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Any Swiss or foreign company employing staff in Switzerland must give them holiday entitlement, taking into account all of the following points: 

  1. Holidays must be paid for, which can mean a sudden additional cost for untaken holidays over several years. 
  2. In addition to equivalent pay, compensation may be payable in the event of non-compliance. 
  3. Holiday entitlement is monitored by the competent authorities. 
  4. Holidays must be taken in full within a year and up to the last day of work in the event of dismissal, even if the employee refuses to take them in full. 
  5. Holiday pay is also subject to contributions and tax, where applicable. 

Human resources, both internal and external to the company, play a crucial role in drawing up employment contracts and handling employee complaints. 

Among others, private individuals who employ domestic staff (cleaning, nannies, gardeners) are also affected by this issue, as they must grant a minimum amount of paid leave even for part-time, irregular or hourly workers. 

Principal rules on vacations 

The following is a list of the main legal rules on minimum paid holidays for employees in Switzerland. Here are the main points to bear in mind: 

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Recommendations 

In this final section, we’ll give you some recommendations on how best to manage minimum paid holidays for employees in Switzerland. Here are our tips: 

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This applies to any Swiss or foreign company employing staff in the Cantons with a legal minimum wage or where the minimum wage is provided for in a collective labour contract (CCT) or standard labour contract (CTT) for certain types of employee and economic sectors. 

Any Swiss or foreign company employing staff in these cantons is therefore obliged to respect the legal minimum wage. What’s more, even if the employment contract makes no mention of it, employees have the right to claim what they are owed, and the authorities can impose fines on companies that fail to meet this obligation. It is therefore essential to comply with the regulations in force to avoid damaging financial and reputational consequences. 

Minimum wage legislation in Switzerland is a matter for the cantons, and there is currently no minimum wage set by federal law. However, five cantons have introduced a statutory minimum wage for all types of employees working on their territory: Geneva, Neuchâtel, Jura, Ticino and Basel-Stadt. 

Human resources, both internal and external to the company, play a crucial role in drawing up employment contracts and handling employee complaints. Private individuals who employ household staff are also concerned, provided that these employees can be classified as employees rather than self-employed. 

Main legal rules 

The minimum wage applicable in Switzerland is governed by the following rules:  

  1. The absence of a federal minimum wage: As mentioned above, each canton reserves its own minimum wage legislation. 
  2. Exceptions: Certain types of employees, such as minors, apprentices, volunteers and trainees in vocational training, are not covered by the minimum wage obligation. 
  3. Elements included in the determining salary : In addition to the normal salary, all economic benefits or benefits in kind received by the employee must be taken into account. These include residence allowances, bonuses, seniority gifts, tips, service charges and many others. 

Bonus point: What constitutes a decisive salary? 

In addition to the normal salary, the following elements must be taken into account: 

However, amounts paid as salary supplements, such as compensation for night work, Sunday work, overtime or extra pay for overtime, are not taken into account. 

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Recommendations

If you hire low-paid staff 

  1. Consult the website of the Canton in which the employee must work regularly if that Canton has a legal minimum wage. 
  2. You can also consult the UNIA website to find out whether there is a CLA providing for a minimum wage by sector: https://www.service-cct.ch/ 
  3. If possible, opt for a remote employment contract for a cross-border employee or an employee who lives in another canton that does not have a statutory minimum wage.
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  1. Check legislative changes once a year and adjust your salary and contract regularly. 

If you are starting a new business, working in another canton or hiring staff for new tasks and responsibilities 

In this case, you should check whether a minimum wage applies. 

In just 3 minutes and for just €10 per template, you can have your own personalised employment contract, drafted in real time and ready to sign. 

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Under Swiss employment law, any Swiss or foreign company employing staff in Switzerland must draw up an employment contract with the employee, for the following two reasons: 

Please note: A frequently inserted clause “this contract shall not be construed as an employment, partnership or corporate relationship…” is of no use in the circumstances of a particular case. 

Private individuals who employ household staff are also affected, provided that these employees can be described as salaried rather than self-employed.

Main legal rules

General cases

The situation must be interpreted on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all the objective circumstances, even if this means ignoring the clear clauses of the signed contract (principle of substance over form). 

To qualify as an employee, here are the different criteria to consider: 

  1. Having only one or very few customers. 
  2. Not employing any staff. 
  3. Not acting in one’s own name. 
  4. Not having proper premises. 
  5. Absence of business investments. 
  6. Not assuming the risk of default or loss. 
  7. Not determining freely the terms of working and being subject to instructions of others. 
  8. Not freely fixing the working schedule. 

Please note: these criteria are not cumulative, and each criterion may carry more weight than the others, depending on the individual situation.

Particular cases

In addition to the cases mentioned above, there are also special cases in which you can qualify as an employee. These are as follows: 

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Recommendations

If you feel that the person hired is more of a freelancer 

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If you are concerned that employee status may apply 

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