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Old 15.03.2020, 12:27
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COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

Hi. The Swiss government announced Friday that it would deploy an emergency economic-aid package of roughly 10 billion francs for workers and small businesses.

Does anyone have any information about how to access this economic-aid? Or the requirements that will need to be met?

Can we start this as a thread to share information and for discussion around the topic, for people needing to access it or with more information and/or guidance on how to best proceed and successfully apply.

We're a start up and our customers are Airlines... so clearly this is an absolutely critical issue for us.

Last edited by Guest; 15.03.2020 at 13:02. Reason: Tidied it up for you
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Old 15.03.2020, 12:57
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

According to the below NZZ article, a large part of the CHF 10 billion will flow to short-time-work support (Kurzarbeit). Already 550 companies have applied for short-time-work support with upwards of 10'000 employees:

https://www.nzz.ch/zuerich/coronavir...men-ld.1546294

For information on applying for short-time-work support, see this link (English):

https://www.ch.ch/en/short-time-work/


At this link are forms to complete to apply for short-time-work. Two key forms are called:


Voranmeldung von Kurzarbeit

Antrag auf Kurzarbeitsentschädigung


https://www.arbeit.swiss/secoalv/en/...haedigung.html
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Old 15.03.2020, 13:11
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

This is an overview of Corona Virus financial support from SECO, which includes but extends beyond short-time-work support (German):

https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/ho...ronavirus.html
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Old 15.03.2020, 23:05
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Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

Dear all,

My partner works as a waiter in a restaurant in Basel-Stadt on stundenlohn basis.
As the restaurant might be closed next week due to the current COVID-19 situation I am wondering what steps we could take in order to get financial support.

It might be a bit challenging to live for 2 (or more?) months from one salary and I am not sure if hourly-wage-employees can benefit from anything.

Thanks,
Mat
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Old 15.03.2020, 23:16
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

Me and my husband are both in the same situation. No work as of now. Our employers have applied for “Kurzarbeit”, but no idea if we’ll get anything from that. Wondering if we can get anything from RAV?
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Old 15.03.2020, 23:22
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

I'm sorry to hear that! Perhaps we can post here any developments. I'm sure there's gonna be more people in a similar situation.
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Old 16.03.2020, 07:44
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

For hourly employees who aren't getting work, short-time-work (Kurzarbeit) might be a viable approach to bring in income during the virus crisis. This Swiss authorities online page explains it and compares it to RAV unemployment compensation (English):

https://www.ch.ch/en/short-time-work/

If the employer terminates the employee, the hourly employee could apply for RAV unemployment compensation provided the employee has worked at least one year in the past two. There could be a wait period of up to 20 days.

The employee could also resign and apply for RAV unemployment compensation, provided the employee has worked at least one year in the past two. However, up to 60 penalty days could be assessed in addition to the wait days.

Generally, the Kurzarbeit approach might be best for an employee with a permanent contract (see below).

Also see this short EF thread from yesterday:

https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...usinesses.html

Added:
Kurzarbeit currently applies only to employees who have a permanent employment contract. However, the Swiss Federal Council has directed SECO (Economics Department) to develop regulations to allow Kurzarbeit to apply to employees with fixed work contracts and temporary work contracts, i.e., employment contracts with staffing companies. The new regulations are to be drawn up by 20 March.

Last edited by Mullhollander; 16.03.2020 at 08:39.
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Old 16.03.2020, 08:42
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

Thank you,@Mullhollander! This is what I also found out.

It seems like the Kurzarbeit is the best option, however, from what I hear from my partner, the employer reaction was so far: "Hard times are approaching and we all have to care for our own business." He's rather not willing to apply for the Kurzarbeit for him, and as far as I'm concerned he's not obliged to do so.

Another scenario would be that he let him go so there won't be penalty from RAV.
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Old 16.03.2020, 08:52
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

Through one of the links posted by Mullhollander: https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/ho...ronavirus.html

Voraussetzungen die erfüllt werden müssen, damit ein Arbeitnehmer Anspruch auf KAE hat:
 das Arbeitsverhältnis darf nicht gekündigt sein (Art. 31 Abs. 1 Bst. c AVIG)
 der Arbeitsausfall ist voraussichtlich vorübergehend und es darf erwartet werden, dass durch Kurzarbeit die Arbeitsplätze erhalten werden können (Art. 31 Abs. 1 Bst. d AVIG)
 die Arbeitszeit ist kontrollierbar (Art. 31 Abs. 3 Bst. a AVIG)
 der Arbeitsausfall macht je Abrechnungsperiode mindestens 10 Prozent der Arbeitsstunden aus (Art. 32 Abs. 1 Bst. b AVIG)
 der Arbeitsausfall wird nicht durch Umstände verursacht, die zum normalen Betriebsrisiko gehören (Art. 33 Abs. 1 Bst. a AVIG)


Approximate translation
Requirements that must be fulfilled so that an employee is entitled to KAE:
 the employment relationship must not be terminated (Art. 31 para. 1 let. C AVIG)
 the loss of work is likely to be temporary and it can be expected that short-time work can preserve jobs (Art. 31 para. 1 let. D AVIG)
 working hours are controllable (Art. 31 Para. 3 a AVIG)
 the loss of work is at least 10 percent of the working hours, per accounting period (Art. 32 Para. 1 b AVIG)
 the loss of work is not caused by circumstances that are part of the normal operational risk (Art. 33 Para. 1 a AVIG)
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Old 16.03.2020, 08:52
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

For hourly employees who have worked regular hours and have their work hours reduced, there is also this option (translated from linked Unia brochure, p. 23):

"What to do if my working hours decrease?
Case Study 1: You have been working relatively regularly
If your employment contract is still in place and your employer suddenly stops giving you work after a certain period of regular employment, you have the right to register as unemployed. This allows you to compensate for the temporary loss of earnings, even if you have not terminated your employment contract. This is always possible provided that your working hours have been relatively regular, i.e. never fluctuated more than +/- 10% in the last six months or more than +/- 20% in the last 12 months.For example: you worked an average of 30 hours per week for six months; the fluctuations in your working time of +/-10% correspond to 27 to 33 hours per week; if your employer now only employs you for 10 hours per week, you can register with RAV unemployment insurance fund to compensate for the loss of earnings for the missing hours (difference between the time actually worked and the usual working time). Caution: if the fluctuations over the last six months were more than 10% (that is, if you have worked less than 27 hours or more than 33 hours), you lose your entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits. Points to know: Your working hours should be as regular as possible. If they fluctuate greatly, you may lose your entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits. You should therefore demand that your working hours be as regular as possible."

https://www.unia.ch/uploads/media/Br...bruf_dt_A6.pdf
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Old 16.03.2020, 08:55
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

A friend works as a cleaner. She has a whole portfolio of clients, some of whom call her in "every Friday" while many others are "on demand" only.

Any news on what the employee, and what the employer, should do if the fluctuations in the number of hours of work, over the past 6 months, are greater than 10%?
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Old 16.03.2020, 10:30
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

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A friend works as a cleaner. She has a whole portfolio of clients, some of whom call her in "every Friday" while many others are "on demand" only.

Any news on what the employee, and what the employer, should do if the fluctuations in the number of hours of work, over the past 6 months, are greater than 10%?
To be eligible for Kurzarbeit support, a person needs to be employed and pay into the ALV unemployment insurance fund. A self-employed person with clients would not normally be eligible.

On p. 24 of the above Unia brochure, there is a case-example of irregular hours for an employee:

"Case study 2: You have been working irregularly
If your working hours fluctuate greatly and your employer, for example, does not employ you much more or much less, you should demand in writing that the employer gives you work and makes work available to you. If he refuses to do so, Unia will demand payment of the average wage you have earned over the last twelve months. Let the Unia trade union help you with both of the steps you need to take. You do not have to accept the reductions or the total loss of work. If your employer does not comply with your request, it is usually advisable to give notice of termination and register as unemployed. You should first contact Unia to check whether you are really entitled to unemployment benefits."
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Old 16.03.2020, 11:51
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

Thanks for all your replies.

I'll just add that after reading this (https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/fr/ho...ronavirus.html) I understood that the people who should ask for support are the employers, not the employees.

As Mullhollander wrote above. It is being discussed (until March 20) if fixed-term contract and temporary workers are covered by kurzarbeit/réduction horaire de travail.

My wife has a fixed-term contract per year, so we'll be reading a lot about it in the following days. I'll share here what we find.

Last edited by Axa; 16.03.2020 at 12:45. Reason: Fixed the coverage for temporary workers.
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Old 16.03.2020, 12:36
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

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Thanks for all your replies.

I'll just add that after reading this (https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/fr/ho...ronavirus.html) I understood that the people who should ask for support are the employers, not the employees.

As Mullhollander wrote above. It is being discussed (until March 20) if fixed-term contract and temporary workers are covered by unemployment.

My wife has a fixed-term contract per year, so we'll be reading a lot about it in the following days. I'll share here what we find.
To avoid a misunderstanding, fixed-contract employees and temporary employees from staffing companies are already covered by RAV unemployment insurance.

By March 20, SECO, the Swiss Federal economics ministry, is to propose regulations to allow short-time-work (Kurzarbeit) coverage to be extended to fixed-contract employees and temporary employees from staffing companies.
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Old 16.03.2020, 13:05
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

Hello all, any idea where I can go to find info about help for self-employed persons? I'm a one man band enterprise (small business, English teacher with school rooms), my students (mostly adults) are starting to cancel their lessons.



The links already here seem to be just for employers with employees.


Much appreciated. Stay healthy and panic free.
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Old 16.03.2020, 15:44
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

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Dear all,

My partner works as a waiter in a restaurant in Basel-Stadt on stundenlohn basis.
As the restaurant might be closed next week due to the current COVID-19 situation I am wondering what steps we could take in order to get financial support.

It might be a bit challenging to live for 2 (or more?) months from one salary and I am not sure if hourly-wage-employees can benefit from anything.

Thanks,
Mat
My son - who reads German - says Basel-Stadt has set aside 10M Chf to help businesses. Unlike the federal 10B CHF, which I understand to be a loan, BS will make grants. I do not know the details - perhaps check bs.ch.
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Old 16.03.2020, 18:35
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

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Hello all, any idea where I can go to find info about help for self-employed persons? I'm a one man band enterprise (small business, English teacher with school rooms), my students (mostly adults) are starting to cancel their lessons.

The links already here seem to be just for employers with employees.

Much appreciated. Stay healthy and panic free.

There are three components to the Swiss Federal government's special financial support program of CHF 10 billion:

1. Short-time-work (Kurzarbeit): this is for CHF 8 billion and is discussed above.

2. Loan Guaranties: The Bund is proposing to guarantee bank loans through four guaranty organizations. The total amount of the guaranties would be CHF 580 million.

3. Hardship Financing: There is a proposal for the Bund to offer short-term financing, either as loans and/ or grants, to SMEs, including self-employed, for those in dire straits. The form that this part of the financial support program for CHF 1 billion will take is unclear and will need to be hammered out in the coming weeks. Please see the discussion in this NZZ article (German):

Added: this article also mentions that the Bund could possibly direct a delay in tax and fee payments, e.g., VAT, to assist businesses with liquidity issues but surprisingly this option is currently not on the agenda.

https://www.nzz.ch/schweiz/coronavir...aft-ld.1546354
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Old 16.03.2020, 18:40
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

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Thank you,@Mullhollander! This is what I also found out.

It seems like the Kurzarbeit is the best option, however, from what I hear from my partner, the employer reaction was so far: "Hard times are approaching and we all have to care for our own business." He's rather not willing to apply for the Kurzarbeit for him, and as far as I'm concerned he's not obliged to do so.

Another scenario would be that he let him go so there won't be penalty from RAV.
The Kurzarbeit process involves these steps:
1. Employer applies for short-time-work financial support.
2. Swiss government (ALV insurance fund) approves it.
3. Employee agrees to accept the 80% Kurzarbeit.

If the employee does not agree to the 80% Kurzarbeit offered by the employer, it is likely that the employee would be terminated and could then apply for RAV unemployment compensation, providing the employee meets the requirements.
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Old 18.03.2020, 19:46
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Re: Stundenlohn and COVID-19 situation

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The Kurzarbeit process involves these steps:
1. Employer applies for short-time-work financial support.
2. Swiss government (ALV insurance fund) approves it.
3. Employee agrees to accept the 80% Kurzarbeit.
The employer of my wife is on step #3. They send her by email today a form to signs her acceptance of the réduction de horaire de travail / kurzarbeit.

Her employer is nice. They offered to pay 100% salary for March, meaning the employer only gets 80% of the salary from the cantonal unemployment office and cover the 20% on its own. If the crisis continues during April or longer, salary will be the 80% from the unemployment office.

If an employer still doesn't apply for funding, this is the site to start:

FR https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/fr/ho...ronavirus.html
DE https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/ho...ronavirus.html
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Old 20.03.2020, 19:24
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Re: COVID - Government Aid for small businesses

Good news in these complicate days.

The right to compensation in the event of a reduction in work will be extended to temporary workers and for people in an apprenticeship, so that companies will not have to let their apprentices go.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/coronav...c-aid/45631672
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