Request unemployment benefits while being pregnant

My wife’s work contract will finish at the end of July 2023 and we are expecting a baby (the 3rd…) who will born if everything goes well around mid-Sep 2023.

How does it work with the unemployment benefits? Would be possible to request it even knowing than soon she will have a baby? What would the RAV say when they will see my wife pregnant requesting the unemployment benefits?

I looked at internet but my German sucks so I am searching in English… I think that there is a maternity leave under the RAV and it looks like that if someone is under fixed-term contract, should start looking for a new job three months before the end of the contract.

My wife currently works as a teacher assistant but actually she is Spanish teacher, so she could apply only to Spanish teacher jobs which there are just a few and it is something she is already doing without luck, and hopefully she will not get an offer like until this moment. Then request the unemployment benefits, then maternity leave under the RAV, then again unemployment until she finds a job. Will it work?


Here are some legal advice:

During the entire pregnancy and the 16 weeks following childbirth, the employing entity may not dismiss an employee, except for reasons leading to immediate dismissal for just cause (Swiss Code of Obligations, Art. 336c).

If you are pregnant and have a fixed-term contract, it will end on the date agreed in the contract. However, if you give birth during the term of your contract, it will be extended until the last day of your maternity leave.

In casu, your wife is pregnant however her fixed-term contract will end before the birth of your child, so her contract won’t be extended until the last day of her maternity leave.


In Switzerland, you are entitled to receive unemployment benefit if you meet the following conditions:

  • You have become completely or partially unemployed.
  • You have worked as an employee for at least 12 months in the last 2 years (possible exceptions).
  • Switzerland is your main place of residence. If this is not the case, please refer to the section below on foreign nationals and cross-border commuters.
  • You have passed the age of compulsory education (15 years old), you have not yet reached retirement age (64 years old for women, 65 for men) and you are not receiving a retirement pension (AHV/OASI).

You must also:

  • be ready and immediately available to accept a job that matches your professional profile;
  • start looking for a new job during the notice period;
  • start looking for work three months before the end of your contract if you are on a fixed-term contract.

The last 3 conditions may be a problem only if your wife didn’t look after another job 3 months before the end of her fixed-term contract. For the “be ready and immediately available”, it will depends on the health of your wife, if she can work during the month of August, it won’t be a problem.

Moreover, a pregnant woman who is unemployed and in good health normally receives her unemployment benefits until she gives birth, as she is considered fit for employment. If she is unable to work before giving birth for reasons related to her pregnancy, she is considered to be ill. In this case, she will only receive daily benefits for 30 days from the beginning of her incapacity and provided she meets the other conditions for entitlement to benefits (art. 28 LACI). The total number of unemployment benefits paid out due to incapacity for work (illness, accident or pregnancy) is limited to 44 during the entire benefit period, all events combined. If the inability to work lasts more than 30 consecutive days, the insured person is considered unfit for work and loses his/her right to benefits (art. 28 para. 1 LACI).


The payment of daily unemployment benefits is suspended upon childbirth. The unemployment file is cancelled. If the conditions are met, the maternity allowance will be paid for 98 calendar days (or more if the canton of residence grants higher benefits than the federal insurance). An application must be submitted to the AHV compensation fund. The maternity allowance is not granted automatically.

The maternity allowance will be calculated on the basis of the determining salary prior to the period of unemployment. For mothers who receive unemployment benefits, the amount of the maternity allowance is at least equal to the amount of the unemployment benefit received before the birth. The daily allowance from the unemployment insurance is reinstated after the maternity allowance has been exhausted. You must re-register with the unemployment office.

Hope these information could help you and good luck with your 3rd child :blush:


I second what Yanikuza wrote. Your wife’s employment contract will have to be extended, and she can claim compensation from the EO social insurance during her legal entitlement to maternity leave. That is much better than claiming unemployment benefits (ALV), which comes with a lot of obligations (RAV) and mild harrassment.

On EO benefits, your wife will be able to relax and enjoy her maternity leave with no obligations. It’s no skin off her employer’s nose, since she gets paid by the EO and not by her employer.


Thank you @Yanikuza and @Daniel, really appreciated!
The problem is that the school director already informed my wife that most probably they will not extend her contract (it was before we knew she is pregnant) - the school is changing the requirements for the teacher assistants and she is impacted by this changes. So in case of extension it looks like that it would be only close to the new academic year in case they are not able to find new employees that match the new requirements and by this date they will know she is pregnant so I don’t think they will extend the contract anyway

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Ok. I kind of overlooked the part about the limited-term employment contract. In that case, the contract will end at the predetermined time, as you suspected. The protection against being let go does not apply because she is not being let go, but simply ending her employment as per the contract.

So she does, as you expected, have to claim unemployment insurance (ALV) and deal with the RAV (e.g. apply for jobs, etc.).

But she does still have a right to maternity leave paid by the EO after the baby is born. The benefits are equal to 80 percent of her last salary (not 80 percent of unemployment benefits). To claim paid maternity leave from the EO, she has to be eligible for unemployment insurance (ALV) benefits at the time that the baby is born.