How To Quit a Job in Switzerland in a Right Way

How To Quit a Job in Switzerland 
in a Right Way titlecard

Quitting a job is never easy, and it’s even more challenging when you aren’t sure how to do it. In Switzerland, just like most developed economies, employees must follow certain protocols and procedures to resign from the job legally. While the specific steps may vary depending on your company or industry, here is how to quit a job in Switzerland properly.

To terminate your job in Switzerland, start by going through your employment contract, schedule a meeting with HR, and submit a resignation letter. You also need to adhere to the required notice period, confirm if you are eligible for unemployment benefits, and ask for a work certificate from your employer.

This article looks into how you can quit your job in Switzerland the right way. It goes through the steps to terminate your employment and the notice period you need to give.

It also looks into whether you’ll get unemployment benefits after quitting your job and whether you can live in Switzerland after losing your employment, especially if you are an expatriate.

Read our guide on how to write a resignation letter in Switzerland.

How to terminate employment in Switzerland

Woman standing on a rail near the lake

According to the Labor law in Switzerland, both the employee and employer may terminate the employment agreement at any time without the given reason. However, they are subject to either the contractual or statutory notice period;

Both don’t have to fulfill any particular grounds for termination.

Hence, it’s pretty easy to quit your employment in Switzerland; the only compulsory thing you must do is inform your employer or supervisor of your termination in writing or verbally. Ensure that the employer receives your notice since your termination is only valid once they are informed.

Though there is no standard way of quitting your job in Switzerland, you can terminate it professionally and respectfully by following the steps below:

Step 1: Go through your employment contract

You commit to working for the given company for a specific period upon signing an employment contract. If you choose to exit the contract before the term ends, you need to consider the termination’s impact on your future within the workforce.

Go through your employment contract to determine the following:

  • Notice the period you need to give your employer; the standard periods apply if the contract doesn’t state it 
  • The legal issues governing your employment termination
  • The company’s required termination process, if any

Step 2: Meet up with an HR representative 

Once you have gone through your contract in detail, it’s advisable to meet with an HR representative. They are familiar with employment laws and may advise you on the legal steps to avoid future problems.

Additionally, they may break down some of the statements within your contract, which may not be apparent, saving you potential penalties and reputation damages.

Step 3: Write and submit a letter of resignation

In Switzerland, you can notify your employer of your quitting in a private conversation; however, writing a resignation letter is safer. This letter acts as evidence of your termination and saves you from any future issues.

Your resignation letter should be short, professional, and straight to the point. Write it in the language you use at work and submit it to your employer through mail or hand delivery. You can request a confirmation of receipt to confirm whether your employer received it.

Read our guide on how to write a resignation letter in Switzerland.

Step 4: Adhere to your notice period

A notice period is the length of time your employer is aware of your departure from their company before you leave. In Switzerland, this period begins once your employer has received your resignation letter or after informing them of your quitting orally.

Read on to learn about notice periods in Switzerland.

Step 5: Complete pending projects

Discuss how you can complete any pending projects with your employer or supervisor. You can agree to complete the task by yourself before the notice period or hand them over to your successor or colleague.

Step 6: Check if you are eligible for any unemployment benefits

In Switzerland, an employee is entitled to unemployment benefits after the termination of their employment. However, there are certain conditions that you must meet; check to see if you meet these conditions here.

If you don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, you should at least take out job insurance, which will cover you after the loss of income.

Step 7: Get a work certificate from the company

According to article 330a of the Swiss Code of Obligations, you are entitled to a work certificate when quitting your job. The certificate indicates the duration and nature of the employment relationship, work quality, and conduct.

A work certificate in Switzerland must include the following information:

  • Name of the company issuing the certificate
  • Your name in full, birth date, and nationality
  • Your position within the company 
  • The start and end date of your contract
  • The tasks and the specific projects you have undertaken
  • A detailed assessment of your conduct and skills
  • The certificate issuance date 
  • The signature of your employer, superior, or human resources representative

Notice period in Switzerland 

In Switzerland, an employee or employer can terminate a working relationship without reason. However, they must adhere to notice periods depending on the contract: 

Fixed-term contracts

Fixed contracts are operational for a specific period, and they automatically end once the term contractually specified by the employee and employer expires. There is no notice period for these contracts, as well as no option to quit earlier unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

Therefore, you must work till the contract ends.

Permanent contracts

The employee or employer can terminate contracts that involve an undefined period for no specific reason and at any time. However, both parties have to observe a given notice period whose length depends on the period of the working relationship. 

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the following periods of notice apply for permanent contracts in Switzerland:

Notice periodEmployment duration
7 daysProbation period
1 month 1st year of employment
2 months2nd to 9 years of employment
3 monthsfrom 10 years of employment

In the first year of work, termination is possible at the end of each month. Generally, in all cases, the contract can be terminated only by the end of the month. With that said, if you worked for 2 years and want to resign on 1st July, you need to terminate at the end of May.

At times, an employee and employer can agree on the length of a notice period. Nonetheless, this period can’t be less than a month, and it can only apply during the first year of employment.

In exceptional cases, you can terminate your employment contract in Switzerland without notice for a justifiable cause, such as the employer’s insolvency.

If you don’t base your termination without notice on a justifiable cause, you are entitled to compensate your employer. The compensation can be up to one-quarter of your one month’s salary, but judges can reduce it if they feel that the employer didn’t suffer any damage.

Quitting a job during the probation period in Switzerland

In Switzerland, unless specified in the employment contract, the first month of employment is considered a probationary or trial period by law. The probationary period isn’t mandatory; therefore, the employer and employee can choose not to have it.

An exception is an apprenticeship contract, where at least a one-month probationary period is mandatory. 

The probationary period allows the employee and the employer to know each other. After this, they can determine whether to convert into a permanent employment relationship or not. 

Both parties can terminate the contract at any time and without giving reasons during the probationary period. In this case, the employment relationship then ends within seven days. So, you are pretty flexible in the first month on the new job.

Will you get unemployment benefits in Switzerland if you quit your job?

You will receive unemployment money even if you terminate your job out of your own initiative. However, unemployment benefits aren’t paid in the first days up to two months of unemployment in that situation. The state will decide on an individual case.

Like in Germany, if you lose or quit your job in Switzerland, you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits if you meet the following conditions:

  • You have become wholly or partially unemployed
  • Have been paying unemployment insurance contributions before becoming unemployed
  • You have been in employment in Switzerland for at least 12 months in the last two years
  • Switzerland is your primary place of residence
  • You are less than 65 years old if you are a man and not more than 64 years old for a woman
  • You aren’t getting a retirement pension

Additionally, Swiss law requires you to:

  • Start looking for a new job during the notice period
  • Be available to accept a job that matches your professional profile
  • Start seeking a job three months before the end of your contract if you are on a fixed-term contract

In fact, the Swiss employment center wants to see you are sending at least 10 new job applications every month. They will request a protocol of your application process. You must be proactive unemployed.

Keep a record of your searches, such as applications and rejection letters. Before getting our unemployment benefits, you will have to submit them to the regional employment center (RAV).

How to register for unemployment benefits

In Switzerland, you need to register as unemployed as soon as possible, preferably not later than the day you wish to receive unemployment benefits. You can register by going in person to your regional employment center (RAV) or through these steps

You will require the following documents during the registration:

  • A health insurance card
  • Passport or identity card 
  • Certificate of residence
  • Termination letter from your previous employer
  • References from previous employers
  • Certificates showing your current education qualifications
  • Documents showing the job searches you have carried out, such as application letters and responses you have received from them

How much is the unemployment benefits in Switzerland?

According to Swiss law, you should receive unemployment benefits equivalent to 70% of your previous salary. You receive 80% of your salary if you have:

  • A monthly insured salary of less than 3,797 CHF
  • Dependent children younger than 25 years old
  • An invalidity rating of at least 40%

For how long will you receive unemployment benefits?

Below is a table indicating the days you are eligible for unemployment benefits in canton Zurich, depending on your circumstances:

Length of contribution to the unemployment insurance (in months)AgeNo. of days eligible for unemployment benefits
12 – 24Up to 25200
12 – 18Up to 25 with dependents260
18 – 24Up to 25 with dependents400
12 – 1825 to 55260
18 – 2425 to 55400
22 – 2425 to 55520
12 – 18 Over 55260
18 – 22Over 55400
22 – 24Over 55520
Exempted from paying contributions90

You ought to observe several regulations to continue receiving Swiss unemployment benefits; your sticking to these rules is monitored by your Swiss unemployment counselor. 

The rules vary depending on your location, but the general ones include:

  • Don’t miss appointments with your unemployment counselor
  • Keep sending out job applications at the rate you have agreed with your unemployment counselor
  • Don’t turn down a job that your counselor deems “suitable”
  • Don’t fail to participate in any labor market program without a good enough reason

Unemployment benefits for foreigners in Switzerland

If you are a foreigner working in Switzerland, you are entitled to unemployment benefits if you have a residence permit (B permit) or settlement permit (C permit).

If you have a short stay permit (L permit), you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, you can stay in Switzerland for up to six months while looking for work.

Can I stay in Switzerland if I lose my job? 

If you are an EU/EFTA citizen in Switzerland and you terminate your employment, you can stay in the country for three months to seek another job. If you don’t find a job within three months, the canton can give you a three-month residence permit which you can apply for an extension for up to one year.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration, as a non-EU or EFTA citizen, you can stay in Switzerland for 30 days after the authorities receive information about your employment termination. Zurich has some amazing accommodations, and during, you can request for extension of this period from cantonal authorities if you are receiving unemployment benefits. 

As a non-EU national, you’ll eventually need to leave Switzerland if you can’t find a new employer willing to apply for a permit on your behalf. Family members with a residency permit based on family reunification with someone who lost the job would also need to leave the country.

Liked it? Take a second to support Nicholas on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Similar Posts