Salary is usually paid at the end of the calendar month deducting all applicable social security contributions and withholding taxes (if any). Swiss law explicitly provides that the salary paid to employees must be stated in a pay slip.
Maximum Working Week
In the majority of Swiss companies, the normal weekly working hours under an employment contract of a collective bargaining agreement are between 40 and 44 hours. The legal maximum weekly working hours are 45 for industrial workers, office, technical and other employees including salespersons in large retail stores; for all other commercial enterprises, the legal maximum weekly working hours are 50. The difference between the normal weekly working hours and the maximum weekly working hours is important for distinguishing between overtime and excess working hours.
By statutory law, overtime must be compensated with an additional premium of 25%. Excess working hours are the hours worked in excess of the legal maximum weekly working hours. To safeguard the employee’s health, the law prohibits more than two hours per day of excess working hours; in a calendar year, an employee may not work more than 170 excess working hours (where the weekly maximum is 45 hours) or 140 excess working hours (where the weekly maximum is 50 hours). Excess working hours must always be compensated by an additional premium of 25%, unless the employee consents to take an equivalent amount of time as compensation within a given time period.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
Occupational health and safety in Switzerland is primarily based on two laws: the Labour Act and the Accident Insurance Act. The Labour Act stipulates “The employer shall take all measures necessary to maintain and improve health protection and to ensure the physical and mental health of workers”. The Accident Insurance Act contains provisions on the compensation and prevention of accidents and occupational diseases. It regulates compulsory accident insurance, accident prevention and the prevention of occupational diseases.
Complaints about non-compliance with health and safety regulations can be submitted to the employer itself and, if this does not help, to the cantonal labour inspectorate. In the case of collective labour agreements, it is also possible to bring complaints to the attention of the contractually agreed complaint office or directly to the trade union concluding the agreement. An employee who asserts rights from the employment relationship in good faith may not be dismissed for this reason. If he is nevertheless dismissed, the dismissal is valid, but the employer must pay a penalty of up to 6 months’ salary.