Employment insurance benefits after quitting, your experience?

I’m really tired of my job and my company. I just don’t have the energy or desire to work there anymore.

I was told that even if you quit, you can still claim benefits under the employment insurance while looking for another job.

I think I’d need a few months to recover and I just want to not have any pressure during that time until I’m fit to look for work again.

But I’m wondering how compatible is that with the employment insurance. Do they tend to “micromanage” people who are claiming it? I’ll also have issues with them as I can’t speak German too well (don’t usually need it for work, but I live in the German side)

Could anyone share their experience being on employment insurance benefits in CH?

Yes, you can do that, but there is a waiting period of 1 month (depends on salary and if you have children or not). Furthermore, if you quit on your own there is an additional penalty period of up to 3 months on top of that. So in the worst case, 5 months (1 month waiting period + 3 month penalty + 1 month for which you will actually get paid but only at the end of the month) until you see money again flowing into your account. I don’t know how strict they are and if they really give you the full 3 months penalty or only 1 or 2 months (probably it depends on what reasons you provide for quitting).

And I don’t know how strict they are in controlling you and how many meetings you would have to attend, but for sure you would have to send several applications every week and accept any job which is offered to you within reason and if you don’t, you will face additional penalty time.


I confirm from a fiend that went though that. they request you to fill job applications with a certain pace but they are also there to offer idea/support. In general, they are not aggressive but you need to show genuine willingness and commitment to find another position

Sorry to hear about your situation. Been there :-/

Do you want to claim or are forced to claim (for financial reasons) during the first few months / as soon as possible?
Or can you “afford” to live off savings for a few months?

I’m not destitute so I could afford it, but I’d rather not use my emergency fund if there is an alternative. I also don’t really know how long it would take to find another job, and would prefer not to add up the stress of having no income for an indefinite amount of time vs getting 80% of my previous salary for 1–2 years (most likely much longer than I’d need to get better and find a new job)

Ok that’s fair, if that’s all. I wonder how the meetings would go though if I can’t really speak German.

Sorry to hear about your situation. Just some thoughts:

Did you try to ask for an unpaid vacation? Or more vacations? If they say no, you can try to push it at least to let it looks like your company is also somewhat at fault if you quit.

Did you try to get a medical leave? It might work if you come to a hospital and complain about a burnout.


I would also suggest to try to get medical leave. If I understood correctly, you do not feel ready to work at another place immediately after quitting, because you are exhausted.
With a medical leave you have time to recover and can quit after that and are ready to go find a new job.

I also have to say that I had a very bad experience with the RAV in Zurich (=unemployment office). I was there a couple of month at the end of my studies as I did not succeed to find a job immediatly after. They should help you find a job, but for high qualified jobs, they cannot help. They were just checking that I did 4 job applications a week. They do not care that you find a job which correspond to your profile. Their one and only goal is that you get a job and they do not have to pay your unemployment benefits any longer.
What I also did not like was that only the number of applications was relevant. One week I ended up doing 3, because I did not find 4 jobs which corresponded to my profile. And immediately, they gave me a kind of fine in form of reducing unemployment benefits for a short time. So in the end, you will end up applying to every job posted just to get a negative answer in order to avoid the fine… As you can see I really hated it and I hope I will never have to go through this again!


Fortunately this is not true :slight_smile: You can refuse a job if it doesn’t suit you. The aim of the unemployment insurance is to get you out as soon as possible but also to not meet you again in less than one month because the job wasn’t for you. But I guess, it will more likely depend on your field of application.

I’ve been 3x under the unemployment insurance (life can be harsh sometimes, especially after study and in my field of work).

First of all, I invite you to watch these videos from Canton of Vaud: https://www.vd.ch/themes/economie/demandeurs-demploi/videos-multilingues-sur-lindemnisation/information-videos-on-compensation/

Secondly, if you are married and have children, you will earn 80% of your previous salary, if not, you will only earn 70%.

Thirdly, your unemployment benefit is based on your last 6 or 12 months salaries, depending on which one will give you the higher benefit.

As for the penalty, if you are married with children, you will be « punished » with a 5 days penalty, if not, it will be between 5 and 20 days (a month). If you terminate by yourself your employment agreement, if will be a 60 days penalties (~ 3 months).

Moreover, you have to do a job application. Depending on your field, it will be between 8 and 14 jobs applications in a month. For high qualified job, it’s less, between 4 - 6 job applications. Also, keep in mind that you cannot earned more than 12k of unemployment benefit.

Finally, you will have one meeting every month. Also depending on your field they will not help you to find a job because they just don’t know anything in your field and they will just check that you did your jobs applications.

In my point of view, they never helped me to find a new job, they were just checking my job applications. I kept profit of this situation to follow some English courses and other IT courses to improve my skill, and for free :slight_smile:


My question was leading up to explain my experience.
I went away for a while (10 months) and when I came back didn’t have a waiting period (for quitting myself), because more than the 4 months had passed.
This way I didn’t have “to look” for a job while I wasn’t getting money. I was free to go away etc.
I had to show I had started looking in the last weeks of my time-off.

But yes, you need to live off your savings.
Also by only applying after 10 months, I had at the time of applying only been employed 14 months in the last 24 months (24 months - 10 months off).
This considerably reduces your unemployment benefits time (from about 2 years to about 1).
This didn’t matter to me though, because I am lucky enough to be in a field where one could probably find a job in a few months even in a recession.

I have heard of expats having to bring a translator… It depends on your RAV advisor. Advisor can probably officially insist on conversation in one of the official CH language.

A friend will do, but of course it’s in the middle of a working day and may be complicated for some friends to find the time.

I have only had great experience with RAV, they gave me freedom, suggested and paid for a sensible course and were not overly pedantic on exact number of job applications. You’d have to be lucky to get someone who has clue about job profiles more than the typical salesman, hairdresser, nurse etc., but that’s not their function and maybe a bit too much to ask anyhow.

I think you need to make a great first impression, a professional CV is important, then they let you freedom for at least 6 or so months, before they put some pressure on. My experience.

I’m Swiss. I’m sure some RAV advisors will handle expats a bit “harder” in a similar situation, you know, just because :-/


Heard the same. Note that Switzerland is not like Canada so speaking another national language won’t help if it’s not a cantonal language.

Friend speaks fluent french, RAV advisor was giving them a hard time about their more basic German, had to bring a friend to help translate (to English), it was pretty obvious the advisor spoke and understood english but didn’t want to be accommodating.

Thanks for the post @boschika (and all who answered), it is relevant for me as well.

I’ve spoken just last week on this topic with one former colleague that the company let go recently, and they indicated something in line with @Yanikuza comment.

This person’s quota is/was 10 applications per month, some caveats I was told though:

  • You must register to the RAV immediately upon resignation / termination, not at the end of the notice period;
  • In case you have a term contract, e.g. as an employed freelance, you need to register three months prior to it’s expiration, even if you believe they will extend you (of course if they do then everyone happy);
  • Job applications need to start during your notice period, although your quota will be lower then;
  • Also calling HR for follow-up or speaking with recruiters (always get something in writing, even if LinkedIn) counts somewhat towards quota;
  • You have to space your applications more or less evenly, can’t do them on the first day and then be free for the rest of the month;
  • There are cross-checks with other benefits and contributions, actual contract duration, etc.
  • Penalties may apply if some of the above are not met, but seems to be highly dependent on your advisor.

I don’t remember where I read this (fact check me please) but at some point they may ask you to take a job even if it’s not quite overlapping with your skills, and it’s within less than 2hrs commute per way.

Also, from my partner’s own experience in ZH some years back, RAV advisors can be nasty at times and not very encouraging towards foreigners - but take it with a pinch of salt, might have been a bad apple.


Adding my sympathies to those already expressed.

It may have been mentioned already but unemployment insurance also gives you a quota of “vacation days”. Outside of those days, you can’t travel outside of Switzerland for, say, visiting family or taking holidays as you are meant to be available for interviews. The applications quota should be reduced when you take those vacation days.

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Since I’ve faced unemployment recently: You get 5 vacation days per 60 business days. So every 3 month you get one week off. You have to report your vacation days to the RAV. This also includes when you’re sick during unemployment. The RAV advisor is basically your boss during unemployment.

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Probably the same, but not everyone is as marketable to get a new job. Depends on job, industry, ability, age etc.

It’s more in line with the legal minimum of 4 weeks vacation per year, that is every 3 months 1 week = “Nach 60 Tagen kontrollierter Arbeitslosigkeit haben Sie Anspruch auf 1 Woche «Ferien». Das bedeutet 5 kontrollfreie Tage”

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Sorry for the mixup and thanks for the correction

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You can chose to take these 5 vacations days or not. I’ve never use this right because in reality, being unemploy, is like being in holiday, at least, in my personnal view :upside_down_face:

Also, you can cumulate this vacation and take at least 2 weeks.

Well, it’s not really like a boss since in most case you will never be in contact with him, except 1x every month just to sum up your month and your mood, that’s it.

The biggest benefit of the RAV I see is that once I FIRE I get like 2 years of free money to put into an emergency fund instead of selling my stocks lol.
RAV is like 4h a month of work (max!) for 70% of your income… Not a bad deal imho