If you are unemployed in Switzerland do you have to accept any job offer?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
If you are unemployed in Switzerland do you have to accept any job offer?
You must actively search for. a job. Image by Adrian from Pixabay

Being unemployed in Switzerland is not just about drawing benefits. You have some responsibilities to fulfil as well.


Although unemployment rate in Switzerland is very low — currently about 2.2 percent — and there is an acute labour shortage, some people can still lose their jobs for a variety of reasons.

If this happens to you, you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits, provided you have been legally working in Switzerland and contributing to the social insurance scheme — as everyone is obliged to do.

READ ALSO: What unemployment benefits are foreign workers in Switzerland entitled to?

However, if you think you can just sit home until your benefits run out, you are mistaken.

The unemployment office will expect you to actively participate in finding a new job — or accept the one they find for you.

This is what you should know

According to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) service portal, “as part of your duty to minimise the benefits paid out, you are obliged to make every reasonable effort to shorten your unemployment.”

This means that "you have to make targeted efforts to find a new job – if necessary. also outside your former profession.”

To prove that you are not sitting idly but are pro-active in your job search, you have to provide evidence to your local unemployment office each month that you are indeed looking for a job.

You can do this, for instance, by sending them copies of your job applications and any eventual responses you receive from prospective employers.

One rule you must comply with is that “you are obliged to accept a reasonable position of employment when offered.”


Yes, but how do you distinguish a ‘reasonable’ offer from an ‘unreasonable’ one?

You can relax on that score — you will not be forced to take on a job if it:

  • Does not match your usual working conditions
  • Does not take into consideration your skills and your previous line of work (this does not apply to persons under the age of 30)
  • Does not suit your personal circumstances (age, health, family)
  • Requires a daily commute of more than four hours
  • Hinders the reintegration into your own profession, assuming there is a chance of that happening within a reasonable amount of time
  • Provides you with an income which is less than 70 percent of your previous salary.

READ ALSO: How to write the perfect Swiss CV


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