensures that it has the consent to short-time work from each employee. The employer transmits the form to the competent Cantonal department (following „KAST“, i.e. kantonale Amtsstelle; List of competent Cantonal department ). At the moment, the waiting period is suspended.

2. Start of short-time work and permission by the competent authority

The employer defines which employees work in short-time and ensures that the timekeeping enables it to distinguish between the needed information in the application form (see below).

The KAST issues the permission for short-time work (valid for 06 months, renewal of notificationnecessary!) and informs the respective unemployment insurance fund about the permitted short-time work.

Note: in the case that the employer faces a liquidity shortfall the unemployment insurance fund may provide an advance payment.

3. Application for short-time work compensation and payment

The (new and simplified) application form for short-time work compensation ( application form ) must be submitted to the unemployment insurance fund within three months after each settlement period for short-time work (i.e. usually a calendar month). After this three-month period the claim forfeits. The (former) deductible is suspended.

II. Notable Information

We would like to emphasize the following points:

  • The employer still has to pay the full salary for hours worked in the normal, usual course of business. Hours worked in short-time work are paid on an 80% basis of the usual salary.
  • Social security contributionsIrrelevant of short-time work compensation,the employer must deduct the social security contributions calculated on the basis of 100% salary and deduct the employee’s proportion (also calculatedon a 100% salary basis!).
  • Short-time work and sickness? - This answer is unclear. It is assumed that a condition of short-time work is that the employee’s ability to work is present, i.e. in such cases the employer must pay the salary according to art. 324a CO and short-time work compensation is excluded.
  • Salary payment under the regime of short-time work compensationWe recommend that salary payments related to a short-time work period are paid with the note “subject to final settlement with the unemployment insurance fund”.
  • Termination after short-time workIt is unclear if a termination aftershort-time work entitles the employee to claim for compensation for the amount equal to the reduced salary during the work time period. Duringthe notice period the full salary is owed. We recommend to analyze the case before giving termination during short-time work.

III.Cascade for persons at high risk

The provisions for employers concerning persons at high riskwere adapted as of 17 April 2020 00:00. The following new cascade applies:

1. Carry out the work from home

2. Carry out equivalent alternative work from home (for the same pay)

3. Carry out the normal work duties in the normal workplace under certain conditions (including the STOP principle), if for operational reasons the presence of in the normal workplace is essential

4. Carry out equivalent alternative work in the normal workplace under certain conditions (including the STOP principle), if 1-3 is not possible (for the same pay)

5. Continuing to pay the salary without work being done, if 1-4 is not possible

IV. Further questions

Due to the developing situation and the different circumstances of each individual case, we recom-mend that you contact us with any legal questions.

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Article published on
21 April 2020

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