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General framework for the minimum wage in Switzerland

Minimum wage may apply in certain cantons, branches and to certain types of employees.
Minimum wage in Switzerland
24.05.2024

Does Switzerland have minimum wage? 

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: 

  • Any economic benefit or benefit in kind received by the employee, including residence allowances, gratuities, seniority gifts, tips or service charges, etc. 
  • 13th salary. 
  • Holiday pay for hourly-paid staff. 

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. 

recomended

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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