Licenciement en Suisse, quels sont vos droits ?

Getting fired in Switzerland, what are your rights?

You are a cross-border worker in Switzerland and your employer just fired you? Know your rights and the procedure to follow.

You are a foreign resident working in Switzerland and your employer has terminated your work contract. It is important to know your rights and the correct procedure to follow.

Who will pay your unemployment and how can you appeal in case of abusive termination?

Layoffs in Switzerland

In Switzerland, an employer can fire a worker fairly easily. An employer only needs to justify an immediate dismissal without notice, which can only be a case of serious misconduct (theft, violence, trust issues, etc.). Beyond this, an employer can terminate a contract without justification, as long as the legal notice is respected. As such, the Swiss labor law is much more flexible than most European countries and contractual freedom is the rule.

Dismissal notices

  • 7 days if you are in a trial period
  • 1 month for your first year of work contract
  • 2 months for your second to ninth year of work contract
  • 3 months for more than 9 years of work contract

Opposing the dismissal

You can have been fired for abusive reasons or you may simply disagree with the justification given by your employer for your dismissal. You perfectly have the right to oppose it, but it has to be in writing.

In case of success, you may receive get compensation for your dismissal. The maximum that you can get is 6 months of gross salary. To oppose your dismissal, you must begin the procedure before the end of your dismissal notice. You must also notify a judge within the 180 days following the end of your contract.

Please note that you cannot be fired in specific situations, notably if you are partially or completely unable to work or if you are pregnant (including the 16 weeks following the delivery).

Unemployment benefits for cross-border workers

Swiss unemployment funds are reserved to Swiss residents, whatever the reason of dismissal. If you are a resident in another country and you have been fired from your job in Switzerland, you will have to register to the unemployment agency in your country of residence. They will give you compensation as if you had worked in the country, even if it isn't the country were you have paid your contributions.

Full unemployment

If you have completely lost your job (as opposed as a partial unemployment, see below), you will need to ask for full unemployment. This demand must be submitted in the unemployment agency of your country of residence.

You will have to provide a U1 form when registering for unemployment. You will get that document from a Swiss unemployment fund by providing the following documents:

  • A work certificate from your employer
  • A dismissal letter
  • Your last 6 pay slips
  • A copy of your work contract
  • A copy of your AVS/AHV card

The U1 form is required for anyone wishing to obtain unemployment rights after having worked in Switzerland or in a EU member state. You must absolutely do all of the above during the year following your dismissal.

Compensation in France

In order to get unemployment in France, it is important to take the reasons of the dismissal into account:

  • If you have quit, you won't get any compensation.
  • If you and your employer have decided together to put an end to your contract, you won't get any compensation either as it is not considere as a conventional breach.
  • If you have been fired for serious misconduct or for economic reasons, you will be compensated.

The compensation will be calculated according to the gross salary you earned before your dismissal, i.e. on a Swiss salary following a dismissal in Switzerland.

Partial unemployment

If your employer has simply reduced your working time or has temporarily suspended your job, you haven't been fired. Your work contract is still valid and you can therefore get partial unemployment in Switzerland.

It is the responsability of your employer to take the required administrative steps among a Swiss unemployment fund. Your employer must send a 10 days notice to the relevant canton with your formal agreement. You will then be compensated for 80% of your lost revenue.

Toward a change of rights

European bodies are going toward a change of the rights we discussed above for 2021. In the future, cross-border workers should be compensated by the country where they work and therefore where they pay social contributions.

This reform will first take place in the European Union and then apply in Switzerland in the following years. With it, France may save up to €650 million per year.

Other things to do after a dismissal in Switzerland

After being fired in Switzerland, you must update your status among several bodies in order to make your situation compliant:

  • Occupational Benefit Plan (2nd pillar): you must inform the Swiss pension fund with which you have paid your mandatory 2nd pillar social contributions.
  • Health insurance: health insurance is mandatory when you work in Switzerland, and you must inform yours, whether it is a Swiss insurance or the CMU.
  • Swiss and European family allowance funds: you must inform the bodies that gives you subsidies for your children.

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