Covid-19: Understanding Reduced Working Hours (RWH-RHT) and Compensation for Short-time Work (CSW-APG)
[Warning to readers] As the times we are living in are totally unprecedented, it is possible that certain information given here will be modified in accordance with measures taken by the authorities to answer the economic crisis. They will therefore be updated on a regular basis.
Reduced Working Hours (RWH) and Covid-19
What is RWH?
What conditions must the employer fulfil?
- The compensation in case of RHT supports the loss of work due to measures of the authorities or other circumstances beyond the control of the employer. This principle applies provided that the employer cannot avoid the loss of work by appropriate and economically bearable measures or make a third party liable for the damage.
- The compensation in the case of RHT allows for unavoidable losses of work due to economic reasons. These include both cyclical and structural causes that lead to a decline in demand or turnover.
- The employment relationship must not have been terminated
- The loss of work is likely to be temporary and the compensation for reduced working hours can be expected to maintain the jobs
- The work schedule is controllable
- The loss of work constitutes at least 10% of the total hours normally worked by the workers during the period for which the count is made
- The loss of work is not attributable to circumstances that fall within the normal risk of operation
Who is entitled to daily indemnities (IJ) for reduced working hours (RWH-RHT)?
- Whose normal working hours have been reduced or suspended
- Who have the obligation to contribute to the UI (AC) or have not yet reached the minimum age for contributing to the AVS
- Whose employment has not been terminated
As of January 18, 2021, persons considered vulnerable are once again entitled to RWH benefits due to measures ordered by the authorities, provided that the company meets the overall requirements for RWH benefits. This right is currently limited to March 31, 2021.
On October 28, 2020, the Federal Council amended the ordinance COVID-19 unemployment insurance. With this amendment, the right to compensation for reduced working hours is granted to on-call workers under certain conditions. The amendment comes into effect retroactively on September 1, 2020 and remains valid until June 30, 2021.
The evolution of the beneficiaries can be found in the table below (in French).
Which categories are excluded from the RWH (RHT) procedure?
- Employees whose employment contracts have been terminated
- Employees absent with a medical certificate (who are covered by loss of earnings insurance)
- Employees who have reached retirement age (64/65 years old)
- Employees who do not accept the reduction in working hours
- Employees on maternity leave
- Employees on holiday
- Employees without a childcare solution: Cf. following § “Allowance for loss of earnings and Covid-19”
Can staff members eligible for RWH refuse to accept the daily RWH indemnities?
Is the company obligated to make up the salary to 100%?
Must the employer provide proof of the employee’s agreement?
What about social security payments?
Which hours must be reported?
Why is accounting for the hours actually worked compulsory?
Does the period of RWH entail a right to vacation days?
How should RWT (RHT) be declared and a request for indemnities submitted?
Some points to verify
- Correctly establish to causal connection between Covid-19 and the impact on the company in the notification
- Make no mistakes in the calculation bases
- It is compulsory to maintain an accounting of all the hours worked by each employee
- Send the request for reimbursement within a period of 3 months maximum, without which no indemnities may be claimed
Allowance for loss of income and Covid-19
Who is eligible for the loss of income for sickness allowance?
- Parents who have to interrupt their work because the care of their children by third parties is no longer assured.
- Persons who are quarantined and must therefore interrupt their gainful employment.
- Employees, self-employed persons and persons in a position similar to that of an employer who are considered vulnerable persons.
- Self-employed persons, persons in a position similar to that of an employer and their spouses or registered partners who work in the company who must close their company by order of the cantonal or federal authorities.
- Self-employed persons, persons in a position similar to that of an employer and their spouses or registered partners who work in the company who are affected by a ban on one or more events issued by the cantonal or federal authorities.
- Self-employed persons, persons in a position similar to that of an employer and their spouses or registered partners who work in the company who must significantly restrict their gainful activity due to a measure imposed by the cantonal or federal authorities.
Does an employee who must take care of their child also qualify for a loss of earnings allowance?
- Be compulsorily insured with the AVS (i.e. have your residence or exercise your lucrative activity in Switzerland)
- Be gainfully employed or self-employed.
If the child is quarantined, the employee is entitled to an allowance if he/she is obliged to interrupt his/her gainful activity in order to look after the child. However, if the child can be looked after (by a partner or another person), the allowance is not necessary.
- If he/she chooses to remove the child from an outside child care facility (e.g., daycare) even though the facility is still open.
- If the person who normally cares for the child is a member of the vulnerable group (e.g. grandparents), as vulnerable persons are no longer subject to special measures.
- If the work can be done from home (teleworking) without loss of earnings. However, it is possible to provide proof of loss of earnings (e.g. written certificate from the employer) and to be entitled to the allowance.
What are the procedures for people in quarantine?
As of February 8, 2021, the quarantine allowance for the employee or his/her child is limited to a maximum of 7 daily allowances. In case of quarantine of the employee, the loss of earnings allowances are subsidiary to the RHT.
It should be noted that the quarantine can be terminated early if the employee presents the cantonal authority with a negative result of a COVID test (PCR or rapid test), which can take place at the earliest on the 7th day of the quarantine, and the competent cantonal authority gives its consent to the early termination of the quarantine.
How are loss of income allowances calculated?
To which entity should the request for CSW (APG) be made?
The obligations of employers/employees and Covid-19
What measures must be taken by the employees?
What measures must be taken by the employer?
Do those employees who stay at home because they are experiencing symptoms of the virus have the right to a salary?
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