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Covid-19: effective changes as from September 1, 2020

Covid-19: effective changes as from September 1, 2020

Amendments and extension of the Covid-19 unemployment insurance ordinance:


Extension of the validity period and deadline framework for insured persons

In March 2020, the Federal Council decided to increase the number of daily allowances to a maximum of 120 daily allowances for beneficiaries during the validity of the Covid-19 unemployment insurance ordinance.

The deadline framework for these persons may be extended by the period during which they were entitled to additional daily allowances (six months maximum). If necessary, their contribution deadline for the implementation of a new deadline may be extended accordingly.


Loss of work greater than 85% between March 1 and August 31, 2020: settlement periods not taken into account during this time for partial unemployment

Exceptionally, the settlement periods of a company whose loss of work was greater than 85% between March 1 and August 31 will not be taken into account (maximum four settlement periods allowed).

Thus, when the normal regime resumes on September 1, 2020, the company will again be entitled to benefits during four settlement periods in the event of partial unemployment.


Partial unemployment of trainers managing apprentices

A company that applies RHT may claim compensation in the event of a reduction in the working hours for the time spent by trainers in training apprentices during partial unemployment, even if there is no real loss of work.


Basic procedure in the event of RHT

As the number of notices and accounts to be processed is still very large, the basic procedures introduced within the framework of the RHT are maintained until December 31, 2020. Until that date, only the Covid-19 forms must be used for the RHT.

The ordinance will remain in force until December 31, 2022 at the latest - with the exception of arts. 7 and 8i, which will take effect until December 31, 2020 - provided the Parliament approves the Covid-19 bill. If this bill were to be rejected by the Federal Chambers, the Covid-19 unemployment insurance ordinance and all the measures contained therein would be repealed.

The ordinary provisions for compensation in the event of RHT will apply again from 1 September.


A number of changes will apply compared to the last few months:

  • RHT authorizations will be given for three months, after which companies wishing to extend RHT will have to submit a new updated request for further review;
  • RHT authorizations granted to companies, for a period of 6 months, end on August 31, 2020, regardless of the date indicated on the authorizations;
  • Companies that still experience job loss beyond August 31, 2020 may file a new notice. This must justify in detail the reduction in the working hours and be sent to the competent authorities at least 10 calendar days before the desired start of the RHT.

=> To continue benefiting from RHT indemnities for the month of September and the following months, companies which benefited from an RHT notice of 3 months or more on August 31, 2020 will therefore have to file a new request no later than 22 August.

=> Only companies that have benefited from an RHT notice for a total period of less than 3 months on August 31, 2020 and, on this date, have a notice in force for less than 3 months, do not need to make a new request. The validity of the notices is automatically reduced to a period of 3 months from the date of granting the compensation. As explained above, if a company in this situation wishes to renew the request after this notice, this must be done 10 days before its deadline.


Settlement of employee vacation or overtime balance

If on March 20 the Federal Council had decided that employees were not required to settle their overtime before being able to benefit from partial unemployment, from September 1, the following provisions will again be in force:

  • If at the time of the introduction of the RHT no compensation framework period is running for the company or the operating sector, the additional working hours performed by the workers during the last 6 months are deducted from their loss of work;
  • The additional working hours performed by workers during the compensation period, for the last 12 months at most, and before a further reduction in the working hours are deducted from their loss of work.


Extension of the maximum duration of compensation in the event of RHT

According to the ordinary rules, companies can claim compensation for reduced working hours for a maximum of 12 months over two years. From September 1, the maximum durations of daily allowances will be extended from 12 to 18 months.


Waiting period

The Federal Council had cancelled the waiting period to receive compensation in the event of RHT. On September 1, for each settlement period, a waiting period of one day will be deducted from the loss of work to be taken into account.


Other changes to take into account:

Extension of exceptional tax agreements for the teleworking of cross-border workers

On August 17, 2020, the OFAS clarified that social insurance coverage should not be affected by the restrictions related to the Coronavirus and declared that the coverage derogation scheme applies until December 31, 2020 regarding Germany and France, as well as for the other States (unless otherwise agreed).


Simplification of the procedure for applying for Swiss insurance against export risks

From September 1 until December 31, exporters will be able to access SERV insurance coverage more quickly. Indeed, this will increase coverage rates and simplify the requirements in terms of added value.