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Switzerland: Labour Regulation

Regulatory Environment

Compared to the EU, Switzerland regulates few aspects of the employer-employee relationship. Where it does, Swiss labour law is generally more favourable to the employer than EU law, though there is some influence from the EU acquis communautaire through the bilateral agreements signed by Switzerland and the EU.

A written contract of employment is only required in certain special cases. For most workers, the maximum working week is 45 hours, though overtime is permitted. The limit on hours does not apply to managers. Four weeks' paid holiday is the minimum, and this time cannot be 'bought out'.

Paid maternity leave is available (as it is in all countries except the USA and Papua New Guinea), with a return to work only permitted after a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks. If pregnancy results in termination of employment, the woman affected is entitled to compensation.

Non-competition agreements between employers and employees are permitted, up to three years, and with safeguards for the employee. Sickness is not deemed a reasonable cause of termination, on a sliding scale which permits up to 180 days of sickness after six years of employment.

An employer may terminate an employer 'with cause'. The legislation is not specific, and in the event of a dispute, a judge in court (not a tribunal) will decide. There are some rules about compensation for termination, but they are not onerous.



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