Swiss Labor Laws at a Glance

Swiss Labor Laws at a Glance
Whether you're an employer or an employee, it is essential to be familiar with the Swiss labor laws. As an employee, it is vital to know your rights so that you can defend yourself in the event that your employer abuses his rights. Of course, this also applies to the employer, who needs to be protected from unlawful practices from his employees. In this article, we'll take a look at your rights and obligations when working in Switzerland.

Table of contents

Swiss Labor Laws at a Glance

What the Law Says

The Swiss labor laws are outlined in the Collective Labor Agreement (CTT) as well as the labor law (LTr). The latter is mainly concerned with two aspects of work in Switzerland: health protection, working hours, and rest periods.

Generally speaking, these laws apply to all companies, although there are exceptions. The CTT also protects workers and regulates, among other things, their working conditions and salaries.

Together, these laws define the rules surrounding the following points:

Employment Contract

In Switzerland, an employment contract can only be concluded orally if the work period it is for is less than a month. Otherwise, the contract must be drawn up in writing and must include the following information:

Depending on Swiss labor law, other details may be added, such as the duration of the trial period, which can be between 1 to 3 months. If your contract does not specify a trial period, it should be a month long. You have one week from the start of your trial period to break the contract.

The contract can be terminated at any time, subject to certain conditions. Indeed, your employer cannot terminate the contract if you are off work due to an illness or an accident.

You also cannot be dismissed if you are pregnant, you have recently given birth (up to 14 weeks after the birth) or you are performing military or civilian service.

As with any contract, remember to take your time and read it carefully before signing.

It's harder to negotiate the formalities of a contract after it's been signed, so keep that in mind before you agree to anything. A contract can also be modified at a later date, but not without your agreement.


As we saw earlier, under Swiss labor laws, your contract informs you of the amount of money that you will receive each month. If you have any doubts about the fairness of your salary, you will soon be able to consult the usual salaries practiced in your branch by using the official government tools.

Your employer must guarantee fair and equal wages and can't pay you less than someone else with the same role because of factors beyond your control (sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.).

Although some CTTs have for a fixed salary for certain sectors (government jobs, for example), Switzerland has no nationwide minimum wage. However, some cantons have set minimum wages, sometimes depending on the sector of activity:

19.75 -20.25.-

Working Hours

Under Swiss labour law, the maximum working time is in principle 45 hours a week. You may also get from more or less free time depending on the position you hold, if you work nights or weekends for example.

Paid Vacation

The amount of paid vacation a worker is entitled to varies according to your personal situation (your age, seniority, etc.) and the CTT, but is generally between 4 and 5 weeks' leave, 4 weeks being the mandatory minimum.

Absences and Sick Leave

Swiss employment laws accept certain absences for which you will not lose any vacation days:

Generally, the following examples will also be accepted:

Resignation and Dismissal

If you wish to resign, you must inform your employer, either verbally or in writing, depending on what your employment contract says.

In the case of a written resignation, once your employer has received your letter, your resignation will be effective. It is therefore important to make sure that the letter arrives to its intended recipient by sending a registered letter for example.

According to Swiss labor law, as with an employment contract, certain elements must be mentioned in your letter of resignation, such as :

The form of the dismissal letter will be essentially the same as for a resignation letter, since it must contain the same elements. You can be dismissed without cause, but you cannot be dismissed if you are :

If your employer terminates your contract and you are in one or more of these situations, it will be considered an unfair dismissal and your employer is liable to prosecution.

Your right to unemployment after the end of the contract will depend on your situation. You can read our article on the subject here. But whether the termination of the contract is the employee's or the employer's responsibility, Swiss labour law stipulates that the employee must receive an indemnity from the employer. certificate of employment.


Now you know everything about the labor laws in Switzerland!

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our other blog posts for more information on all aspects of working life. You can also visit the SECO website (the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs).

Among other things, an employer must provide you with a written or verbal employment contract. He must also pay your salary and protect you, by taking out accident insurance for instance.

There are several websites where you can find out more information, but you can also call on the services of a lawyer.

Among other things, it is forbidden for an employer to dismiss you unfairly or discriminate against you.

As an employee, you are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks' leave.

In Switzerland, there is no minimum wage set by the Federal government, but some cantons, such as Geneva and Neuchâtel, have set minimum wages at cantonal level.