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Have you received notice of termination? Tips for reporting to the REO

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Toe the line or you'll get less money: When looking for work, there are rules that the unemployed should stick to. Otherwise there's a risk of suspension days and cuts in unemployment benefits.

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    Carole Kaufmann Ryan

    Carole Kaufmann Ryan is a lawyer with AXA-ARAG specializing in labor law. She writes about current topics in her specialist area, highlighting the rights and obligations of both employers and employees.

Reporting to the REO

If your employer terminated your employment, you must report to your local regional employment office (REO) no later than the first day of unemployment. However, we recommend that you report to the REO as early as possible: You will receive comprehensive information about your duties during the period of notice as well as assistance in your job search. The following applies: Benefits paid by the unemployment insurance (ALV) can be drawn at the earliest from the date on which you have registered personally at the REO. 

When am I entitled to unemployment benefits?

Unemployment insurance pays compensation if insured persons lose their jobs. The unemployment insurance fund checks whether you are eligible for unemployment benefit. It determines the level of the benefits and is responsible for calculating and paying the money. In Switzerland, all workers have mandatory insurance coverage against unemployment, with the exception of self-employed persons.

What if you hand in notice yourself?

If you quit a reasonable job yourself without having already signed a new contract of employment or with no new job in prospect, your unemployment is considered to be your own fault and you will be sanctioned with suspension days (31-60 suspension days if no follow-up solution exists). 

When is a terminated job considered unreasonable?

An exception is made if the terminated job was unreasonable for you. But the law sets very high requirements as to what is unreasonable. A job is generally only unreasonable for health reasons: In this case, you should obtain written confirmation from a doctor before you give notice.

You will need the following documents to register with the REO:

  • Copy of social security card (if not yet available: AHV card or health insurance card)
  • Swiss citizens: Copy of the written receipt for depositing papers (Schriftenempfangsschein) from the municipality (considered as confirmation of residence)
  • Foreigners: Copy of foreigner's ID (considered as confirmation of residence)
  • Complete application (CV, work references, diplomas, etc.), if possible in electronic form
  • Copy of the last employment contract
  • Copy of the letter of termination
  • Applications during the period of notice
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Keep all documents

You should keep documents from job searches such as job offers, job applications and rejections. Make screenshots of the online job advertisements and job applications and save all your emails. You must present these documents to your REO consultant.

Looking for a new job

You are already required to look for a new job during your period of notice. As a rule of thumb, you should make 10-12 applications per month. The REO will specify exactly how many. The applications must be distributed over the month. If you fail to make sufficient effort in searching for a new job during the notice period of two months, you will receive six to eight suspension days; if you make no effort at all, you will receive eight to 12 suspension days.  

What are suspension days?

Suspension days refer to the period in which compensation is temporarily discontinued and no daily benefits are paid. This is the case, for example, if:

  • your unemployment is your own fault
  • you make too little effort to find reasonable work
  •  you submit evidence of your job search too late (the REO must have received the form by the fifth day of the following month at the latest)
  • you fail to follow the instructions of the REO; for example, you do not apply for the jobs the REO suggests
  •  you fail to attend the review appointment
  • you wrongly obtain unemployment benefit (e.g. you fail to disclose your interim earnings to the unemployment insurance)


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