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Old 20.05.2015, 12:49
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Going to be laid off - what are my rights

Dear all,

last week I was told by my boss it's likely that my company is laying me off within the next month.
The usual excuses were provided (like the business is shrinking, as a senior employee I'm a bit more expensive - which is not always true as I happened to know). The true reason is that many senior employee (40s-50s) like me are leaving (or have made to do so), and being replaced by junior profiles who accepts lower salaries and are willing to work many extra hours without claiming them (typically they don't have families around).

Anyway, I don't want to hold any grudge and prefer to turn page and look for a new opportunity, thinking that my boss was kind enough to alert me on time.

My questions to the expert of this forum regards my rights while I'm in this limbo period.

1) I have planned since long a 2 weeks trip to the US, to visit some friends and relatives. Can I receive the notice letter (termination of employment) via email, snail mail when I'm on holiday? During the holiday I won't be able to access my email (yes I could but I'd rather not to), and of course I won't be at home to check the snail mail. Can I be notified via telephone?

2) It has been a pretty stressful year, bot at work and at home (my wife was diagnosed something that only after some months was fortunately identified as a benign tumor). In the last two years my career was completely blocked and after receiving the last warning I'm feeling totally empty and careless about my job. I still carry on all my duties, of course, and I keep receiving acknowledgements from my customers (I'm a consultant and those positive feedbacks are like an oasis in the desert) but I act more in a "mechanic" way and sometimes I find myself totally blocked, fixing the air, thinking that I have to act faster but not being capable of moving on.

I never visited a doctor (I'm a bit ashamed of telling this to a psych and it would hurt my ego) and this was probably a mistake.

My question is: what happens if I get sick in this moment, can I still be laid off? And what about if I get sick after receiving the notification (e.g. in the last month) and my sickness period exceeds the notice time?

Thanks in advance for any answer, I never found myself in such a situation and I will truly appreciate any advise.
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Old 20.05.2015, 12:59
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

1) Do you mean legally or morally ?

Legal notifications are considered valid if sent to the home address of the person by registered A-post, either one day or two days after posting I can't remember.

Morally, if you're on holiday but know this is coming up then agreeing to take a call makes sense but I don't think it would have any legal weight.

If your manager has been good enough to give you a heads up, fairest thing would to be to check directly with them about how they want to handle it.

2) Being off sick doesn't give you any additional rights against losing your job or any different notice period, unless it is explicitely work related sickness in which case the employer would have to be very careful about it seeming punitive or making the sickness worse by their actions.
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Old 20.05.2015, 15:30
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

https://www.ch.ch/en/inability-work-...ess-pregnancy/
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Old 21.05.2015, 11:07
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

Generally, as has been said in this forum over and over again, you have almost no rights when it comes to termination of contracts. You can be let go any time and no one ever needs to give you a reason.

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1) I have planned since long a 2 weeks trip to the US, to visit some friends and relatives. Can I receive the notice letter (termination of employment) via email, snail mail when I'm on holiday? During the holiday I won't be able to access my email (yes I could but I'd rather not to), and of course I won't be at home to check the snail mail. Can I be notified via telephone?
Yes. There are no formality requirements and whether it's e-mail, phone, text, the termination is always valid (provided obviously the notice period is being followed). Your boss can even just tell you over a coffee that he needs to terminate your contract, and it would still be valid. The only reason registered mail is common and recommended is so that both parties have proof of the termination.

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My question is: what happens if I get sick in this moment, can I still be laid off? And what about if I get sick after receiving the notification (e.g. in the last month) and my sickness period exceeds the notice time?
If you indeed do get sick (and I strongly recommend to not play with fire in this respect...) the notice period will be extended by the number of days you were sick and, because contracts can only be terminated by the end of the month, this means that it will be moved one full month (rather than just the actual number of days of your absence). But the notice DOES NOT lose its validity!

If e.g. your notice period is 3 months and your contract were to be terminated by the end of August, but you get sick on June 10 and have a medical certificate to assert your inability to work until e.g. June 20, the notice period will be moved one month, i.e. to the end of September. Note that this is only true if you fall sick during the actual notice period, which starts on June 1 (not May 21).

There's a protection period for a limited period of time, it depends on how long you've been with the company and where it is located. In Basel, it's usually 3 weeks in the first year of employment, 9 in the second and third, 13 in the fourth and fifth etc. Companies may choose do follow different policies and grant longer protection periods, but these are the legal minimums.
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Old 21.05.2015, 12:09
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

I'm really sorry to hear about your situation and I know exactly what your going through. I think the previous comments have given you some good advise so Im just writing in to say thank you for sharing, therere a lot of us out there going through job losses and talking about it openly is difficult. Best of luck.
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Old 21.05.2015, 12:24
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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Legal notifications are considered valid if sent to the home address of the person by registered A-post, either one day or two days after posting I can't remember.
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Yes. There are no formality requirements and whether it's e-mail, phone, text, the termination is always valid (provided obviously the notice period is being followed). Your boss can even just tell you over a coffee that he needs to terminate your contract, and it would still be valid. The only reason registered mail is common and recommended is so that both parties have proof of the termination.
No offense, but you two did not get to the core: If the employee is on vacation and cannot possibly open his post - and the employer is aware of it - do I not think a notice period can legally start.

I know it has been a myth on here that employees have no rights - but that's not entirely true. I once got fired a long time ago and the $%#@ of the HR department wanted to time the termination letter to the very last second of a month. They missed that the post (at least back then?) did not deliver registered mail on Saturdays so it arrived a day too late - which got me an entire extra month of pay.
So how about being on vacation? The law is not clear about it but a Zurich court has ruled that you cannot be terminated while on agreed and paid leave. I'll do the thing that has been so out of fashion on EF and actually back this claim up with a source: http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/startseite...eerw29-1.94536
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Old 21.05.2015, 13:02
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

Thanks Treverus- fact are always useful indeed.

Sorry you are in this situation johnny- It is happening all over- including in the UK. Becoming suddenly 'ill' - despite no sign of previous illness, would however be deemed a bit 'strange' and 'coincidental'- and would probably result in the employer requesting a second opinion from a doctor of their choice (at their cost) to confirm such illness. Which illness are you planning to develop btw?
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Old 21.05.2015, 13:33
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

50ties of to the scrapheap, we hear this again and again and again, why do these bawtards not simply shoot us and be done with it, I hope you get another job soon, you could get lucky but then again..!
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Old 21.05.2015, 13:38
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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Thanks Treverus- fact are always useful indeed.

Sorry you are in this situation johnny- It is happening all over- including in the UK. Becoming suddenly 'ill' - despite no sign of previous illness, would however be deemed a bit 'strange' and 'coincidental'- and would probably result in the employer requesting a second opinion from a doctor of their choice (at their cost) to confirm such illness. Which illness are you planning to develop btw?
Odile, I think you're being a bit harsh. Reading between the lines of the OP, he is starting to realise he may be struggling with depression. It may be the realisation of having to deal with a new challenge (redundancy, job hunting) that has made him see how low he is feeling.
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Old 21.05.2015, 13:51
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

Once you have a definitive date don't forget to speak to your local RAV and get registered and start collating all the docs they need.
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Old 21.05.2015, 14:12
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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Thanks Treverus- fact are always useful indeed.

Sorry you are in this situation johnny- It is happening all over- including in the UK. Becoming suddenly 'ill' - despite no sign of previous illness, would however be deemed a bit 'strange' and 'coincidental'- and would probably result in the employer requesting a second opinion from a doctor of their choice (at their cost) to confirm such illness. Which illness are you planning to develop btw?
We are going though a lot of terminations at my workplace, and virtually every single employee we have let go has developed some kind of illness, usually stress-related insomnia, that has rendered them unable to work for a week. Our insurance has only ever once in the past questioned a employee's sickness (when a terminated employee got pregnant during her notice period, suspending her notice, but was too sick to work for the entire pregnancy).

This happens pretty much like clockwork now, and I normally calculate an extra months' notice on every person we let go.
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Old 21.05.2015, 14:12
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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50ties of to the scrapheap, we hear this again and again and again, why do these bawtards not simply shoot us and be done with it, I hope you get another job soon, you could get lucky but then again..!
Slightly off topic, but I'd just thought I'd mention that one of my clients was interviewing a 59 year old for a permanent position last week.
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Old 21.05.2015, 14:51
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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We are going though a lot of terminations at my workplace, and virtually every single employee we have let go has developed some kind of illness, usually stress-related insomnia, that has rendered them unable to work for a week. Our insurance has only ever once in the past questioned a employee's sickness (when a terminated employee got pregnant during her notice period, suspending her notice, but was too sick to work for the entire pregnancy).

This happens pretty much like clockwork now, and I normally calculate an extra months' notice on every person we let go.

Illnesses, such as burnout, are very much real, and can be escalated/developed faster in the very high stress situation. I would suggest to OP to discuss this in more details with his doctor. Regardless of whether the 'timing is suspicious', it is doctor's decision to diagnose your condition, and to recommend you the best possible therapy. Company can only, at their own expense, ask for a second opinion, if they are suspicious. Company CAN NOT get any details on your illness (illegal).

Point two: you can be indeed laid off anytime in Switzerland. But you need to receive a notification. If you are away on vacation, this is something that company knows about, and it will be very strange to send mail to your address in Switzerland. As Trev pointed out - this does not count towards you receiving the notice.
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:10
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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We are going though a lot of terminations at my workplace, and virtually every single employee we have let go has developed some kind of illness, usually stress-related insomnia, that has rendered them unable to work for a week. Our insurance has only ever once in the past questioned a employee's sickness (when a terminated employee got pregnant during her notice period, suspending her notice, but was too sick to work for the entire pregnancy).

This happens pretty much like clockwork now, and I normally calculate an extra months' notice on every person we let go.
Id almost think that you work where I work. Good luck
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:19
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

Dear all,

thank you for your advises and opinion, from what I've understood it is technically possible to receive a letter when on holiday, but companies generally prefers not to do so in order to avoid possible complaints about not being able to be notified the message.

Regarding the sickness I "plan to develop", unfortunately it has already hit me, and I've mentioned that more for sake of opening up with other persons with whom, despite being unknown, I felt more comfortable to share something I didn't have the bravery to confess to myself.

At the end of the day I know I will just wait to receive the letter and, in that moment, it will be too late for claiming any sickness.

One reflection that goes a bit beyond my specific problem. With workplaces becoming increasingly stressful and less friendly towards the older employees (50 yo is old?), who after dedicating maybe 2 decades of their life to contribute to the growth of a company are dismissed in favor of young inexperienced bachelor fellows willing to work day and night for a soup, the weight of sustaining the old "crap" just moves from the private sector to the public one (financial assistance, more healthcare costs due to sickness, etc).
Since the public cost is again financed by private taxes, at the end it is a circular loop.

Are we sure that this system is, all in all, more convenient for the community (save any ethical consideration)?
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:40
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

These economic troughs are always stressful for a lot of people. It's not just people in the 50s who are finding it hard to get back to work - I know a few guys in their late 30s/ early 40s who, after being made redundant from Oil and Gas jobs, are unable to find other jobs in the industry. That age group is quite vulnerable too, as they have very small kids, probably on one income only, and do not have enough of a pension pot for later years. Many professionals in such technical jobs end up leaving the industry, never able to get back in! A friend studied till his late 20s, worked in the O&G for some 9 years, and now is having to move on (which is not always easy for people with very specialised degrees)! It's tough for the "young" ones too!

Anyway, OP, I wish you the best of luck, and hope you manage to get back on your feet soon.

CM
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:17
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

Maybe the Oil and Gas guy can move on to the Oil spill sites for clean up purposes - there is a fresh one in Santa Barbara - very scenic, too, and a few in the making in Alberta/British Columbia.

On a more positive note - I wonder if the (knowledgeable, more expensive) older employees could organize themselves to found a consulting company to troubleshoot the mistakes of the green crew. I know that Pfister had to send on two different occasions "the old guy" to fix the mistakes of the young crew.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:40
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

For the OP I'm sorry to hear about what you are going through, I've been there myself.

Two general points I would make:

1. If you are in your 40's or older (I will be 48 in 2 weeks) you need to think about self employment or owning a company. The chance of finding an employer to "pick you" for a full-time role is getting harder and harder, partly because of ....
2. There are simply not enough quality jobs to go around in the western world. People who want to work cannot work, not everybody without work is a lazy so and so. There is a very strong argument for making the working week 25 hours, enabling more people to work.

It is almost certain that most people will need to re-train at some point in their career in order to change industry. My qualifications are in Telecoms and out of 20 of us taken on 30 years ago as apprentices, I am the only one left in Telecoms, everybody else moved into other areas. I have just been lucky.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:48
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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For the OP I'm sorry to hear about what you are going through, I've been there myself.

Two general points I would make:

1. If you are in your 40's or older (I will be 48 in 2 weeks) you need to think about self employment or owning a company. The chance of finding an employer to "pick you" for a full-time role is getting harder and harder, partly because of ....
2. There are simply not enough quality jobs to go around in the western world. People who want to work cannot work, not everybody without work is a lazy so and so. There is a very strong argument for making the working week 25 hours, enabling more people to work.

It is almost certain that most people will need to re-train at some point in their career in order to change industry. My qualifications are in Telecoms and out of 20 of us taken on 30 years ago as apprentices, I am the only one left in Telecoms, everybody else moved into other areas. I have just been lucky.
Yeah, I wonder what is going to happen as increasingly more jobs get outsourced, taken over by robots/computers and eventually artificial intelligence software...
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Old 21.05.2015, 17:05
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Re: Going to be laid off - what are my rights

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Yeah, I wonder what is going to happen as increasingly more jobs get outsourced, taken over by robots/computers and eventually artificial intelligence software...
The technology for most of us to only need to work for 15-20 hours a week has existed for decades, the reason we are not working less hours is purely political. Work (and lack of work) is how we are controlled.
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