Answer ... The most important statutory laws governing the employment relationship are:
- the Code of Obligations (SR 220);
- the Federal Work Act (SR 822.11);
- the Federal Act on Gender Equality (SR 151.11);
- the Federal Act on Workers’ Participation (822.14);
- the Federal Act on Deployment (SR 823.20);
- the Federal Act on Placement Agencies and Staffing Leasing Services (SR 823.11); and
- the Federal Ordinance against Excessive Compensations with Listed Companies (221.331).
Most of these laws have corresponding ordinances. Statutory laws on Swiss social security and social insurance, as well as collective labour agreements that apply in various economic sectors, have a significant impact on the employment relationship.
Answer ... Yes. Collective labour agreements have a significant impact on the employment relationship. Collective labour agreements do not apply in all economic sectors in Switzerland.
Answer ... Employment contracts are commonly used at all levels. For high-ranking management positions, they usually contain much more detailed provisions compared to contracts for other functions.
The conclusion of an employment contract requires a mutual expression of intent by the contracting parties. The parties’ expression of intent may be express or implied. No consideration is needed to conclude an employment contract. The employment contract is deemed to have been concluded where the employer accepts the performance of work over a certain period in its service which, in the circumstances, could reasonably be expected only in exchange for salary.
As a rule, employment contracts are not subject to any specific formal requirements. However, written contracts are recommended and very common. If the employment contract has been concluded for an indefinite duration or for longer than one month, then within one month of the beginning of the employment relationship, the employer must inform the employee in writing of:
- the names of the contracting parties;
- the date of commencement of the employment relationship;
- the employee’s function;
- the salary and any additional benefits; and
- the length of the working week.
Some clauses must be agreed upon in writing to be valid. In particular, non-compete clauses for a specific duration after termination of employment must be in writing in order to be valid and binding.
Parties under an employment contract must adhere to mandatory statutory laws and any applicable collective labour agreement. If contracting parties deviate from those provisions, the mandatory terms are implied into the employment contract and the mutually agreed provisions of the contract are void.