Employment Law in Switzerland

The employment law in Switzerland governs the employment activities of the country. It states the duties and obligations of the employee and employer and the types of contracts available. Contact our company formation experts in Switzerland for more information.
Anna Ledenyova
All occupational and employment activities are regulated by the Swiss Employment Law which require a number of documents to be lodged as well as other contractual agreements to be signed before businesses can begin hiring or before an individual can begin work.

The main first steps are to sign an employment contract. A number of contract types are currently offered under Swiss Employment Law.

Types of employment contracts

The majority of workers in Switzerland are under the Individual Contract of Employment contract, where the person who is employed is simply required to work for their employer in order for the employer or business to operate their services. This contract is able to last for a set amount of time, or for an undetermined timeline. This contract also requires employers to fund remuneration.

One of Switzerland's other popular working contracts is the Normal Contract of Employment. This contract features a terms and conditions component which highlights an adherence for the employee to recognise the termination of the contract. This type of contract is regulated by the Swiss Federal Government of the Cantonal Authorities of which are in control of enforcing whichever terms and conditions are found in the contract.

A contract in which the employer or business is in control of the terms of the contract, rather than the Cantonal Authorities, is the Collective Labour Agreement. This agreement is developed by the hiring party who are also in control of the terms and clauses within the contract and, on top of this, are also the body in charge of termination of the contract.
If you have a business or are planning on hiring in Switzerland, we suggest you speak with one of our business consultants in Switzerland for more information on Employment Laws as well as the required legal bodies which are to be reported to prior to hiring employees.

What are the duties of an employee?

Regarding Swiss Employment Law, there are usually only two main legal duties that must be followed when working for a Swiss company, which are: providing labour and fidelity duties.

Duty to provide labour

An employee's duty in Switzerland, to provide labour, is simply described as working to provide the services and employers providing. As the law states, all of the labour is required to be performed by the employee, unless another agreement has been made to include other individuals.

On top of this, employees must also follow the working hours determined by the employer. The term 'working hours,' is the number of hours an employee is required to work and perform services for their employer during each shift. In Switzerland, there are a number regulations controlling the maximum number of hours an employee is allowed to work, especially during nighttime hours and Sundays. Employers are allowed to apply for additional overtime hours although the employees must be paid an additional and increased rates for these hours.

Duties of fidelity

The Swiss employee fidelity duties are described as an employees' duty to support the business or employer to their required fidelity levels. This can also be called 'duty to desist.'

Duties of the employer

The leading duty of an employer is to correctly pay their employees. Additionally, the employer is required indefinitely to pay their employees the agreed amount within the employment contract. As both parties agreed to the contract, it must be fulfilled on both ends.

Employee payment timelines will depend on the length of time an employee providers labour for. On top of this, payment can be determined and paid by either hour, day, month or annually.

Other duties which employers are required to adhere to are welfare duties, though not regulated by law, it is a responsibility left to the employer, a responsibility for them to ensure an employees rights and interests are protected.

10 Things You Didn't Know About the Swiss Business Culture.