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Old 17.03.2021, 15:27
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Freelance work while on unemployment

So I recently had to leave my job as my previous company ran out of funding. They were kind enough to fire me so I'm currently on unemployment while looking for a new job. I only had the initial meeting with my RAF officer but haven't received anything yet as I only became unemployed 1st of March.

Even though I have some job leads going, it's unsure how quickly I will be able to start working again given the current market. It could be next week or it could be quite a few months. That being said in my area in Robotics I can likely get some contracting/freelance work right now, but this work most likely won't be constant and/or for long periods.

So my question is, what is the best way to proceed in order to declare this "side income". Is this possible? My reasoning is that this will then decrease what I'm getting paid every month from RAV which should then also be OK with them, but the issue is that these employers are not from Switzerland.

I read that one of the options is to open a company and become self-employed but that can cause issues with the unemployment as technically I would be self-employed. I also don't intend to open a business as I'm looking for full time work.

So it is pobbile to just invoice them, alert RAV and the insurance company and pay taxes on it? If so, how?.

There's also the umbrella/payroll companies but since these will be low amounts they might become super expensive as they usually take a mininum flat fee.

For the record:
I'm an EU national currently on a B permit with a couple of years still left on it.

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 17.03.2021, 15:31
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

Look up ANOBAG on this forum.
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Old 17.03.2021, 15:46
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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Look up ANOBAG on this forum.
First of all thank you for your reply. I wasn't aware of ANOBAG so it's always interesting to know more. That being said it doesn't seem to be quite what I'm after? First it seems that I would be considered an employee of a certain company outside of Switzerland, which would mean I can only work for said company and it also seems more geared up towards working with them full time or close to it. It's useful as this is another possibility that I may face but not my point right now.

I'm just looking for the easiest way to declare let's say 20hours a month or so, that I may or may not get from 1/2/3 different clients, all without losing my unemployment (but getting reduced unemployment payments if I make any money that month).
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Old 17.03.2021, 17:31
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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I only had the initial meeting with my RAF officer but haven't received anything yet as I only became unemployed 1st of March.
Stiff upper lip and all that old boy.

Talk to your RAV officer.
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Old 17.03.2021, 17:56
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

The RAV and the unemployment fund are always delighted when one can moonlight. They even have a term for it called "Zwischenverdienst" on the east side of CH.
https://www.beobachter.ch/arbeit/arb...-doch-arbeiten
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Old 17.03.2021, 18:31
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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Stiff upper lip and all that old boy.

Talk to your RAV officer.
I wasn't really complaining I was just informing. We're supposed to have another meeting soon but I need to answer to this possible client quite quickly. I sent her an email today but no answer yet. I think Wednesday is her day off.

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The RAV and the unemployment fund are always delighted when one can moonlight. They even have a term for it called "Zwischenverdienst" on the east side of CH.
https://www.beobachter.ch/arbeit/arb...-doch-arbeiten
So I can just say yes to the job? do I have to register in anything or just send them an invoice and pay taxes later. Any info on that?

Also if I have this side income then I will still get the RAV to pay me but instead of just being 70% of my previous salary, it will now be 70% of the difference between my previous salary and what I make that month is that correct?

Thanks!!
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Old 20.03.2021, 02:38
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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So I can just say yes to the job? do I have to register in anything or just send them an invoice and pay taxes later. Any info on that?

Also if I have this side income then I will still get the RAV to pay me but instead of just being 70% of my previous salary, it will now be 70% of the difference between my previous salary and what I make that month is that correct?
Thanks!!
You can do contract work while RAV-registered. You have to inform them of course. Let's presume these are just short, one-off engagements of a few days here and there. So you fill in the special Zwischenverdienst form and submit it to the Kasse together with your monthly '10 Questions' form on which you have to declare the hours worked and money received. In order to pay your pension and other social obligations, you also sign up with a payroll company e.g. PayrollPlus (there are plenty of others). You first send your hours worked and agreed pay rate to the payroll company who invoice your customer. The customer pays the payroll company who deduct the obligatory bits and send you your money as well as a sort of payslip. You send this payslip to the Kasse along with your 10 Questions and Zwischenverdienst. The Kasse make a calculation on whether they need to top up the money you've received from the payroll company. They base this on the original invoice amount, not the net amount you actually receive. If you're able to organise things so that you work and earn a certain amount below your monthly RAV payment, you get topped up.

That's how it worked with me.

If the work is regular and long-term the RAV and Kasse may quite reasonably ask you to create a company and change your status to self-employed. Be very careful here. If the work goes on forever, and you're happy, then great. But if you change your status to self-employed and then find the work dries up after a time, you may no longer be eligible for RAV at all as it isn't normally available to the self-employed.

Personally, I kept fending off attempts to make me go self-employed because the occasional contract work I had was always short-term and unreliable (a week or two at a time, and often no work for a month or two). Frankly, had the RAV/Kasse insisted, I'd have had to stop the contracts as it would have become too stressful to not know whether I'd have any income or not in the future.

Yes, the payroll companies will charge you and the various social payments etc. can add up. In effect they become a sort of substitute employer. At the end of the year they even send you a Lohnausweis which you submit as part of your annual income and tax declaration.
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Old 20.03.2021, 07:33
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

But keep in mind, that the payment from the RAV will be delayed because of the "zwischenverdienst" for one to 3 weeks, depends how fast you get the nessescary paperwork to the "Arbeitslosenkasse".
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Old 20.03.2021, 10:42
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

As an aside, I know someone who is only a couple of years out from university in Australia with a degree in Robotic Engineering who just got a job with Chevron for 250k a year Not sure what exact field you are in but it seems to be lucrative this robotics gig.
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Old 20.03.2021, 11:02
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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But keep in mind, that the payment from the RAV will be delayed because of the "zwischenverdienst" for one to 3 weeks, depends how fast you get the nessescary paperwork to the "Arbeitslosenkasse".
The delay is unlimited if paperwork is not provided, payout in a few days of receipt of info, of course how long you wait for the zwischenverdienst payment is your own problem.
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Old 20.03.2021, 14:44
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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But keep in mind, that the payment from the RAV will be delayed because of the "zwischenverdienst" for one to 3 weeks, depends how fast you get the nessescary paperwork to the "Arbeitslosenkasse".
It can get complicated if you declare work in one month but don't get paid until some time later. TBH, I would ensure that I always kept everything within the same month. If I worked for a week and it happened to be the final week of the month I would actually keep quiet about it and declare it to the payroll company as having worked the first week of the following month to ensure I could assemble the invoice and payment and payslip and Zwischenverdienst all within the same month. Probably against the rules but it kept things much simpler for all concerned, and I still ended up declaring the exact hours worked so there was nothing underhand about it.
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Old 20.03.2021, 14:54
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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It can get complicated if you declare work in one month but don't get paid until some time later. TBH, I would ensure that I always kept everything within the same month. If I worked for a week and it happened to be the final week of the month I would actually keep quiet about it and declare it to the payroll company as having worked the first week of the following month to ensure I could assemble the invoice and payment and payslip and Zwischenverdienst all within the same month. Probably against the rules but it kept things much simpler for all concerned, and I still ended up declaring the exact hours worked so there was nothing underhand about it.
That is a criminal offence, I would definitely avoid that.
I have waited up to 4 months for payment, thats one of the disadvantages of being freelance.
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Old 20.03.2021, 15:45
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Re: Freelance work while on unemployment

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That is a criminal offence, I would definitely avoid that.
I have waited up to 4 months for payment, thats one of the disadvantages of being freelance.
I can't argue with that, FMF, and it's for each to judge the situation for themselves as they're unique for each of us. It was someone from the payroll company who remarked to me in a telling way that if working short periods only (say a week or less per month), "it is always helpful" to get everything tied up in the same month.

As it happened, the end-customer in question was a UK company who I know well, and after speaking to them, they were happy to let me set my own work dates on the invoice on the strong understanding that they wouldn't allow any change in the net number of hours agreed, or in the rate of pay. That was fine by me. Moreover, in my situation this can work because I do creative work in which I spend half the time staring at the wall or lying awake trying to come up with ideas. So although I may agree to 5 days of work, in reality much of it happens before or after the agreed period. This wouldn't be possible for longer stretches of work or if I had to travel to a customer location.

All that said, I have to accept that it's still an unofficial way of operating but the genuine motivation was to reduce the bureaucracy and complexity, so my conscience is clear. If the motivation was to dodge tax or conceal work, that would be a quite different thing.
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