Swiss employment law appears complex and confusing when looking from an outside view, although in some ways there are many similarities to other countries.
Compared to the laws of most European countries, Swiss employment law is quite liberal, particularly in relation to terminations of employment contracts.
Apart from gender discrimination and sexual harassment, Swiss law does not require an employer to treat all its employees the same under similar conditions. Only a discrimination of a single or a small group of employees might be prohibited if it amounts to a violation of such person’s personality. Swiss legal requirements are divided between the federal level and the cantonical level.
Therefore, the points below are general guidelines and particular requirements will vary from canton to canton. For these and many other reasons the following are only guidelines in the broadest sense, and professional legal services are recommended when employing in Switzerland.
There are several key areas to be aware of within Switzerland’s employment regulatory framework, especially for companies that plan to initiate a full local office and human resources department. These challenges can be mitigated by use of a locally sourced payroll provider who is familiar with all of the Swiss laws and rules for both Swiss employees as well as foreign nationals.
Companies entering Switzerland can make a decision whether to use their own resources or to use a Global Employment Organization to handle employment and payroll responsibilities. A GEO solution is particularly beneficial when a company is looking to setup an office quickly with a manageable cost. The complexity of employment regulations in Switzerland makes the use of a GEO advisable to ensure full compliance with employment laws, including the drafting of local employment contracts for workers.
The company that is expanding into Switzerland contracts with the GEO to employ and payroll their staff on their behalf. The GEO then assumes the legal responsibility for these employees, sponsoring them on work permits if necessary, complying with local employment law and running their monthly payroll. This is especially useful to fulfill all of the specific withholding requirements for pensions and benefits, as well as documenting termination, probation periods and leave requests.
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