HR Solutions & Employee Relations in Switzerland with IRIS

IRIS HR Consulting has experience helping businesses grow in Switzerland. Without expert guidance, it can otherwise be risky and costly to leave local laws and legislation open to interpretation. For a scalable, compliant operation, IRIS can manage your HR in Switzerland to help businesses hire, recruit, and pay staff overseas in new, unfamiliar countries. As a popular destination for businesses, IRIS can navigate local barriers – from culture to compliance – to arrive at a rewarding opportunity for your business to thrive in this exciting marketplace.

Take your business to Switzerland with IRIS HR Consulting.

HR in Switzerland

Global expansion in Switzerland

Due to its central location in Europe, Switzerland offers a variety of languages and culture. Part of the single market with high skilled labour force and a low unemployment rate, Switzerland has one of the world’s highest per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Switzerland is known for its highly developed service sector from financial services to high technology manufacturing and a strong pharmaceutical industry. It has a culture for innovation that, when paired with its history of economic strength, are two key, guiding attractions that fortifies continuous investment in Switzerland.

A Guide to Employing Staff in Switzerland

Everything you need to know about the employment laws and compliance requirements in this country

Establishing your Business in Switzerland

Embarking on a global expansion is a strategic move to gain extra value from exciting foreign markets, which are constantly evolving and full of opportunity. But the international stage isn’t always easy to navigate.

For example, Swiss employment is regulated by the federal employment law, individually agreed contractual terms, the canton specific law, and collective agreements.

Before establishing your operation in the Swiss market, you must ensure compliance with employment law.


Swiss Employment Laws

When first expanding your business into Switzerland, navigating local laws, legislation and rules of employment is no mean feat, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the country’s driving policies. Throughout Europe, these laws are almost never universal. Rather, employment is dynamic and reflects the country’s social, economic, cultural opportunities.

Did you know?

In Switzerland, healthcare insurance coverage is the responsibility of the employee to secure. Although the employer is not obliged to arrange or pay for these costs, it is commonplace to do so.

Working in Switzerland

Hiring & Recruitment in Switzerland

When getting your first hire overseas, you will need to negotiate terms of employment. But that requires local knowledge, strict compliance, and an understanding of what to include in an offer.

For foreign hires, work permits will only be granted to qualified employees and where the employer is unable to fill vacancy with Swiss or EU individuals.  

Those who are EU (European Union) or EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss nationals will not be required to obtain permits for work, unless they plan to do so for more than 90 days in a calendar year.

Work Visas in Switzerland

To work in Switzerland, you will require a visa. The Swiss work visa is known as the ‘national’ or D visa, which falls under one of the Switzerland long stay visas. For visa holders, workers are permitted to remain in Switzerland until the visa expires.

Eligibility for a visa will depend on the nationality of the worker, along with other qualifying conditions. This includes:

  • The qualification of the work, if they have any prior experience, and/ or specific expertise.
  • A job is waiting for a work to enter the country.
  • A worker is permitted entry under the annual quota for Swiss work visas.

Employment rights & contracts in Switzerland

The term of employment should justify the contract. The majority of contracts may be either written or oral. Yet, in certain situations, a written contract in mandatory including; temporary contacts, apprenticeships, travelling salesman’s contracts, sailor’s contracts, collective agreements between employer, employers’ associations and trade unions.

Typically, a contract should mention the following:

  •          Name(s)
  •          Date of Employment
  •          Job Title and duties
  •          Hours of Work
  •          Remunerations 

Key provisions must be notified in writing to the employee:

  •         Non remuneration overtime
  •         Amendments to probation period
  •         Amendments to notice period
  •         Non-competition clauses

What are the Working Hours in Switzerland?

The maximum standard working week in Switzerland is 45 to 50 hours. The typical working week is between 40 and 42 hours per week. 

Overtime in Switzerland

Overtime is compensated with time off in lieu or overtime pay at 125% of the employee’s usual salary. Overtime is limited to two hours per day over the 45/50 hour maximum working hours and 170/140 hours per year.

Admin and technical staff are paid their normal salary for the first overtime 60 hours per year then receive the additional 25% premium from the 61st hour worked onwards. Senior level management employees may be exempted from overtime pay.

Public Holidays in Switzerland

In Switzerland, public holidays are established by the cantons and, therefore, are different from one canton to another, with the exception of 1st August which is an official federal holiday.

Although there is no statutory rule or regulation entitling employees to be paid during public holidays except 1st August, in practice individual employment contracts, collective agreements or custom practice often make public holidays paid.

Vacation or Annual Leave

This entitlement typically covers 4 weeks of paid leave per year for employees aged 20 and above or 5 weeks if under the age of 20. 

Sick Leave in Switzerland

Sick pay entitlement depends on the employees length of service, employees with more than 3 months’ service are entitled to normal salary and full employer benefits. For the first year employees receive a minimum of 3 weeks sick pay period, after a years’ service the statutory sick pay period varies on the canton with a maximum being between 6 months and a year.

Many employers provide a supplemental sickness insurance with a deferral period. A typical scheme might pay out 80% of salary after a deferral period of 31 days, however companies can set the deferral period and the contribution percentage.  

Maternity Leave in Switzerland

Pregnant employees may take 16 weeks maternity leave, of which at least 8 weeks must be taken after the birth. Statutory maternity pay is 80% of the average salary (calculated during a 98-day time period from date of birth), to qualify eligible criteria must be met.

Paternity in Switzerland

With effect from 1st January 2021, biological fathers are entitled to 10 days’ paid leave; the statutory provision is set at a daily rate of $196, although the employer may enhance this provision should it so choose.

We’ve Got You Covered

Deliver your business to new, exciting markets with confidence and compliance.

End of Service

HR in Switzerland requires compliance not only during an employee’s service, but also at the end of it. End of service might include severance, termination, redundancy, and leaving packages.

For these more complicated matters, you will need expert HR guidance to navigate Swiss labor laws and remain compliant.

HR in Swizterland

Termination (including Severance) in Switzerland

Employers are free to terminate employment under Swiss law by service required notice. However, notice must not be served at an improper time, employees are protected against dismissal during pregnancy and 16 weeks after childbirth, during the 30 days to 180 days of sickness and compulsory military service.

Social Security

Switzerland has a comprehensive social security system that provides support for the following:

  • Pension
  • Military and Maternity Income Loss
  • Family allowances
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Occupational benefit plan
  • Survivors and invalidity insurance

Typically, contributions are taken from both employer and employee.

Supplemental benefits

Health Insurance

Since there is no State provided health plan, although the responsibility for registration into a private scheme remains the domain of the employee, it is customary for the employer to provide enhanced support to it’s workforce in respect of health insurance coverage.

Occupational Pension

It is a mandatory obligation for the employer to secure a second pillar pension scheme to it’s workforce, with contribution levels determined by legislation. However, it is customary in many sectors for an enhanced contribution structure to be provided by the employer.

Death & Disability Insurance

Accident insurance provides a statutory minimum under the social security system, but employers generally enhance the level of provisions given such as private ward during hospitalisation or increase access to services.

Both death and disability coverage is incorporated as components of the pension scheme.

Accident Insurance

It is a mandatory obligation for the employer to secure an occupational Accident Insurance scheme, at the minimum levels prescribed. It is then customary for the employer to provide a “Supplemental Accident Insurance” scheme, which provides a top-up level of coverage to the basic scheme.

Why Partner With IRIS?

When entering new, exciting countries around Europe, like Switzerland, you will need an employment specialist to navigate the parts of local laws that are mandatory and those that are not. Delivering a compliant solution, IRIS can help your business arrive into new marketplaces whilst protecting your workforce – our partners can discover power and protection through us.

Overseas expansions can seem risky to those who dare it alone. Understanding the complexity of a fully compliant solution, IRIS can help businesses reach Europe, especially when they build bridges in Switzerland.

Our cost-effective, knowledgeable approach to HR in Switzerland makes us an ideal partner to commence your overseas plans.