The Swiss Labour Law and Swiss employment contract


The Swiss Labour Law concerns:

  • employees recruited locally by the permanent missions to the United Nations. These employees are subject to the Swiss labour law unless their written employment contract makes provision for the application of the law of the permanent mission’s home country;
  • spouses of the members of the permanent missions to the United Nations and international civil servants, as well as their children, who have obtained a Ci permit;
  • employees of NGOs (Further information for European and non-European nationals is available at work permit)

The Swiss Labour Law is governed by:

The Swiss Employment Contract

Swiss law does not impose a specific form of employment contract.

Employment contracts may be concluded in writing or verbally. We recommend that you draw up a written employment contract based on the provisions of the Swiss Code of Obligations and the Federal law on Labour in Industry, Craft Industry and Trade. The contracting parties may decide in writing whether or not the employment contract is governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations and the Federal law on Labour in Industry, Craft Industry and Trade. In the event of any dispute, the appropriate legal provisions will apply 

If the parties choose to draw up a detailed employment contract, the following elements should be mentioned and specified:

  • Function and outline of the tasks
  • Starting date
  • Trial period (cf. article 335c Swiss code of obligations): varies between 1 to a maximum of 3 months.During this period, the cancellation notice of the contract is 7 days.
  • Contract length (permanent or fixed-term)
  • Length of the working week: maximum of 45 hours or 50 hours per week, depending on the industry. Overtime is paid out beyond this maximum duration)
  • Gross monthly salary (number of annual pay checks) (cf. articles 322, 323, 323b Swiss code of obligations. In Switzerland, there is no national minimum wage. Certain industries benefit from a collective labour agreement. We recommend that you consult the online wage calculator for the canton of Geneva.
  • Insurance (cfuseful information on this subject). More information on insurance is available on the website of the Canton of Geneva office of compensation.
  • Vacation (cf. article 329a Swiss code of obligations), public holidays and working hours (cf. article 9 LTR) (cf.useful information on this subject)
  • Overtime (cf. article 321c Swiss code of obligations) is paid at an additional rate of 25%.
  • End of the working relationship (cf. articles 334, 335, 335a, 335b, 335c, 337 Swiss Code of Obligations). Employment agreements are terminated at the end of the ongoing month. Advance notice time begins on the 1stday of the following month.

Employment certificate

Employers are obliged to draw up and hand over an employment certificate to the employee upon the worker’s request, which is not necessarily at the end of the working relationship (Art.330a Swiss code of obligations).

Legal proceedings

In the event of unfair dismissal, appeals may be made to the industrial tribunal (Prud'homme). Proceedings are free in Geneva.

Lawyers belonging to the Geneva Bar Association’s Consultancy Service are able to advise you at a lower fee on issues rating to the labour law.