Switzerland: Zug doctor fired for not wearing mask

A doctor in the Swiss canton of Zug was fired without notice for not wearing a mask. She says she’s being made a “pawn” in the government’s mask battle.

Switzerland: Zug doctor fired for not wearing mask
Masks are compulsory for medical staff in the canton of Zug. Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

The doctor was fired after an inspection by cantonal authorities in the central Swiss canton of Zug. 

The authorities performed the check after receiving complaints from a patient who said none of the employees of the cantonal medical practice – doctors included – were wearing masks. 

‘Just a pawn in their game’

The doctor, whose name has been withheld, told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes she was made an example of by the medical practice: “it was a difficult and unfair situation”. 

“I only signed my resignation because after a long day at work without breaks I was tired and mentally no longer up to date.”

The head doctor at the practice disagreed however, saying “this wasn’t about not wearing a mask just once”. 

“It was always clearly and verifiably communicated that all employees had to adhere to the instructions of the Federal Office of Public Health and the practice's internal protection concept” the head doctor said. 

Cantonal authorities told 20 Minutes “A patient complained because (the doctor) had not worn a mask while working. The doctor was then dismissed without notice. “

UPDATE: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's compulsory mask requirement 

“We carried out this inspection around August 20, after we received a message from the population that not all employees adhere to the obligation to wear a mask.”

“We then sought a conversation with those responsible for the practice and clearly stated that wearing a mask was a mandatory part of the protection concept for all employees.”

After dismissing the doctor, cantonal authorities promised to again inspect the premises to see if masks were being worn. 

The doctor said her main concern was with her patients – and told reporters she wanted to open up her own practice. 

“Many of them are in the middle of a treatment. Now my phone rings every day and (my) patients ask ‘what happened?’”



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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