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Who can claim a loss of earnings due to COVID-19?

  • Adrian Tüscher, Partner |

Government compensation when employees can’t work due to COVID-19

The Swiss Federal Council has released measures to mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus. Employees who are no longer able to work because (a) they need to stay at home and look after their children or (b) they are in self-quarantine are eligible for compensation. Where employers continued to pay the employee’s salaries, the employer is eligible for the compensation. Similar compensation is available for self-employed individuals who are unable to work due to closure of their business or ban of public events.

Compensation for parents

Parents who had to stop or reduce paid employment as their children’s childcare has been suspended are eligible for compensation, provided they were at the time:

  • Insured in the Swiss social security system (either living or working in Switzerland); and
  • Pursued an employed or self-employed activity

The suspension of childcare needs to be directly related to measures taken to fight the coronavirus. This is the case where schools, childcare facilities or kindergartens are closed or where a person in a high-risk category (e.g. persons above 65 years of age or with certain preexisting illnesses) can no longer provide care.

No compensation is provided where the work can be done remotely (e.g. home office) or during the school holidays unless the planned care is not taking place.

Compensation can be claimed from 19 March 2020 onwards until either a childcare solution has been found or the measures against the coronavirus have ceased. Compensation is 80% of average gross income, maximum of CHF 196 per day. Each parent is eligible for compensation individually, however, per one day of care only one compensation is paid out.

Where the person is eligible for compensation through other means (i.e. insurances), no compensation is paid. Employees who receive a short-time work compensation ("Kurzarbeitszeitentschädigung") are also not eligible for this compensation.

Compensation for individuals affected by quarantine measures

Individuals who are in quarantine and had to stop working are eligible for compensation, provided they were at the time:

  • Insured in the Swiss social security system (either living or working in Switzerland); and
  • Pursued an employed or self-employed activity

No compensation is provided where the work can be done remotely (e.g. home office).

Compensation can be claimed from 17 March 2020 for a maximum of 10 days. Compensation is 80% of average gross income, capped at CHF 196 per day.

Where the person is eligible for compensation through other means (i.e. insurances), no compensation is paid.

Daily cross-border commuters

Daily cross-border commuters who work in Switzerland are also eligible for compensation provided they meet the criteria outlined above. If they are unable to work due to other reasons (e.g. closing of borders), they are not eligible for compensation.

How to apply

Compensation needs to be applied for with the competent regional social security office ("AHV-Ausgleichskasse"). There is no automatic payment of compensation.