Burnout, sickness insurance, RAV

Hi all,

Looking for other people’s experiences and advice.

I have been severely burned out & depressed for a while now. After all possible avenues (intense therapy, reduction of all activity besides the day job, hypnotherapy, more rest, no travel, etc) have failed, I was forced to be signed off work. This was just about 6 months ago, and, as expected, since then I have been fired. Now I am receiving the daily sickness insurance, but they are starting to put a LOT of pressure on me to resume activity ASAP. Also, as expected.

I am most certainly not ready to resume work yet, and my therapist agrees 100%. However, he is also aware that the insurance company will only get meaner from here onwards, and will start making more demands (some are beyond unreasonable, and very expensive, but I won’t go into that here). Some of these demands are also quite damaging to my specific situation & will do more harm than good for my course of treatment.

As such, my therapist made a suggestion to “appease” the insurance company and reduce my incapability to work by a small % (eg. 10-20%). He says that in that case, the insurance company will pay a % of my salary (eg. 80%), and RAV pays the rest (say, 20%).

I am very uncomfortable with this. (1) I truly am incapable of working, or even searching for work, which is not fair on the system (RAV) and (2) my understanding is that RAV only pays if you are at least 40% unemployed (is that correct? I struggled to find a straight answer), so that “strategy” would not work, anyhow. I will end up with even less pay, and its likely the insurance company will demand more, expensive, treatments out-of-pocket, which I then won’t be able to afford and end up being in breach of contract which they can point to to cease payments altogether…

Has anyone been in such a situation? Would appreciate any experiences or advice.

Sorry you’re going through this, the last thing you need when dealing with burnout is more hassle from your employer and the people who are meant to be helping you.

I would seek legal advice. This doesn’t seem right to me on several aspects (I’m no specialist and may be wrong):

  • your employer should not be allowed to fire you while being on medical leave.

  • the insurance company may be able to ask for a counter expertise of your doctor’s diagnosis but absent that, they are in no position to question an official diagnosis given by an actual doctor. Work incapacity is work incapacity, they should have to deal with that.

Sorry I can’t help on the RAV point.


When I read stories like this, it always makes me angry. Insurances always trying not to pay instead of fulfilling their part of the contract.
Really sorry to hear about your situation.
I can only write about my experience with Suva. I had a bad accident a few years ago, always arguing with them. I never gave in and in the end they paid. I never used an attorney or so, I just kept pushing them, did examinations that they requested (and paid for). The big difference is that the damage was to my chassis, not to my brain. I alwayd had the strength to stand up to them. I understand that you might not have the energy for that. Do you handle the insurance yourself or do you have a partner or friend helping you?

Unfortunately, but not really a surprise Switzerland is a 3rd world country in this aspect. You are only protected for a limited amount of time before you can (and will) get fired:

Your employer cannot simply dismiss you while you are on sick leave. If you are absent from work because of illness for a longer time, you are protected from dismissal for a limited period:

  • 30 days in the first year of work;
  • 90 days from the 2nd to the 5th year of work; and
  • 180 days from the 6th year of work.


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