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Employee Assistance Office


Kringel 2

Who can access the services of the Employee Assistance Office (MBS)?

The services are open to all UZH employees: academic staff (at all career stages including professors), administrative and technical staff, and PhD candidates who are matriculated but not employed at UZH. The Employee Assistance Office complements and is independent of other advisory centers or support offices at UZH.

What kinds of problems can the MBS help with?

We can provide advice and assistance for psychological and/or legal problems and difficult situations in the workplace, and offer dialogue-based support to work through employment-related conflicts (for example in the form of mediation). 

What can I expect from an MBS consultation?

We will work with you to analyze the situation, develop potential solutions and if necessary point you toward other sources of support within and outside of UZH. We aim to strengthen your own capacity to reach decisions that are right for you and to avail yourself of the options open to you. 

What does psychological counseling with the MBS involve?

Psychological counseling supports you in difficult or stressful work situations to help you find individual solutions that work for you. 

The MBS’ legal consultation comprises a neutral, independent initial meeting to discuss the situation and background and to provide advice on the most important legal aspects (rights and obligations) and options for possible further action. It therefore serves to orient you about the basic principles and legal framework in connection with work-related problems. We are not able to provide legal representation or conduct an in-depth analysis of complex issues.  

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process to help participants involved in a dispute or conflict to reach their own mutually acceptable individual solutions with the support of a neutral third party (the mediator). Mediation takes into account the needs and interests of all parties involved in the conflict as far as possible, as it is more likely that a solution worked out together by the parties involved will be acceptable long-term than one imposed by a third party. 

When can mediation be used?

Mediation may be considered when prior attempts to resolve the dispute or conflict without the involvement of a third party have not succeeded. For mediation to take place, all persons involved must explicitly and voluntarily agree to participate. 

Is there a charge for consulting the MBS?

No, our services are free of charge for UZH staff.  

How long does a counseling or consultation process with the MBS last?

We offer short-term processes of around one to three sessions. You are free to stop at any time. 

How can I make an appointment?

The best way to contact us is by e-mail at or leave a voicemail message with a brief description of your concern. We generally respond within one working day to arrange an appointment with either the psychologist or legal specialist depending on the issue. 

Can I get advice without making an appointment in advance?

To get advice without making an appointment in advance is not possible. The best way to contact us is by e-mail at or leave a voicemail message with a brief description of your concern. We generally respond within one working day to arrange an appointment with either the psychologist or legal specialist depending on the issue. 

What happens after I have contacted the MBS?

We will look at your concerns and decide whether it would be more helpful for you to discuss them with the psychologist or the legal specialist. We will then contact you to make an appointment for an initial discussion. Depending on our workload and your flexibility with times/dates, there may be a gap of a few days to a few weeks before the first session.  

Who provides the consultation?

Consultations are provided by the co-heads of the MBS. Depending on the issue, you will be referred to the psychologist or the legal specialist. Sometimes consultation with both specialists is possible. 

Are consultations with the MBS confidential?

All conversations and sessions with us are kept strictly confidential, and we are subject to professional and official confidentiality rules. The MBS is operationally and organizationally independent: no other UZH units have the right to demand information or issue instructions to the MBS, nor does the MBS have the right to issue instructions on professional or disciplinary matters to other departments. 

What languages are offered for a consultation?

Consultations are usually held in German or English. 

Does the MBS also offer group consultations?

No, apart from mediation the consultations are usually conducted on an individual basis. 

Does the MBS offer psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is not offered. If the person seeking advice so wishes, the psychological counseling sessions may include a psychological assessment in order to identify the severity of psychological difficulties for the purpose of personal orientation and assistance in deciding on possible treatment options elsewhere. 

Does the MBS offer coaching?

The MBS consultation services are designed as a short-term process lasting from one to three sessions. Depending on the issue, coaching elements may be introduced.

In contrast to a law firm or other legal advice centers, the MBS provides neither legal representation nor active support in upholding and defending your legal rights. 

Can an MBS specialist accompany me in difficult conversations with my line managers or with other offices?

The MBS does not accompany clients in conversations with line managers or other parties. However, it is always possible to use a consultation session with us to prepare for or debrief on a difficult conversation. 

Can the MBS refer grievances to the appropriate offices at UZH, or even initiate formal complaints processes?

The MBS has no authority to issue instructions or take action, i.e. everything you discuss with us remains with the MBS. Accordingly, conversations with us are absolutely confidential. In particular this means that unlike a complaints office or ombudsperson for example, conversations at MBS have no automatic consequences, and no further investigations or other processes are triggered. 

What can I do in an acute crisis or threatening situation?

In case of a mental health crisis, you can contact the following organizations: 

  • Dargebotene Hand: phone 143,
  • Emergency psychiatrist via the medical hotline (“Ärztefon”): 0800 33 66 55 
  • UniversityHospital Emergency Service: 041 044 255 11 11 
  • Crisis intervention (KIZ): Zurich 044 296 73 10, Winterthur 052 264 37 00

In a situation in which there is an immediate threat, call the police on 117. 

Weiterführende Informationen

"Is a tricky situation at work getting you all tied up in knots?"

Our MBS flyer, containing the most important information in a compact form:

"What's your problem?!"

The MBS postcard with contact details and relevant information in a nutshell: