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COVID-19: Summary of the Federal Council’s measures of March 20, 2020

As a result of the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the Federal Council decided on March 20, 2020 to support companies with an additional package of measures. So that the affected companies can be relieved quickly and in a targeted manner and the continued existence of the companies, the jobs and the entire system structure is ensured, the following measures have been introduced:

Extension and simplification of short-time work applications

Short-time working can now be applied for in a simplified manner. You can now also apply for short-time work for temporary employees, self-employed persons and apprentices. In addition, it is not necessary to compensate for the overtime first. In addition to sole proprietorships, short-time work also applies to partnerships, to employed shareholders or partners and employed spouses in family businesses. The short-time work allowances have been defined differently depending on the employment or employment relationship. The waiting period has been lifted entirely. The following points must be ensured so that the short-time work applications are approved:

  • The causality between the corona virus and the operational downtime or reduced operational management must be recorded and documented. It is recommended to keep this documentation on a timeline based on the individual federal measures and their effects.
  • In the case of part-time employment or home office, it is necessary to implement a working time control. This ensures that missed workloads can be presented to the authorities or the damage can be quantified.
  • Short-time work may only be requested for employment relationships that have not been terminated.
  • The absence from work is temporary. As a result, the employment must be continued after the short-time work.
  • The loss of work must be at least 10% of the workload.
  • The reason for the downtime must not be attributable to the company risk.

In order to guarantee a basis of evidence, a comparison with the previous year, budget comparison or target / actual comparison is recommended. Similar to the insurance claim, the loss should be documented in detail.

Short-term liquidity assurance

The Federal Council has decided to approve bridging loans that can be applied for at short notice up to 10% of sales or a maximum of CHF 20 million. Bridging loans of up to CHF 500,000 can be requested from the house bank immediately. The federal government guarantees 100% for these loans. A liquidity requirement beyond this or up to CHF 20 million is guaranteed to 85% by the federal government. This tranche requires a brief review by the bank. If the company was successful before the Corona crisis and this causality can be shown, nothing speaks against a credit approval. For example, the annual accounts from the previous year can be used for this purpose. A quarterly comparison of the income from the 1st quarter of 2019 to the 1st quarter of 2020 can also be considered. According to the Federal Council, this is a loan that has a low interest rate and is refundable.

Long-term liquidity security

The Federal Council initiated these measures as a further step. We suspect that further steps will be taken to relieve the burden or continue to exist for SMEs if necessary, especially since they form the backbone of the Swiss economy. The continuation depends on the course of the pandemic. We are convinced that we can rely on our government. The federal budget is very stable and Switzerland’s debt is low.

Further measures that the Federal Council has decided are:

  • The social security contributions can be paid later without any interest consequences. We recommend that you inform the social security office in each case in a letter.
  • In addition, the interest on direct and indirect tax liabilities (cantonal and communal taxes still pending) from March 1 to December 31, 2020 are set to 0%. If you intend to postpone the tax payment, a written statement is also recommended.
  • Parents who have to interrupt their work to look after their children due to the school being closed are also entitled to compensation.
  • If someone has to be quarantined for health reasons or on the instructions of the doctor, this person is also entitled to compensation.
  • The cultural sector and the sports clubs are supported due to cancellations of occasions and sporting events. Bridging loans are also secured for this.
  • A collection freeze will apply from March 19 to April 4, 2020.

The federal regulations must be observed for all these provisions. This pandemic is a major challenge for society as a whole. We are all challenged and will be put to the test over the next few weeks. We stand together and master these challenges together.

We are happy to answer your questions. Do not hesitate to contact us on 041 726 00 46 or

We wish everyone good health!

You can download this summary here as a PDF or print it out.

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