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Old 16.01.2009, 14:10
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Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Hi everyone,

I am employed by a Swiss firm on a permanent contract, have a B-Permit, am English and worked in the UK from End (25th) of February 2008 to Mid May 2008 (making UK social security contributions) and then in Switzerland ever since (paying Quellensteuer). I intend to stay in CH in the long-term.

Due to the difficult economic climate, I had the idea to take a voluntary sabbatical (which would effectively be unpaid leave), and go travelling for 3 months - with the expectation of resuming a normal workload (and pay) in May. (This would also make me a viable prospect for longer term employment with my current employers in Switzerland.)

However, I am not sure what the effect of this unpaid leave would be on my entitlement to unemployment benefit (i.e. in the event that I were to become unemployed this year) - as there is a small chance that the company could go into liquidation.

There have already been questions regarding rights to unemployment benefit, and I have read all available information from other threads.

However a few questions remain due to the borderline timing:

1) From month in 2008 does my Social Security contribution steam effectively begin (I worked in the UK from 25th Feb). What would be the effects of a 3m Sabatical on SS?

2) Does anyone have any tips on how to arrange the unpaid leave such that it will have minimal effect on my entitlement to unemployment benefit?
(I.e. Would it help if I could arranged to be employed for a couple of days per month using paid holiday so that there remains some sort of continued
contribution to social security system).

3) Are there other issues with Accident Insurance, Private Health Insurance that should be taken into account?

4) Does anyone have experience of sabbaticals and understand their effect on on the various administrative aspects of Swiss life?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

LHR
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Old 16.01.2009, 22:45
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Hi There,

I don't have any hard facts for you, but I have know a few people who took unpaid leave and in each case the company continued to pay AHV, accidend insurance and so on, so if I was to guess I'd say that it will have an impact on your benifits if not done properly. All I can say is take care...

Hope someone has something more tangible to offer you.

Jim
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Old 20.02.2009, 16:07
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

LHR: I just did a 3 months unpaid leave (October-December), and I don't know if this could affect my unemployment benefit in any way, didn't think about it until I read your post!

Did you find something?
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Old 20.02.2009, 16:12
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

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LHR:

Did you find something?
It might be a while before he replies, look at his status just under his EF name.

http://www.englishforum.ch/members/30200-lhr.html
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Old 20.02.2009, 16:13
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Well, if you still have a contract ie its not terminated in leu of renegotiation then your employer will still be paying your AHV, IV, ALV, Healthinsurance and BVG. Annually your employer submits the actual salaries paid that year and has to pay the % of AHV/ALV/IV etc on that for ALL registered employees. So lets say instead of 120k you only earnt 90k as you took 3 months unpaid leave then the employer will have to pay the % calculated based on the 90k. This is probably a very nice prospect for them if they are struggling financially... effectively you now cost them close to approx 40k less for the year if you take the 3 months.

With regards to unemployement benefits I really can't tell you... but at a guess I should say it will be unaffected as you were legally still employed. But please don't quote me on that I'm not sure.
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Old 20.02.2009, 16:23
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

thanks Lynn, I am sure I would have access to unemployement benefits as I am still employed, the problem is that I was assuming that the benefits would be based on my actual salary, but depending on how they do the calculation it could be much less (if they use the average of the last 6 months it could be half of it!)

(not that I am planning to get fired, but would like to know my posibilities as the company I work for has serious problems...)

thanks, vwild1, i didnt notice
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Old 20.02.2009, 16:27
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

The employer has to provide RAV with a detailed statement exactly how much the employee was working with them for the last two years and the salary payments to go with it on a per month basis. I.e. it wouldn't be possible to hide any unpaid leave.




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Well, if you still have a contract ie its not terminated in leu of renegotiation then your employer will still be paying your AHV, IV, ALV, Healthinsurance and BVG. Annually your employer submits the actual salaries paid that year and has to pay the % of AHV/ALV/IV etc on that for ALL registered employees. So lets say instead of 120k you only earnt 90k as you took 3 months unpaid leave then the employer will have to pay the % calculated based on the 90k. This is probably a very nice prospect for them if they are struggling financially... effectively you now cost them close to approx 40k less for the year if you take the 3 months.

With regards to unemployement benefits I really can't tell you... but at a guess I should say it will be unaffected as you were legally still employed. But please don't quote me on that I'm not sure.
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Old 20.02.2009, 16:40
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

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The employer has to provide RAV with a detailed statement exactly how much the employee was working with them for the last two years and the salary payments to go with it on a per month basis. I.e. it wouldn't be possible to hide any unpaid leave.
This is correct. An unemployed person needs to send a form (Arbeitgeberscheinigung - only in German do we get such words ) to their ex-employer and they have to fill in and stamp the form.

At this point in your situation I'd make sure all my tax forms and payment slips were in order, as should your possible soon-to-be-ex-employer screw around / not play fair / be dishonest, you're up the creek. The unemployment office will be relying on their word as much as yours, so it's imperative you have this information to hand to at least prove your case.

Otherwise you're missing out on X months / years contributions

I don't wish to play scare stories, but this happened to me with an ex-employer who didn't issue any payment slips, pay contributions or play fair and my only recourse is a lawyer - and several months missing from my contributions
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Old 20.02.2009, 17:18
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

You need to have worked for 12 months in the last 24 months. They base their calculation on the salary over that 12 months working. If you wait 3 months before signing on, it should make no difference.
That said, dont take my word for it, check with the RAV yourself !
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Old 20.02.2009, 18:20
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Actually, this was one of the questions of the information session i have attended. As Markalex said correctly, to be entitled to the subsidy, you must show you had done 12 contributions over the past 24 months. If i have understood it correctly, the amount you will be paid is calculated on you monthly pay (which excludes any bonuses or gratifications you might have received) up to a max of 108k. I am not 100% sure of this, though. You are evidently free to opt in and opt out the RAV whenever you want, of course. However when you opt in, the first question they will ask you is whether you have been looking for a job or not. And, if you have not, the most likely thing is that you will have a penalization up to 60 (working) days. Although the RAV counselor was unable to give a straight answer, but it was pretty obvious that yes you can go on leave of absence whenever you want to, but if you cannot show that you have been actively looking for a job you will be in trouble.
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Old 23.02.2009, 16:33
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Lucy îs absolutely right about job searching, if you know the company is going out of business and you do nothing about job searching then you will be a fault. That said in your posting you seem to suggest that they may not; so it is very difficult one to call. If you take three months off with unpaid leave, make sure you stay in touch with collegues so that if there is no job to return to, they tell you in advance;
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Old 21.10.2009, 20:42
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Hi there

Not sure if Im supposed to start another thread as the last reply on this thread was a while ago?

Hope a senior member can help me as I just read this and was shocked to see that the unemployment chomage people will expect me to have been actively looking for a new job whilst on unpaid leave.

I was originally on 6 months unpaid leave and have agreed to take a further 6 months as my employer's request due to lack of work. They are still paying my AVS, accident, pension etc and I pay my half. There is no guarantee they can take me back in Feb 2010 which would be when my year is up but they hope to. I have applied to a couple of jobs but both are through jobup so not sure how you are supposed to keep a record of that as the application is done through the website or the website of the employer advertising the job.

I will certainly have contributed 12 months within 24 months so should qualify for unemployment if they cannot take me back as I started my job in October 2007 and finished getting paid in March 2009. However, can someone confirm that to me as well that I shouldnt have an issue?

Hope to hear back from someone on these points. Many thanks
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Old 22.10.2009, 01:01
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

It is mandatory that you look for a job during your notice period. I cannot comment on the unpaid leave, but once you are dismissed, you will have to start actively looking for employment. If you fail to do so, you might be penalized or even excluded from the benefits. You have to show that you are employable and actively looking for a job by the time you enter your request.

By looking for a job, it is meant that you will have to enter the very minimum of 7 applications every month. They will let you know how much is reasonable, but normally you will be looking to something between 10 and 12. It counts also as "application" any efforts you might have done that are traceable. For example, if you called a mate asking if their company is recruiting, you can count this as an application. Keep any documents you might have, like e-mail confirmations, business cards, contact persons... It is also not a bad idea to keep a printout of the actual job offer.

Now, if there are reasonable indications your job might be gone in 2010, I would strongly recommend you to start looking for it now... Being eligible for unemployment benefits is not getting any easier, and the last thing you may want is to end up with a lot of questions of difficult answer. Like, if you knew your job was gone, why haven't you started to look for a new one?

Another thing - it is 12 contributions over the last 24 months. Don't let it run until the very last minute... you never know when the rules might change (for worse).
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Old 29.10.2009, 19:19
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Hi Lucie

Thanks for your reply and helpful information. Another thing, when you say they calculate your salary contributations over the last 12 months, how does this affect the situation say if your salary has been cut? This is not in my case but my husband's salary has been cut and may be cut further? Do they still average out your chomage entitlement based upon what your salary has been on average for the past 12 months or only on the current salary you finished on if you resign/get made redundant? Hope you can help with that one.

Many thanks
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Old 29.10.2009, 19:43
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

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Hi Lucie

Thanks for your reply and helpful information. Another thing, when you say they calculate your salary contributations over the last 12 months, how does this affect the situation say if your salary has been cut?
Many thanks
They will ask for salary slips. If his salary has been cut in real terms and he hasn't simply reduced his working hours for example, then his insurance he would have paid would have been reduced and the payout they will make will be reduced.
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Old 29.10.2009, 20:10
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

Thanks for the quick reply. But how many pay slips will they ask for and will they still base it on an avarage of say 12 pay slips for the year prior to taking he chomage? For example if he was paying in earning 12 k a month for 9 months and then 10 k a month for the remaining 3 months ..............
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Old 29.10.2009, 20:18
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

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Hi there

Not sure if Im supposed to start another thread as the last reply on this thread was a while ago?

Hope a senior member can help me as I just read this and was shocked to see that the unemployment chomage people will expect me to have been actively looking for a new job whilst on unpaid leave.

I was originally on 6 months unpaid leave and have agreed to take a further 6 months as my employer's request due to lack of work. They are still paying my AVS, accident, pension etc and I pay my half. There is no guarantee they can take me back in Feb 2010 which would be when my year is up but they hope to. I have applied to a couple of jobs but both are through jobup so not sure how you are supposed to keep a record of that as the application is done through the website or the website of the employer advertising the job.

I will certainly have contributed 12 months within 24 months so should qualify for unemployment if they cannot take me back as I started my job in October 2007 and finished getting paid in March 2009. However, can someone confirm that to me as well that I shouldnt have an issue?

Hope to hear back from someone on these points. Many thanks
Unemployment benefits are calculated on the basis of
  • either average salary during the preceding 6 months
  • or average salary during the preceding 12 months
whichever is better for the applicant.

So, if you were on unpaid leave for preceding 12 months, then your average salary was zero and unemployment benefits are zero.

Moreover, if your employer put you on unpaid leave, then you should have immediately started writing a dozen job applications every month. You are expected to substantiate this with full documentation of every single application and reply from agency or potential employer.
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Old 29.10.2009, 20:57
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

but I thought it was 12 months out of 24 months? If I was paid from Oct 07-March 09 surely I can claim chomage even if I have been on unpaid leave since that time? I am still employed paying my social contributions and my employer paying their half? pLease clarify as your reply seems to contradict Lucy's who says that if I was paid 12 months in 24 months then I should be covered for chomage.
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Old 29.10.2009, 21:06
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

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but I thought it was 12 months out of 24 months? If I was paid from Oct 07-March 09 surely I can claim chomage even if I have been on unpaid leave since that time? I am still employed paying my social contributions and my employer paying their half? pLease clarify as your reply seems to contradict Lucy's who says that if I was paid 12 months in 24 months then I should be covered for chomage.
There is no contradiction:
  • To be at all entitled, you must have paid contributions during 12 of the previous 24 months.
  • When you are entitled, then the benefit is calculated on the basis of average salary during previous 6 or 12 months.
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Old 29.10.2009, 21:11
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Re: Effect of unpaid leave on right to Unemployment Benefit

You should talk to the authorities about your situation, and stop asking questions here. They will advice you. Do so tommorrow before your situation becomes more difficult. Do so when you get up in the morning. Go to your local office and make an appointment to discuss the situation.
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