Genève pratique

Practical Geneva


Swiss labour law

Who is concerned

  • employees recruited locally by permanent missions, unless the written employment contract provides for the application of foreign law; law of the sending State;
  • spouses of members of Permanent Missions and international civil servants and their children who have obtained a Ci permit;
  • employees of NGOs can consult the information of the NGO Service (See the section: work permit).

Swiss employment contract

The law does not impose any special forms. The contract may be concluded in writing or orally. It is recommended that the parties conclude a written employment contract on the basis of:

In the event of a dispute, the legal provisions shall apply.

A detailed employment contract must include the following information:

  • Function and job description (tasks)
  • Date of entry into service
  • Trial period (CO art. 335c): between 1 and 3 months' notice maximum. During this period, the period of notice for terminating the contract is 7 days
  • Duration of the contract (indefinite or definite)
  • Working hours: depends on the sector of activity (max 45 hours or 50 hours per week; beyond that, it is called overtime)
  • Gross monthly salary (wages without deductions) (CO art. 322, 323, 323b)
  • Insurances summary of available information (in French)
  • Holidays (CO art. 329a), public holidays and working hours (LTr art. 9)
  • Overtime (CO art.321c): the salary supplement is 25%
  • End of the employment relationship (CO art. 334, 335, 335a, 335b, 335c, 337): depends on seniority: 1 year = 1 month; 2 to 9 years = 2 months, more than 9 years = 3 months. The contract is terminated at the end of the current month

There is no minimum wage in Switzerland. Certain business sectors benefit from a collective labour agreement (CLA, CCT in French):

Reference letter

All employees are entitled to a reference letter at the end of an employment relationship. You should also seek to obtain an interim reference if your line manager changes. Employees can also request an interim reference when they change jobs within the same company (CO art. 330a).

Legal proceedings

In the event of unfair dismissal, you can resort to the «Tribunal des Prud'Homme».  The procedure is free of charge in Geneva.

The lawyers of the permanent staff of the Geneva Bar Association can advise you at low cost on any question relating to employment law.




Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG
Office of Privileges & immunities
Rue de Varembé 9-11
P.O. Box 194
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37



Office of the Amiable compositeur

Labour conditions (general remarks)

Number of annual pay checks


Allowance for prolonged period of employment

Payment of wages for a limited period

Vacation, public holidays, working hours


Answers to the most important questions