Labour Laws Switzerland

  1. The cantonal employment inspectorates are chiefly responsible for the protection of employees. Persons belonging to numerous professions have formed professional associations or trade unions.
  2. These organizations represent the interests of their members and pay due attention to overall economic aspects. Owing to the agreements concluded by social partners on both sides of industry, strikes are rare in Switzerland.
Employment contract
  1. An Employment contract is a contract between the employer and employee to set down the working relationship in writing.
  2. The law does not foresee any special form for this except apprenticeship contract, a temporary employment contract which are governed by the law of the country.
  3. Here are the important points of an employment contract:
    1. the trial period may not exceed 3 months
    2. the employment contract may not contain any immoral or illegal tasks
    3. the period of notice must be clearly stated
  4. The General Labour Agreement (GLA) is a written contract between one or several employers or their representatives and employees' federations (trade unions).
  5. It contains provisions bearing on the employment relationships between employer and employee as well as further provisions directed at the contracting parties of the General Labour Agreement.
  6. A GLA is to be adhered to if employees and employers belong to an affiliated federation or trade union or if its applicability has been agreed in another way.
  7. If the GLA has been declared generally binding by the competent authority, it is applied for the relevant branch irrespective of federation or trade union membership.
  8. The GLA does not stipulate otherwise, only provisions that are more favourable for the employee may be included in the individual employment contract.
    Limited employment contract
  9. This type of contract, the duration of which is defined and laid down by both contracting parties (employer and employee), loses its validity on expiry of the period agreed.
  10. If the contract implicitly enters into effect again on expiry of the agreed period, it is considered as an unlimited contract.
  11. As a rule, it cannot be terminated in advance.
Unlimited employment contract
  1. This type of contract, the duration of which is not fixed, may be terminated by one of the two parties with due respect of the period of notice and the date for giving notice.
  2. If requested, the party giving notice must give written grounds for his/her decision.
  3. The employer and employee may at any time agree on the termination of their employment relationship.
  4. In such a case, one speaks of concluding a contract for the termination of the employment relationship by mutual consent.
  1. There is no statutory minimum wage in Switzerland.
  2. However, some General Labour Agreements stipulate minimum wages for certain branches, for example in the hotel and gastronomic branches.
  3. Employees are entitled to a special level of remuneration for work at night, on Sundays and public holidays.
  4. For regular night work the employment law foresees a compulsory pay increase of 10%.
Wage system
  1. At present wages are still determined by the principle of seniority in Switzerland.
  2. However, employers are increasingly going over to the system of payment by result both in the public and the private sector.
  3. Women's wages are in general and irrespective of the level of professional qualifications and usually lower than men's.
Working Hours
  1. The maximum legal working time amounts to 45 hours a week for employees in industrial enterprises, for office staff, technical personnel and other employees, including sales assistants in large retail businesses.
  2. For all other salaried persons, the upper limit lies at 50 hours.
· The statutory annual minimum entitlement is fixed at:
  1. four weeks for employees and apprentices aged over 20;
  2. five weeks for employees and apprentices up to their 20th year.
Maternity leav
  1. Switzerland (except Geneva) does not have maternity leave as such.
  2. There is a form of "maternity protection", but this may vary from one branch and workplace to another.
  3. However, the Swiss labor laws forbids women to work in the first eight weeks following birth.
  4. From the 9th to the end of the 16th week mothers may only work with their consent.
  5. Continued wage payments during maternity depend on the length of the employment relationship.
  6. In the first year of employment wages are paid for at least three weeks.
  7. Wages are continued to be paid for proportionally longer periods with increasing seniority and in accordance with many
  8. The Swiss legislation also foresees further measures directed at the protection of women during their pregnancy and the initial period following birth:
    1. for the time devoted to breast-feeding,
    2. a ban on discrimination,
    3. the organization of working schedules,
    4. protection from dismissal, etc.
Periods of notice
  1. During the trial period either party may terminate the contract at any time in compliance with the seven-day period of notice.
  2. However, written agreements deviating from the standard employment contract or the General Labor Agreement may be concluded.
  3. After the trial period the contract may be terminated at the end of any month, whereby in the first year of employment the employee is entitled to a one-month, from the second to the completed ninth year of employment a two-month and thereafter a three-month period of notice.
  4. These periods may be modified by a written agreement, a standard employment contract or General Labor Agreement.

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