Contracts in Switzerland

Overview by

Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
The various methods of recruitment used by companies in Switzerland are:


1. Advertising through newspapers, magazines, internet, etc.

2. Public employment offices Regional Placement Offices (URC).

3.Direct recruitment through educational Institutions.

Recruitment Agencies
Public recruitment agencies : Regional Placement Offices (URC). Private recruitment agencies : Here is a list of private placement agencies.
Recruitment Websites
EURES (The European Job Mobility Portal)
Travailler en Suisse

The Contract

Type of Contract
Legal clauses regulate employment contracts and to a lesser degree collective agreements and individual negotiations.Under Swiss law, foreign citizens need a residence permit and a work permit to get employed in the country.

The terms of employment contracts are rigid. Permission from the competent authority is therefore needed for the appointment of a foreign employee. The requirements relating to the nationality of employees depend on the type of the company. In case of a stock company, the majority of the members of the board of directors must have Swiss or EU/EFTA country citizenship and must be domiciled in Switzerland, whereas for any other type of company there are no similar restrictions.

Breach of Contracts
  • Retirement
An employment contract may be terminated by mutual agreement by giving notice, in accordance with the employment contract.
  • Dismissals
The dismissal of personnel is subject to strict rules. If an employment contract specifies no specific term, either the employee or the employer may give notice of termination. Generally the legal notice periods are of 1-3 months, depending on the length of the employment relationship.
  • Other Possible Methods
An employer or employee may terminate the contract of employment without notice if such termination is based on a "cause". A party is considered to have a cause when circumstances are such that the party can no longer be expected to continue the employment relationship with loyalty and trust. Whether or not cause exists is a decision made largely at the judge's discretion.
Labor Laws
ILO – National labour law profile
Labour laws in Switzerland

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Dismissal, harassment, conflict over retirement, etc.


Note: The settlement of labour disputes generally falls into two categories: a) individual or private labour law disputes and b) collective labour law disputes.

  • Legal Framework
Swiss Code of Obligations


Law on Labor in Industry, Handicrafts and Trade. 

  • Procedure
The labour disputes can be categorized into 2 types: a) disputes at law and b) disputes over interests. The first encompass all disputes pertaining to the implementation and interpretation of agreements between the two sides. In this connection, the parties may choose between an arbitration procedure and a judicial procedure. In contrast, differences of interest arise during bargaining for a new agreement, and no party may stake a judicial claim.


Various State conciliation bodies have been created for settlement of labour disputes, namely the Federal Conciliation Office and the permanent cantonal conciliation offices. The Federal Office deals only with differences of interest. In contrast, the competence of the permanent cantonal conciliation offices also covers disputes at law. Should conciliation before the conciliation office be unsuccessful, the parties may request it to hand down a binding arbitral award.


Judicial Structures

  • Legal Framework
Swiss Code of Obligations

Law on Labor in Industry, Handicrafts and Trade.

  • Competent Legal Body
Individual labour law disputes (private disputes) fall within the jurisdiction of civil courts. As a general rule labour law suits in which the amount in dispute is less than CHF 30,000 are subject to a simple and expeditious procedure. One-half of the country’s cantons have set up special courts for labour law disputes. Appeals are heard by cantonal supreme courts, except in the canton de Geneva, where an appellate chamber fulfils this function.

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Switzerland does not have strong trade unions. Labor/management relations are good, mostly characterized by a willingness on both sides to settle disputes by negotiations rather than by strikes.
Unionization Rate
25% of the country’s full-time workers are unionized.
Regulation Bodies
Switzerland Labour Law Profile
Swiss Managers Union
Central Union of the Managers

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