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Old 18.10.2012, 11:07
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Travelling While on Chomage- Possible?

Hi all

I would appreciate your help with some information. I am a non-EU citizen with a B permit. I was made redundant about a year ago. For a number of reasons including ignorance of my entitlements, I did not register for unemployment benefits/chomage.

For this reason, my savings were depleted and I entered a precarious financial situation until I was advised of my entitlements, and have now just registered with the chomage with no problems.

My main problem is emotional and financial. My family (wife and kids) are in my home country, and due to my financial situation I have not been able to see them for almost a year. Ironically, now that I have started receiving unemployment benefits and can afford a ticket, I am not allowed to travel outside Switzerland without losing those benefits. This means I must wait for another 90 days before being officially eligible to travel to see my family (and then only for 5 days).

My problem is that I need to go for a 2-week visit back home immediately, as I cannot bear not seeing my family for much longer. They also miss me terribly. However, I also cannot financially afford to lose my chomage payments for 2 weeks.

Somebody suggested that I simply take a 2-week trip back home in-between chomage meetings, and do not report this as a holiday on my monthly form (of course I will still be job-hunting while away). That way, I can see my family and not lose my payments. I realize there are a number of issues with this, and so I would like some advice before making a decision:

1) If I travel out of Europe without informing my employment officer or the benefit office, will they find out? Is there anyway they will know I left the country if I do not tell them? For example, can they learn this from the immigration/airport authorities?

2) If they do find out I left for 2 weeks without declaring it, what are the risks/penalties I am exposed to?

3) If I want to go and see my family immediately but still comply strictly with the regulations, then what are my options procedure-wise?

Thanks for your advice. I would appreciate if we leave the moral/ethical issues aside and just advise practically on my questions above. This has been a very stressful and emotionally painful time for me (losing my job, going broke, unable to find a new job for months, and being separated for my family) and I just want to know what to do without being preached at. Thank you.
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Old 18.10.2012, 11:15
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Re: Travelling While on Chomage- Possible?

Hi OP, just throwing it out there - would it be a feasible possibility to have your wife and kid come to you for 1-2 weeks instead?

Good luck and best wishes.
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Old 18.10.2012, 11:31
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Re: Travelling While on Chomage- Possible?

Hi BokerToV

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately that isn't possible. First, because of cost: if my family comes, that will mean buying tickets for 3 people. If I go, it's a ticket for 1 person. Secondly, my wife has a job and the kids are in school so it wouldn't be convenient. Thirdly, since they never joined me in Switzerland, they don't have visas, and processing that would take time. I however, of course don't need a visa to visit my home country.
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Old 18.10.2012, 11:33
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Re: Travelling While on Chomage- Possible?

You can take unpaid holiday if up to 3 months, however you may be fined as your not that seriously looking for a job!
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Old 18.10.2012, 11:45
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Re: Travelling While on Chomage- Possible?

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1) If I travel out of Europe without informing my employment officer or the benefit office, will they find out? Is there anyway they will know I left the country if I do not tell them? For example, can they learn this from the immigration/airport authorities?

2) If they do find out I left for 2 weeks without declaring it, what are the risks/penalties I am exposed to?

3) If I want to go and see my family immediately but still comply strictly with the regulations, then what are my options procedure-wise?
Very sory to hear your story. Just give you some info from my experience:
1) Usually, your officer doesn't care much about your private life, except you breach the rules (do not show up in the meeting, do not look for jobs, etc,.) and I don't think they will be informed your absence. There is just a small risk that in case they assign a work to you but cannot contact you due to your absence, then you will get a penalty.
But why don't you take a vacation and tell your officer you go away? While being in unemployed with them, you also have some vacation (dont know how long but the same like you work for a company).

2) You'll have a penalty, but I do not think they will remove your entitlements.

3) Ask for the vacation and leave quitely. You can always negociate with your officer, if they are also humane.
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Old 18.10.2012, 12:08
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Re: Travelling While on Chomage- Possible?

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Very sory to hear your story. Just give you some info from my experience:
1) Usually, your officer doesn't care much about your private life, except you breach the rules (do not show up in the meeting, do not look for jobs, etc,.) and I don't think they will be informed your absence. There is just a small risk that in case they assign a work to you but cannot contact you due to your absence, then you will get a penalty.
But why don't you take a vacation and tell your officer you go away? While being in unemployed with them, you also have some vacation (dont know how long but the same like you work for a company).

2) You'll have a penalty, but I do not think they will remove your entitlements.

3) Ask for the vacation and leave quitely. You can always negociate with your officer, if they are also humane.


Thanks for your reply. That was helpful. Yes, I do know I am allowed a vacation. Unfortunately you are only allowed 5 days' vacation every 90 days. I have not been in the chomage for up to 90 days, so I don't qualify for that, and even if I did, 5 days would be too short considering how long I have gone without seeing my family.
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Old 18.10.2012, 12:11
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Re: Travelling While on Chomage- Possible?

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Thanks for your reply. That was helpful. Yes, I do know I am allowed a vacation. Unfortunately you are only allowed 5 days' vacation every 90 days. I have not been in the chomage for up to 90 days, so I don't qualify for that, and even if I did, 5 days would be too short considering how long I have gone without seeing my family.
If you do any part time work, you won't get that allowance based on calendar days but based on unemployed days!
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Old 02.11.2013, 00:09
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Travelling while unemployed

Hello,

I was made redundant recently and I am now registred as unemployed. Before I lost my job I had already booked a few short trips (long weekends within Europe). I understand that while unemployed I can only take 5 days of holiday every 3 months, so that wouldn't work out. But I am wondering whether I should go anyway so as to not forfeit the tickets. Of course I will be looking for jobs, checking emails, answering the phone, etc. while on the road, plus I think it might be a good thing to get off the couch for a while now and then.

But what are the risks involved?
1) How often will the employment advisor want to see me? More than once a month? How short notice will the invitations be?
2) Assuming I show up for all the appointments, can they find out that I am not in the country in-between appointments? Do they check with immigration?
3) Are there any risks in terms of insurance coverage for accidents and illness?

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have on this!
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Old 02.11.2013, 00:18
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

In the beginning I was invited to Meetings, Training courses, interviews, with a letter posted with second class postage, B post. Often the notified date was in 2 days time, ie received on Tuesday for an appointment on Thursday.

You can be fined heavily for not being available Monday to Friday, but you could probably get away with taking a Friday off.
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Old 02.11.2013, 01:15
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

Simply put, the RAV are your employer for this period, and you must tell them everything you're doing. So be open and honest about already booked trips, and they'll work with you. Future trips will need to be agreed before you book them, but even then they don't necessarily mean you'll be penalised as long as you're showing willing to whatever else they're asking of you. If you pretend that you're available for work when you're actually not, grief will follow.

They're quite human, by all accounts.
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Old 02.11.2013, 01:22
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

If I get made redundant I'm tempted to hire some cheap eastern European to attend the RAV on my behalf. I can pay him a percentage of my RAV money and either go travelling, or even get another job with my "double" attending all the RAV meetings etc.

Plus anyone stupid enough to take me up on my low-paid offer is also too stupid to actually land a job. So it should work for the entire 18 month duration.
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Old 02.11.2013, 01:25
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

You are essentially employed by RAV. You will get around 20 vacation days a year. You will initially allowed to take them after about two or three months.

You are free to take "unpaid leave" any time you like.

Sorry for being abut vague with the numbers, but it's been a while.

Of course you don't *have* to tell them that you're travelling. Just like you don't *have* to tell them you're working on the side.
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Old 02.11.2013, 11:10
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

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In the beginning I was invited to Meetings, Training courses, interviews, with a letter posted with second class postage, B post. Often the notified date was in 2 days time, ie received on Tuesday for an appointment on Thursday.

You can be fined heavily for not being available Monday to Friday, but you could probably get away with taking a Friday off.
Thanks! Very useful to know.
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Old 02.11.2013, 11:12
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

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Simply put, the RAV are your employer for this period, and you must tell them everything you're doing. So be open and honest about already booked trips, and they'll work with you. ....
Does that mean that they have flexibility with regards to the number of days you can leave the country?
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Old 02.11.2013, 11:23
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

As mentioned in other replies you will receive 20 days holiday pro rata for a years unemployment. You can only start booking / taking official holiday after 3 months of unemployment but not before 3 months.

As you had booked your holiday before becoming unemployed it should / will be treated slightly differently by your RAV advisor - hopefully logic will play a part here...My expectation from my experience is that they will only "fine" you the days that you can't work - i.e. if you earn 200CHF you will be fined 200CHF for each day you are on holiday and can't work.

Meetings are generally front loaded when you are registered - they are to give you information at the start then they are less over time, maybe a weeks or months notice.

You are definitly not covered under their (RAV's) accident insurance if you are abroad and haven't informed your advisor. Not sure how it changes if you inform them you are abroad - I think you might still be covered (but you have to inform them), I was covered for an interview abroad. Health insurance which you pay now and will continue to pay will not be affected from when you are unemployed. You will receive a document at one of your meetings at the start regarding insurance - and may be able to find this on their website somewhere. Check with your advisor on this question.

Seeing as you have already booked your holiday, if you can still survive on the money you have my personal advice would be - I would go ahead with your trips and be honest with your advisor as much as you can.
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Old 02.11.2013, 12:27
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

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As mentioned in other replies you will receive 20 days holiday pro rata for a years unemployment. You can only start booking / taking official holiday after 3 months of unemployment but not before 3 months.

As you had booked your holiday before becoming unemployed it should / will be treated slightly differently by your RAV advisor - hopefully logic will play a part here...My expectation from my experience is that they will only "fine" you the days that you can't work - i.e. if you earn 200CHF you will be fined 200CHF for each day you are on holiday and can't work.

Meetings are generally front loaded when you are registered - they are to give you information at the start then they are less over time, maybe a weeks or months notice.

You are definitly not covered under their (RAV's) accident insurance if you are abroad and haven't informed your advisor. Not sure how it changes if you inform them you are abroad - I think you might still be covered (but you have to inform them), I was covered for an interview abroad. Health insurance which you pay now and will continue to pay will not be affected from when you are unemployed. You will receive a document at one of your meetings at the start regarding insurance - and may be able to find this on their website somewhere. Check with your advisor on this question.

Seeing as you have already booked your holiday, if you can still survive on the money you have my personal advice would be - I would go ahead with your trips and be honest with your advisor as much as you can.
Your not fined, just not paid, those days are not lost. It's possible to take 90 days unpaid holiday.

SUVA accident insurance is nothing to do with the RAV the nearly 3% if premium is paid by the unemployed person..........so it's connected , non work accidents are insured by law .
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Old 02.11.2013, 13:19
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

My tipp: take all your travel booking confirmations with you when you go to RAV.

Good luck
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Old 02.11.2013, 13:26
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

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If I get made redundant I'm tempted to hire some cheap eastern European to attend the RAV on my behalf. I can pay him a percentage of my RAV money and either go travelling, or even get another job with my "double" attending all the RAV meetings etc.

Plus anyone stupid enough to take me up on my low-paid offer is also too stupid to actually land a job. So it should work for the entire 18 month duration.
You are seriously funny!
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Old 02.11.2013, 13:28
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

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Your not fined, just not paid, those days are not lost. It's possible to take 90 days unpaid holiday.

SUVA accident insurance is nothing to do with the RAV the nearly 3% if premium is paid by the unemployed person..........so it's connected , non work accidents are insured by law .
Ok different wording / terminology - but pretty much the same result, you take unpaid leave for a day / you get fined a days pay...... (I guess the one thing you may be getting at is that these days don't count towards your unemployment period, which is a positive extra for the unemployed person?).

On the accident insurance I agree, typed without thinking on this - there are 3 different offices involved (i think) in the unemployment process rather than it being centralised with one department!

To get my own back on you picking holes in my answer, SUVA isn't the only accident insurer other companies offer it too
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Old 02.11.2013, 23:43
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Re: Travelling while unemployed

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Ok different wording / terminology - but pretty much the same result, you take unpaid leave for a day / you get fined a days pay...... (I guess the one thing you may be getting at is that these days don't count towards your unemployment period, which is a positive extra for the unemployed person?).

On the accident insurance I agree, typed without thinking on this - there are 3 different offices involved (i think) in the unemployment process rather than it being centralised with one department!

To get my own back on you picking holes in my answer, SUVA isn't the only accident insurer other companies offer it too
SUVA is the only one that the RAV uses, you can add accident to your health insurance for very little but you still have to pay the SUVA premium.

By taking a weeks unpaid holiday , you have not used those days up so it's very different to a punishment where the days are lost.
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