Regional employment centres (RECs)

Regional employment centres (RECs) are state institutions that work with cantonal authorities to help the unemployed to return to the labour market. There are around 120 such centres around the country that provide services both to employers and jobseekers.

According to information from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which is the Swiss authority in charge of the labour market, the main goal of RECs is to reintegrate unemployed workers as quickly as possible and in a sustainable manner on the labour market. RECs obtain information from jobseekers and maintain a database of job vacancies. At the same time, they provide job seekers with various support services and guidance aimed at improving employment prospects. To this effect, RECs and private employment centres must strive to work closely together.

People who intend to benefit from unemployment insurance benefits are required by law to register with an REC. These centres are financed from the unemployment insurance fund. The cantons establish and run RECs.

RECs provide the following services for unemployed persons:

  • regular interviews
  • support in looking for a job
  • information about jobs available
  • placement in courses, training companies, exchange semesters and employment schemes
  • referral to other institutions, e.g. vocational, educational and career guidance offices,
  • promotion of a self-employed activity
  • payment of contributions and daily travelling expenses and weekly travelling and accommodation expenses

RECs are also required to carry out verifications to prevent irregularities.

Employers may also use the services of RECs. In addition to finding work for job seekers, RECs offer the following:

  • orientation allowances
  • training allowances
  • traineeship allowances
  • preventive measures for workers at risk of becoming unemployed