swiss social security

Swiss labor law in Switzerland

Swiss labor law in Switzerland

Swiss labor law is much more flexible and liberal than labor laws in many other countries of Europe. Nevertheless, there is still legislation for the protection of workers (general protection of workers, work duration and rest periods, young workers, pregnant women) and the relationship between employers and employees (individual employment contract, collective labor agreement, contractual work).

Types of work contracts

Work contracts do not have to follow any particular form (except in specific cases), and the voluntary nature of the contract is crucial. If the duration of a contract is longer than a month, it should contain the following information: the names of both parties, the date of the contract initiation, the job functions, the salary and benefits, the hours of the work week.

Trial period

In general, the trial period is one month for all indefinite contracts, but cannot surpass 3 months.

Work hours

The legal work week is 45 hours per week for both manufacturing and corporate workers. In practice and in industries where there is a union, the work week is generally 40-42 hours per week.


There is no minimum salary in Switzerland. Nevertheless, collectives and canton authorities may set one in the standard employment contract. It should be stated that Swiss gross pay is among the highest in Europe.

Paid holidays

Swiss federal law has set a minimum of 4 weeks of holidays per year. Workers have the right to one non-work day per week, which is usually Sunday. The right to holidays can be changed through collective agreement or a work contract with more time off.

Breaking a labor contract

The period required for giving notice is set in the contract or collective agreement and apply to both parties. Failing the legal deadlines are 1 month for the first year of work for two months seniority of one year nine years, three months for a greater length.

Supplementary contributions for foreign nationals

It is necessary to distinguish between the nationals of the European Community and the European Free Trade Association, who benefit from a simplified procedure, and the other foreign nationals.

EU/EFTA nationals

For contracts shorter than 3 months, a simple internet notification on the Federal authority website is sufficient. For contracts longer than 3 months, it is necessary to obtain a residence permit from the Swiss government.
These new rules came into effect on April 1, 2011 but are not applicable to new member states of the EU such as Bulgaria and Romania.

Other foreign nationals

For foreign nationals from non-EU or EFTA member states, it is very difficult to obtain a work permit, except in certain cases (indispensable skills or high responsibility in the company).