Employment contracts

Employment contracts in Switzerland are quite liberal. Contracts can be standard, collective, or individual. In employment contracts, employees should make sure to find the following elements: salary, type of work, and working time (indefinite or fixed). The employment contract does not have to be entirely in writing, but the employer must provide the employee with certain specific information in writing, such as the start date, the salary, and the expected weekly working hours.

One can expect any contract to be written in the language in which they will be working, often depending on the region of Switzerland they are in. Finally, please keep in mind that the first few months of most jobs consist of a probationary period and that during this period an employee can be dismissed at any time without explanation.


Foreign workers

As in many European countries, a person’s right to work or seek work in Switzerland depends on their nationality. In recent years, the government has reduced the number of Swiss work visas issued to people from countries outside the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA, which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).

EU citizens can travel to Switzerland and stay for three to six months while looking for work. Once they have found work, they will need a residence permit. For non-EU nationals, a job offer that meets certain requirements before they can apply for a work visa will be needed. Please keep in mind that for non-EU citizens, work visas are tied to their employer, so it can be complicated to change jobs in Switzerland.

As work visa opportunities for non-EU expatriates are very limited in Switzerland, finding part-time or short-term work is not very accessible. Non-EU ex-pats usually obtain a work visa through a job offer from a Swiss company. Furthermore, Switzerland does not generally offer visas for self-employed people.

However, if your partner is a citizen or permanent resident, you can seek temporary or short-term employment because you have access to the labor market through your partner. The rights and employment contracts for this type of employment will depend on the position sought after.

For more information regarding immigration and types of work permits, please refer to section II. IMMIGRATION of this brochure.

Our Accounting & Employment Specialists