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Studies Show Gender Equality in the Swiss Workplace

Posted on 20 January 2008 by LegalBeagle

The Swiss economy has made major strides in gender equality in the workplace, although some lacunae remain in comparison with other European countries.

In comparison to the Germans or the French, Swiss women retire more frequently from their professional careers when they have children, due to the difficulty of reconciling employment in Switzerland and family. Nonetheless, the discrepancies are far smaller than in the 90’s, when the phenomenon was far more marked.

Switzerland is one of the European countries where women are the most highly represented in professional careers – just behind Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, but ahead of Austria, Germany, France and Italy, according to a report published by the Swiss government statistics office (OFS). In 2005, 59% of women were working, against 49% in 1990. Switzerland is thus one of the countries where the difference between the rates of employment in Switzerland for men and women remains the most narrow.

woman in moment of professional contemplation

The important role of women in the employment market is explained in large part by the amplitude of part-time work, according to the OFS. With 58%, Switzerland came in 2nd in 2004 for the percentage of women working half-time, just behind the Netherlands. If the rate of employment in Switzerland and its evolution reflects major progress in gender equality, the results should be somewhat put in perspective, says the OFS. While levels of professional employment in Switzerland remain constant for men, it declines among women between 30-40 years old, indicating that women put aside their careers for several years to handle family obligations, and they return to the labor market afterward. This behavior, according to the OFS, is unique to Switzerland (and Austria).

In Germany and France, on the other hand, employment for women does not decline with the approach of the thirties but stagnates for a few years, before rising again. The behavior is again different in the Mediterranean countries with a net, definitive, drop when women reach the age of starting a family.

In numerous European countries, women (and often men too) receive long maternity leaves and possibilities for nurseries and childcare which are less abundant in Switzerland. The limited possibilities for childcare and nurseries is one of the factors making it difficult for women to continue working and raise young children at the same time.

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Temporary Jobs in Switzerland – Lawyer’s Advice

Posted on 18 November 2007 by LegalBeagle

“I registered with a placement agency and signed a contract. What happens if I find a regular job as a result of this and the company they rent me to wants to hire me? Do I stay legally liable to the agency that rented me to the company in the first place?” Lionel, Geneva.

Temporary or Interim work has a special legal status in Switzerland.

In fact, the worker is bound by an employment contract to the agency which rents temporary workers to its enterprise clientele. And on the other hand, the worker is in no way bound to the actual company at which he is working who is renting the temporary staff from the agency, even though that is where he goes to work !

The Swiss federal laws governing temporary jobs in Switzerland – the rental of temp workers and what is referred to as ‘location de service’ – LES- or rental of services, governs this type of employment relationship. The LES delineates a certain number of measures that must be respected in this type of employment relationship.

First, the contract between the agency renting temporary workers and the worker must be in written form and contain, among other things, the type of work to be furnished, the length of engagement, and the working hours.

Accorsing to article 20 LES, if the company which is renting the services from the agency has a collective labor contract with its own permanent staff, the agency which is renting the services (workers) must apply the same working conditions (notably salary, working hours, and insurances) in force in the client company’s collective labor agreement.

Finally, the agency cannot by law prevent you taking a permanent job, concluding an employment contract directly with the client company if they decide to offer you regular employment.

Article 19 al. 5 letter b LES clearly stipulates that any clause which can prevent the employee / worker or create obstacles for the employee / worker from being employed by the client company – the ‘renter’ of the agency’s services – once the agency’s contract duration has ended, is null and void. The same holds true for any clauses concluded ; the company renting the temporary workers must be legally able to directly hire the worker at the end of the services contract.

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Security Incidents, Criminal Behavior and Employee Malfeasance

Posted on 22 October 2007 by LegalBeagle

More than four out of ten Swiss companies claim to have been victims of criminal activity from their own employees, according to a study by Price Waterhouse Coopers, which surveyed a variety of employers in Switzerland.

The typical profile of the employee likely to be a risk for his employer is a man between the ages of 30 and 40, most often with large managerial responsibilities within a company, career-oriented and leading a luxurious lifestyle. This is the profile of the type of employee most likely to engage in criminal acts against his company, which, on average costs close to CHF 3 million to the victimized companies (the average for Europe companies is CHF 2.7 million).

Price Waterhouse Coopers, the largest auditing firm, published its study on economic criminality. They surveyed 5400 companies based in 40 different countries and across 16 economic sectors. The Swiss study comprised 84 surveyed companies.

Among the typical crimes are embezzlement (22% of the cases in Switzerland), falsifying balance sheets (4%), corruption (5%), money-laundering (8%), and counterfeiting (15%).

The surprising thing is that 43% of companies surveyed claimed to have had an incident within the past 2 years. In Switzerland 37% of responding companies were victims of fraud.

The study’s authors note that while the incident rates have not changed much over many years despite improvements in corporate controlling and surveillance, the willingness of company management to file complaints has increased markedly. More than half of the currently surveyed cases of employee misdemeanors were discovered via informers within the respective companies.

Price Waterhouse Coopers notes that more than the financial damages inflicted, companies suffer from the damage to their image, to their brand,, or to the motivation of their employees, which can damage a company for the long term.

Among the characteristics of the profile of the employee who turns to criminal activity against his company are a low resistance to temptation and a high degree of frustration at work.

Among the preventive measures recommended by the auditors are reinforcement of the corporate culture, ethical directives, and a strict code of conduct. The study revealed that the most effective means for fighting against employee criminal conduct is the existence of a strong company culture firmly entrenched in the management.

Switzerland’s economy is particulary dependent on the financial services sector, the pharmaceutical and chemicals sector, the luxury watch sector, and other technology sectors.

Growth in each of these sectors (except perhaps chemicals and pharmaceuticals) have recently put enormous pressure on the Swiss job market for qualified candidates in a wide variety of fields and skill sets.

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Non – EU Nationals Working in Switzerland

Posted on 25 July 2007 by LegalBeagle

As the implementation of the laws governing foreigners working in Switzerland is constantly evolving, here is a current run-down on obtaining permits for work in Switzerland if you are not an EC / EU national.

On the Swiss labor market, priority is given to Swiss nationals or to resident foreigners who hold residence permits or permits to work in Switzerland.

Permits are granted only if the employer is offering the foreign national the same salary and employment conditions that are in effect for locally recruited staff in the relevant industry and if the foreign national has adequate health insurance.

The employer wishing to obtain a permit for employing a non EU national is required to prove that it has made every possible effort to find qualified candidates on the Swiss and European labor markets. The Cantonal Employment Office has a special application form which companies are required to use to announce vacancies. No permit (for a non EU national) may be applied for until at least 3 weeks has elapsed subsequent to filing such a vacancy notice. During this period the Employment office will seek to present qualified candidates to the company. Because of the penury of highly qualified professionals in information systems, telecommunications, biotechnology, banking and financial technologies, pharmaceutical research, and luxury watchmaking, often for these specific fields international recruitment is the only viable solution for companies.

Foreign nationals holding the annual (B) work permit are required to obtain permission to change their job, profession or canton or to change from employment to self-employment.

When filing a request for a permit for a prospective employee, employers wishing to hire a non EU citizen must provide the following to the government immigration authorities:

1) A description of the job position

2) Proof that they have advertised the position locally, sought staff on the local market and failed to find adequately qualified personnel

3) A filled-out application form for a permit for a non-EU national, specifying the salary of the job (which must be at a ‘specialist’ level – Minimum $65,000/year). A company wishing to relocate executive staff to its Swiss offices is exempt from scrutiny of the job position.

4) Copies of the CV of the individual the company wishes to hire

5) Copies of the diplomas and relevant work certificates of the individual the company wishes to hire

6) Copies of the passport of the individual the company wishes to hire

7) A motivation letter from the company explaining why they want a permit for this individual

Obviously, large multinationals who have substantial weight on the national labor market– such as the banks, agro-industrials, pharmaceutical companies and research institutes, hospitals, luxury watch companies – have, as a rule, little trouble obtaining the permits they request. Therefore, when offered a job, which is obviously contingent on authorization of the company’s permit request, you can start packing your bags if the company is UBS, Nestle, Credit Suisse, Novartis or MerckSerono, but you may want to wait prudently if the company seeking to hire you is XYZ Export company with only 8 employees.

On the basis of an authorization to work in Switzerland the foreign national then applies for the specific entry visa at the Swiss consulate or embassy of his residence and picks up his work permit upon entering Switzerland. The entering foreigner must have his visa stamped by the immigration officers at the border.

Failure to do this can result in being required to exit and reenter Switzerland !

A Summary of the myriad permits for work in Switzerland is found below:

B PERMIT (Ausländerausweis) — this is a long term permit subject to quotas (Aufenthaltbewilligung mit Erwerbstätigkeit)
Issued for ‘Economic interests’ based on Employee qualifications
Priority for Swiss and European Union workers
Compliance with local employment conditions
Availability of quota
Renewable until granting of settlement C permit after 10 years (USA + Canada 5 years)

B PERMIT — short term and also subject to quota (Kurzaufenthaltbewilligung)
Issued for ‘Important projects’ or International joint programs
For sports figures
Issued for up to 3 years, potentially even up to 6 years in certain cases

B PERMIT for Residency (Aufenthaltbewilligung im Rahmen des Familiennachzugs)
A long term permit not subject to quota
Based on family grouping, or change of employer, profession or canton
Renewable and Can be converted into a C Permit

L PERMIT — Short term permit not subject to Quota
(für die Ausübung einer kurzfristigen Erwerbstätigkeit sowie für andere vorübergehende Aufenthalte)
For training, project work, setting up Information systems or other technical infrastructures, fiduciary review, extra labor in a busy period, start-ups, etc. Also Management and development of a company when the presence of a manager is not required all year. Ususally for 4 consecutive months — known as a 120 – day permit.
Also for young people employed as au pairs, aged 18 to 30 years : Canadian, USA, Australian and New Zealand nationals (30 hrs/wk), young workers qualified as health professionals and trained abroad who wish to develop their professional skills
Renewable up to a maximum of 24 months
For Cabaret dancers and other artists (Form A7) renewable up to maximum 8 months in a calendar year

G PERMIT for Border workers for commuting to work in Switzerland (für Grenzgängerinnen und Grenzgänger)
For third countries workers under specific circumstances; residence is not in Switzerland
Valid for 1 year, Renewable

N PERMIT for asylum seekers (für Asylsuchende. Dieser Ausweis wird von den kantonalen Behörden gestützt auf den Entscheid des Bundesamtes für Migration ausgestellt)
Foreign nationals, who during the time their asylum application are being processed are permitted to seek temporary employment until a ruling is given on their application

F PERMIT for temporary admission (für vorläufig aufgenommene Ausländerinnen und Ausländer (Art. 14a ANAG, Art. 5 VVWA). Dieser Ausweis wird von den kantonalen Behörden gestützt auf eine Verfügung des Bundesamtes für Migration ausgestellt.)
This work permit is for foreign nationals who do not qualify for asylum; it’s renewable.

Ci PERMIT (Dieser Ausweis wird von den kantonalen Behörden für erwerbstätige Ehepartner und Kinder von Angehörigen ausländischer Vertretungen oder intergouvernementaler Organisationen (IO) ausgestellt.)
This is the work permit for the spouse of an employee of an international organisation. The spouse must be living in the family unit. Also valid for children under 21 years.

C PERMIT – permanent residency — this is what the other permits usually turn into if you reside in Switzerland long enough.

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Permits to Work in Switzerland

Posted on 20 July 2007 by LegalBeagle

It was only a matter of time before the permit process and the documents which provide authorization to work in Switzerland became the object of criminal attention.

In order for foreigners to work in Switzerland, a permit is necessary and there exist a dozen denominations of the Swiss work permit, which is described elsewhere on this site. While obtaining a work permit has become simplified and practically automatic for EU nationals, it has become somewhat tighter for the Rest of the World. The changing structure and attribution of work permits may be followed on the government website,

Recently, a young man was arrested for reported stealing 700 blank permits from the Office Cantonal de la Population in Geneva, which he then delivered to criminals from Kosovar gangs, and which helped him underwrite his drug habit. More the 700 work permits have disappeared into the Swiss landscape, permitting entry to perhaps a wide variety of cabaret artists, comfort women, and drug dealers.

The document thief, a 21-year old cocaine addict, was just released from Champs Dollon prison and is under home confinement awaiting judgment. The young man claims he began stealing the documents in order to pay off his drug debts to his Kosovar suppliers. A veritable traffic then sprung up in stolen blank permits. He has all the while refused to give the names of the people to whom he supplied the documents, as he is afraid they will retaliate by helping him into the trunk of his car.

Thanks to investigations of telephone records, police nonetheless tracked down one of his business associates and arrested a certain A., an Albanian construction worker living in Thoune. Police were able to prove that A. met with the Permit Thief, who claims to have passed A. 300 blank permits for agreed upon CHF 60,000 which A. then never paid.

A third man was arrested for having supplied the software used to print the data on permits. With the stolen blank permits and the software, one can proceed to issue permits without the annoying inconvenience of requesting government authorization.

For the time being, none of the permits have been recovered and the key Mafiosi to whom they were supplied remain at large. The permit thief continues to receive threatening SMSs, such as “We know where you lieve, bastard sonofabith, and we’ll kill you.”

As a rule, if one is highly qualified in any of numerous high-tech or value-added fields, or if one is well-educated, it is possible to find work in Switzerland through the simple straightforward process of obtaining a job offer from a Swiss.-based company, which will then apply to the authorities for a work permit.

Switzerland currently has a dire shortage of gualified professionals and many companies, despite having recourse to the expensive services of recruiters and numerous websites for professional recruitment, do not manage to rapidly find the qualified workers they are seeking. The fields of banking, insurance, I.T., biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and luxury watchmaking are particularly hot sectors of the Swiss economy.

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Current Legal Framework

Posted on 15 June 2007 by LegalBeagle

Citizens of the EU and EFTA continue to have to obtain a valid work permit to work in Switzerland, but have now have the same opportunities on the labor market to find employment in Switzerland as do Swiss nationals.

Separate regulations apply to third country nationals who seek work in Switzerland.

Labor Force Flexibility and mobility of workers within Europe
The European job mobility portal – EURES- is the official conduit of information and services for those seeking employment in Switzerland. It explains the rules and regulations now in force for EU nationals who wish to move to Switzerland find a job.

For those wishing to exercise the benefits offered by the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons and work in Switzerland, “EuresInfo Switzerland” provides detailed information about how to go about finding a job in Switzerland.

employment in Switzerland

EFTA / EU nationals wishing to be self-employed in Switzerland
EU/EFTA nationals can now be self-employed in Switzerland. Information on the procedures to follow can be found in the brochure “European Nationals in Switzerland, which explains how to obtain residence in Switzerland and work in a profession in a self-employed capacity.”

Employment and Work Permit Policy for third-country nationals
For citizens from countries other than EU /EFTA, the following restrictions apply:

1) Priority on the Swiss labor market is given to Swiss nationals and EU /EFTA nationals. Therefore, job applicants from third-countries are only be considered when there are no qualified applicants for the job from the EU/EFTA member states.

2) Work permits for third country nationals are only issued in compliance with the established quotas.

3) Wage and working conditions for the advertised job (the same as for Swiss nationals) must be complied with.
There are possible conditions for various professions and groups of individuals: specialists, executives of multinational companies (executive transfer), employees of international organizations and artists. The government’s Federal Office for Migration can answer any questions regarding living and working in Switzerland.

Third-country nationals are not permitted to be self-employed in Switzerland.
As a general rule, self-employment is only possible for third-country nationals AFTER they have obtained their residence permit (C permit).

Internships in Switzerland / third countries
Switzerland has agreements on the exchange of interns with numerous countries to facilitate the obtaining of limited residence and work permits. Those admitted as interns are expected to between 18 and 30 and have finished the relevant vocational training. Interns may only be employed for up to 18 months as such. Information concerning internships and the regulations that govern entry under such a formula are to be found on the Federal Office of Migration (FOM) website.

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Working in Switzerland as an Independent

Posted on 23 May 2007 by info

For foreign nationals seeking to find a job and establish themselves professionally in Switzerland, one can avoid potential obstacles by preparing the relevant documents and applications a few months before finishing one’s studies.

It is also possible to set up one’s own company (‘société’ anonyme’). For a salaried activity that is fewer than 3 months, one need only register at the ODM (Office fédéral de la migration) — see – and fill out the application found on their website. For a salaried position longer than 3 months, one needs to contact the Office de la population in the canton where one intends to live, and they will indicate the documents which need to be presented in order to legally work in Switzerland.

In general, these are the employment contract, a copy of your passport, and a few photographs. For nationals of non-European countries, a letter describing the job or professional activity you will be doing as well as a resume of your skills and experience should additionally be made available to the commune where you will be residing.

This process comes after having looked for employment in Switzerland, perhaps through the numerous recruitment websites or employment agencies publishing job offers for work in Switzerland in the major sectors of the Swiss economy, like banking, finance, trading, the luxury industry, pharmaceuticals, hotel and tourism, or other branches.

One can go directly to the commune where you will be domiciled with the employment contract, a curriculum vitae, a copy of your passport, copies of your diplomas, passport photos, and the cantonal application filled out. Sometimes the authorities will ask for a copy of your police record (which should be empty, obviously).

One does not have to find a job in Switzerland if one has the wherewithal to create one’s own employment. If you want to set up your own Swiss company (in which you must be a salaried employee), the documents which will be required are:

1.a letter describing your skills and experience for the Office de la population
2. a business plan, which must contain the financial aspects related to the consitution of an SA (société anonyme) with a minimum capital of CHF 100′000.
3.any relevant elements relating to intellectual property
4.a governing board or administrative council, conformant to the legal requirements of domicile and nationality. See :;
5.the project hould have some economic interest for the canton ;
6.copies of passeport, employment contract, diplomas, passport photos
7. the cantonal application filled out.

For EU nationals ONLY, the procedure for obtaining a residence permit for engaging in an independent professional activity is simplified : One needs only:
1.copy of passport,
2.letter describing the professional activity you will be engaging in;
3.a copy of the dimploma, where relevant, necessary to work in such a professional field.
4.the filled-out application for the Canton;
5. a dcument from the Social Security authorities (caisse compensation AVS) stating that you are affiliated as an independent and will be paying your own social security.

Finally, for a permanent residency (after 6 months), the independent professional from the EU working in Switzerland, will need to proivde :
1. his accounts which prove that he is effectively functioning as an independent professional ;
2.the relevant documents proving the creation of a company or juridic structure.
Consult the ODM (Office fédéral de la migration) :
or the Canton de Vaud Site Employment Office for more information.

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New rules for Working in Switzerland

Posted on 20 May 2007 by LegalBeagle

Beginning June 1st, 2007, the bilateral agreement on labor markets and the free movement of workers concluded between Switzerland and the European Union stipulates the removal of remaining restrictions on access to the Swiss labor market for nationals of the 15 core members of the EU, the AELE (Norvège, Islande et Liechtenstein), and Malte and Cyprus, and therefore the fully free access to employment in Switzerland for the nationals of the European Union.

The only remaining obligation for EU nationals seeking to work in Switzerland will be to announce their arrival in the country at the Office de la population in the commune where they will live. The commune then automatically issues the work permit.

Currently, the cantonal authorities can theoretically refuse to issue a work permit if the quota of EU nationals was exceeded for the year. Up until May 31, 2011, for nationals of Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, different

treatment will be applied, with permits being allocated on a contingency basis and priority given to workers already on the Swiss labor market.

Nationals from outside the European Union will not have the right to work as a n independent but will have the option to be a salaried employee of their own company. As a salaried employee, such nationals can first of all look for work in Switzerland from a Swiss employer. The work permit will be requested from the Swiss employer under the form of an L permit (which is for a short stay, accorded when the employment contract is concluded for less than one year) or a B permit (if the employment contract is for an indeterminate period).

To obtain an authorization to work in Switzerland, your skill set will be an important factor in the delivery of a work permit. It is important to have acquired a professional experience during one’s studies in your professional domain. Especially for Non-EU nationals, who are subject to scrutiny before delivery of a work permit, this will raise the likelihood of the delivery of a work permit.

If you wish to create your own company, you can obtain a work permit, becoming a salaried employee of your won company. The company must be an ‘SA’ and may not be an S.a.r.l., which requires less capitalization. (An SA usually requires a capitalization of CHF 100,000, but there are ways to reduce this.

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