Many companies are currently struggling with declining orders, some even have to close down. Simplified access to short-time work compensation is intended to help. What does this look like? And what are the practical questions that arise during this process?
Short-time work compensation (SWC) is a key instrument for bridging loss of work due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Since SWC cannot be applied for retroactively, the employer is well advised to apply for it as soon as possible. At the same time, an accurate application is important, otherwise there is a risk that compensation will not be granted or advance payments will have to be repaid. Despite many crisis-related simplifications in the application process, the devil is in the detail.
The summary below take account of the legal situation up to 31 March 2020. Simplifications resolved in response to the COVID-19 crisis are indicated below as "NEW".
What is new – at a glance:
- The deadline for advance notification for SWC has been lifted
- SWC is now granted for 6 instead of 3 months
- The waiting period is no longer applicable – the employer does not have to contribute to the loss of work
- Temporary workers, employees with limited employment contracts, apprentices, persons in employer-like positions (members of management, business owners, etc.) are entitled to SWC
- The employer can now request advance payment of the SWC
- Current forms and documents specifically related to the COVID-19 crisis have been made available (advance notification for short-time work, form 716.300; consent for short-time working, form 716.315; application and settlement of short-time work compensation (extraordinary form, Excel file); online calculator for short-time work compensation).
- Interim employment is no longer counted against SWC (i.e. the additional income from interim employment has no effect on SWC).
- Employees on call (even if their workload fluctuates by more than 20%) are entitled to SWC if they have been employed by the same company for at least 6 months.
- The maximum period of 4 months for SWC in the case of more than 85% work reduction has been abolished.
SWC - answers to the most frequently asked questions in practice
What are the requirements for an application for SWC?
The loss of working hours must amount to at least 10% compared to the usual total working hours of the company or operating department concerned and must be due to the current COVID-19 crisis.
Can we apply for short-time working compensation for individual departments in our company?
Short-time compensation can also be applied only for individual operating departments. An operating department is typically an organizational unit within the company that is under independent management or provides services that could also be provided by independent companies and offered on the market.
For example, a construction site or branch office could be such a department. It is advisable to assess on an individual basis if your unit meets the definition.
Who is entitled to SWC?
Employees who pay contributions to unemployment insurance or who have completed compulsory schooling but have not yet reached retirement age (i.e. also employees who are paid by the hour).
NEW: Employees in fixed-term employment, apprentices, temporary workers, workers on call and employer-like employees, such as the shareholders of a limited liability company or sole proprietors, as well as their spouses who work for them, are also entitled to SWC. Persons in an employer-like position as well as spouses are entitled to a lump sum of CHF 3,320.00 for a full-time position.