How coronavirus has devastated the Swiss job market

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the Swiss job market, cutting available jobs in all industries and in all regions.

How coronavirus has devastated the Swiss job market
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo for Unsplash

Overall, there has a been a 27 percent decrease in available job ads from the first quarter of 2020 to the second. In some industries, the impact has been far more pronounced. 

It is the most significant slump in Swiss job figures in recent years, more significant even than that seen as a result of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, reports Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes

The study was a joint project between employment agency Adecco and the University of Zurich. 

Every industry takes a hit

Although the coronavirus has had an uneven impact on different industries in Switzerland, job vacancies have declined across the board. 

The lowest decline was seen in the natural sciences and technology, where 17 percent fewer jobs were available. 

The construction industry saw an 18 percent decline. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the personal services and hospitality industries saw a far more significant decline in job advertisements – with 39 percent fewer job ads. 

Office and administrative jobs – which may have seemed less vulnerable to the impact of the coronavirus – have also declined considerably. There has been a 35 percent drop in these sectors. 

Here there and everywhere

Although the coronavirus has hit some areas far harder than others, the economic fallout has been more uniform. 

Coronavirus in Switzerland: Why have the French and Italian-speaking regions been so hard hit? 

In French and Italian-speaking Switzerland there has been a decrease in vacancies of 29 percent – just above that of German-speaking Switzerland. 

Eastern Switzerland was the least affected, however there is still a 24 percent loss of available jobs in the region. 


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Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad