The employment law is the most important element that governs employment in Switzerland for residents and for foreign nationals. Any foreign individual is allowed to work in Switzerland only after signing the Swiss individual contract of employment.
Types of employment contracts
The individual employment contract is the most common type of employment contract used in Switzerland. It can be signed for a limited or unlimited period of time. The employer is obliged to pay remuneration, while the employee must render labour services in favour of the employer.
Normal employment contracts refer to contracts that have very specific terms and conditions applicable to the content, notice of termination and conclusion of the contract.
In the case of such contracts, the Swiss Federal Government of the Cantonal Authorities is responsible for enacting the respective terms and conditions stipulated in the respective contracts.
CLAS are collective labour agreements that are also available in Switzerland. These contracts are used when the employees or the employees reunited as an organization or trade union are allowed to formulate the terms and conditions for the conclusion.
Duties of the employees
According to the Swiss legislation, employees have two major duties: to provide labour and duties of fidelity. Employers must respect working hours set according to the contract, with the possibility of part-time work or work sharing. Specific regulations stipulate the maximum number of working hours allowed within a week, as well as night shifts or working hours on Sundays. If the employer requests the employee to perform extra working hours, these must be remunerated.
In regard to the duty of fidelity, also known as the duty to desist, the employee must uphold the justified interests of the employer to the extent of due fidelity.
Duties of the employer
The employer must pay the corresponding remuneration for the work performed and it can be paid by the hour, by day, by month or by year, according to the conditions specified in the employment contract. The employer must also protect the justified interests of the employees, also known as the duty of welfare. Nevertheless, statute law does not regulate these duties.
Employment as an EU/EFTA citizen
Citizens of the EU and EFTA member states have the right to travel, work and live in Switzerland. It’s not mandatory to have an authorization for short–term employment (up to three months or 90 days of the calendar year). However, it is necessary to register as Swiss employees.
If the employment is lasting more than three months, the employees must obtain a residence permit, obtained from the local authorities of the commune where they reside.
Since 2015, citizens of the EU or the EFTA who are looking for jobs in Switzerland are allowed to obtain a residence permit if they have sufficient financial resources to cover their living expenses.
Employment as a third - country citizen
Third-country citizens who are residents of Switzerland must obtain authorization before doing any type of work relating to self–employment. The authorization is granted on justifiable economic grounds. if certain financial, personal and business requirements are met and considering Switzerland strict quota system for third-country nationals who wish to work in the country.
Foreign nationals who are married to Swiss citizens or to a person who holds a permanent residence permit are not required to obtain additional authorization to work as self–employed in Switzerland.
If a Swiss employer offers foreign citizens employment in Switzerland, the respective employer must submit an application to the cantonal immigration authorities. If the application is accepted, it will be forwarded to the State Secretariat for Migration. The decision of the State Secretariat for Migration doesn’t constitute authorization to enter Switzerland.
Third-country citizens are granted a work permit in Switzerland only under certain conditions:
The established quotas have not been used up;
No person with equivalent qualifications can be found in Switzerland, EU or EFTA member states;
Qualified workers, managers and specialists are admitted to work in Switzerland;
Integration criteria such as language skills, age or the ability to adjust to a new social environment or a new occupation.
Key points of employment in Switzerland
The probation period in Switzerland is 1 month. If agreed by collective or individual contract, a longer period can be considered, but should not exceed 3 months.
The notice period in Switzerland is seven days’ notice for the probation period, one month notice for the first year of employment, two months’ notice starting with the second to the ninth year of employment and three months’ notice starting with the ninth year of employment.
The Swiss employment law does not employers to terminate employment relationships during the periods which the employee is prevented from performing work, be it fully or partially by no fault of their own. This includes the periods of time during pregnancy and during the 16 weeks following the lying-in of an employee, if the respective employee is required to participate at a foreign aid service assignment abroad by the competent federal authority or during the compulsory performance of Swiss military service.
The amount of annual leave provided under Swiss law is four weeks for employees and apprentices that are over 20 years old and five weeks for employees and apprentices that are up to 20 years old. Employees are entitled to maternity leave for up to 14 weeks (98 days). Mothers receive daily allowances that sum up to 80% of their wages. However, the allowance can’t be more than CHF 196 per day. Employees are generally entitled to paid sick leave. The days allowed depend on the years of service and on the cantonal law.
Employees have also a duty of fidelity in Switzerland. The duty of fidelity refers to the duty of the employees to uphold the justified interests of the employers to the extent of due fidelity. This duty is also known as the duty to desist.
If you want to work or hire people for your business in Switzerland you can contact our consultants familiarized with the Employment law, in order for you to receive the best employment advices.
Considering the above factors, it is best to seek professional advice if you want to obtain a work permit in Switzerland. Switzerland offers many great employment opportunities, but it is necessary to know the legislation, the requirements as well as the advantages of working in the country.
For more details and assistance regarding employment in Switzerland, you can reach out to our expert consultants. Our highly experienced and well-informed team is ready to answer all your questions and give you all the help you might need.