Easy guide to short-time working compensation

Businesses and, temporarily, other groups of people can apply for short-time working if they incur work stoppages due to the coronavirus. Thanks to short-time working compensation, a proportion of salaries can continue to be paid, jobs can be secured and unemployment prevented.

The process described below is based on Federal law, is explained at http://www.arbeit.swiss and implemented in the same way by all cantons.

Notice of changes due to decisions taken by the Federal Council

As of 31 May 2020:

  • apprentices and people in a position comparable to that of an employer are no longer entitled to short-time working compensation
  • a pre-registration period of 10 days before the start of short-time working has been reintroduced

Please find further details on the webpages of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) relating to short-time working compensation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic:  

1. Entitlement to short-time working compensation

Due to the extraordinary situation, further groups of people are by way of exception and temporarily entitled to short-time working compensation:

  • People who are working under a fixed-term employment contract
  • People providing their services to an organisation for temporary work
  • People who are working in an on-call employment who have worked in the same company for at least six months

2. Advance notification of short-time working

  • First, you must get the consent of all employees affected by short-time working regarding the introduction of short-time working. You must confirm their consent in writing on the form.
  • Fill out the form «Voranmeldung von Kurzarbeit» (advance notification of short-time working) and sign it. On the form, you must indicate from which of the following unemployment insurance funds («Arbeitslosenkasse») you would like to receive your short-time work compensation:
    Arbeitslosenkasse Kanton Zürich, www.alk.zh.ch
    Arbeitslosenkasse SYNA, www.syna.ch
    Arbeitslosenkasse UNIA, www.alk.unia.ch
  • Include the organization chart of your company. If your company compromises several departments, state the number of employees per organisational unit.

This form was updated by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on 29 May 2020. If you’ve already submitted an advance notification using the previous form, it is also valid and there is no need to submit it again. For future advance notifications, please use the form from the link.

Pre-registration period:
The advance notification must be submitted 10 days before the start of short-time working. The postmark will serve as proof.

There are three options for submitting the documents:

  • E-mail them to voranmeldung.kurzarbeit@vd.zh.ch
  • Mailbox Kantonale Verwaltung Zürich
    (Zurich cantonal administration)
    Walcheplatz 2: in the corridor
  • By post
    Amt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit
    Stampfenbachstrasse 32
    8090 Zürich

3. Ruling of the unemployment insurance

  • If information is missing, you will be contacted via telephone or e-mail and asked to submit it.

The ruling can state: 

  • «Gegen die Auszahlung von Kurzarbeitsentschädigung erheben wir keinen Einspruch.» This means that the application for short-time working has been approved. Due to the current situation, approval is now being granted for 6 months.
  • «Gegen die Auszahlung von Kurzarbeitsentschädigung erheben wir teilweise Einspruch.» This means that the application for short-time work has been partially approved. In most cases, it concerns the period of time for which the approval is granted or other reasons stated in the ruling.
  • «Gegen die Auszahlung von Kurzarbeitsentschädigung erheben wir Einspruch.» This means that the application for short-time work has been denied.

The unemployment insurance fund that you indicated on the form «Voranmeldung für Kurzarbeit» will also be notified of the ruling.


4. Introduction of short-time working

  • You must wait for for the pre-registration period of 10 days if you intend to claim short-time working compensation for you employees. This also applies if you have already received approvals for March with an advance notification period of 3 days. Your ruling does not have to be adjusted.
  • The unemployment insurance fund assumes that you have taken into account the start date indicated on the ruling of the unemployment insurance when you calculated the lost working hours. If your company has been already at an earlier time affected by official measures or economic reasons relating to the pandemic and if you submitted the advance notification before or on 31 March 2020, you can apply for short-time working compensation from this date (usually 17 March 2020). The start date indicated on the ruling does not apply here.
  • From the moment that short-time working is introduced, you must keep time sheets (excel sheet) or the appropriate proof of absences, so that the unemployment insurance fund can check the planned working time and lost working hours.
  • Reimbursement for the unemployment compensation is based on the period from the introduction of short-time work until the end of the month. The settlement period is 1 month (calendar month). Each month is reimbursed separately. The settlement application must be submitted within 3 months after the end of the settlement period.


5. Application for reimbursement of short-time working compensation

Which unemployment insurance fund («Arbeitslosenkasse») have you chosen for the reimbursement of short-time working compensation?

Arbeitslosenkasse Kanton Zürich

  • Fill in the e-form «E-Formular Kurzarbeitsentschädigung der Arbeitslosenkasse Kanton Zürich» (e-form short-time working compensation unemployment insurance fund Canton of Zurich).
    Retrieve the e-form at the link indicated below, where you can  also find important information on filling in the necessary data. A support form to help you with calculating this data is provided.

    Prepare the following for upload :
    proof of actual working hours (e.g. time sheets)
    - proof of the number of employees
    - proof of planned working hours
    - proof of salary total

    If you have used the support-form for calculations: Save the filled-in support form in PDF format. You can submit it as proof of the number of employees, planned working hours and salary total.

Please note that at present both the e-form and all accompanying information are only available in German.

Arbeitslosenkasse SYNA or UNIA


6. Reimbursement of short-time working compensation

  • The payment will be made to the bank account that you indicated on the form «Antrag und Abrechnung von Kurzarbeitsentschädigung».
  • Due to the large number of applications that we receive every day, the processing will take some time. There can be payment delays.


Where can I find further information on short-time working compensation?

If your advance notification of short-time working has been denied, we recommend you look at other support options here: