Lindemann Law

Understanding Swiss Employment Law: 5 Key FAQs

Navigating the landscape of employment law can be daunting, especially in a country known for its precision and regulatory thoroughness, such as Switzerland. Employment agreements are fundamental not only to the hiring process but also to maintaining a fair and clear work environment. In Switzerland, the structure and requirements of these agreements are shaped by both statutory protections and flexible employment practices.

This article delves into the key aspects of Swiss employment agreements, offering insights into their formation, flexibility, and the conditions under which they can be terminated. Understanding these components can help both employers and employees ensure compliance and make informed decisions.

  1. Do employment agreements require a specific form in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, employment agreements, as well as other contracts governing the performance of individual work, do not require a specific form. An employment contract is established when two parties agree on the performance of work in exchange for remuneration and the integration of one party into the work organization of the other. Once an employment agreement is established, the statutory social protection regulations apply.

  1. Is Swiss Employment Law rather flexible or rigid?

Employment Law is a form of social law. The Swiss Code of Obligations (CO) and the Labor Act (LA) contain multiple statutory provisions that may not be deviated from to the disadvantage of the employee. In Switzerland, employees are protected against the consequences of incapacity for work without fault and unemployment. Furthermore, while working time is regulated and not as flexible as required, the freedom to terminate employment does apply. However, employment agreements cannot be terminated under specific circumstances, and certain events may extend the contractual or statutory termination period.

  1. Who is allowed to work in Switzerland?

An employment agreement may be construed and governed under Swiss Law even if the place of work is not in Switzerland. Otherwise, Swiss citizens and foreign nationals with work permission may perform work under an employment agreement in Switzerland. EU nationals can work in Switzerland for three months before they require a residence permit. All other foreigners initially require an employment agreement and a work permit. The number of work permits issued is limited.

  1. Can employment agreements be terminated easily?

The most convenient way to terminate an employment agreement is by mutual agreement. However, termination agreements are subject to specific requirements and should be designed carefully to avoid unnecessary risks. Otherwise, Swiss employment law is rather liberal, and the statutory termination periods range from 1 to 3 months. However, under certain conditions, the contractual or statutory termination period may be extended by up to 6 months. Mistakes during the release process can become costly immediately.

  1. How can LINDEMANNLAW assist you?

LINDEMANNLAW advises national and international clients on all aspects of Swiss Employment Law. Our advisors have proven practical experience across the HR lifecycle. We are experienced in drafting and implementing employment regulations and contracts. Additionally, we assist our clients during relocations, transactions, and the termination of employment relationships. This includes representation in court as well as negotiation of termination agreements. To our corporate clients, we offer advice during the set-up or adjustment of existing HR systems, including remuneration and bonus schemes. In doing so, we are committed to increasing both the profitability and sustainability of employment relations.

If you have any questions about Swiss Employment and/or Social Security Law, please contact Dr. Emanuel Tschannen.

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