A labour scheme offering shortened working hours with the state subsidising lost wages has been extended amid fears of a global economic slowdown.
The cabinet decided to grant companies compensation for 18 months if they reduce work hours instead of laying off their employees.
The measure will take effect from January 2012 and be valid for two years. The regular maximum length for short-time work is 12 months.
The economics ministry said short-time work was an effective way to prevent job cuts as Switzerland’s export-oriented industry is suffering from the impact of the strong Swiss franc.
The euro lost about 20 per cent in value against the franc over the past two years. In addition unemployment, currently at 2.8 per cent, is expected to rise slightly next year.
In September, parliament approved a package of measures worth SFr870 million ($966 million) to prop up the industry. About SFr500 million of the cash plan is earmarked for the short-time work scheme.
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