There is an emerging trend towards part-time or even full-time remote work in Switzerland. Remote work has become increasingly popular among employers and employees in the past two decades for a variety of well-known reasons, such as:

  • reduced commuting times for employees;
  • the ability to save office space; and
  • a better work-life balance for employees.

Due to this emerging trend and in order to address the potential need for more legislative regulation, the federal government recently issued an 89-page report which comprehensively reviewed existing employment, data protection and health and safety legislation, including income tax aspects of remote work. Particular consideration was given to the EU Telework Framework Agreement of July 16 2002 and subsequent framework agreements.

In its November 16 2016 report, the government concluded that existing legislation in the fields of employment and data protection is sufficient. Nonetheless, it is best practice in Switzerland to amend existing employment contracts in order to regulate the specific needs of both employers and employees when agreeing on part-time or full-time remote work. In case of part-time remote work, there may be a particular need for contractual regulations regarding:

  • working hours;
  • the times during which the employee is expected to be available; and
  • how any required availability time will be compensated.

Full or partial cost sharing in regard to separate office space and office equipment, internet access or fixed or mobile phone connections should also be addressed in the amended employment contract. External representation and availability (if any) and internal reporting lines may also be defined in the amended employment contract. In addition, employers should carefully review existing health and accident insurance schemes in order to protect both employment parties.

For further information on this topic please contact Thomas Rihm at Rihm Rechtsanwälte by telephone (+41 44 377 77 20) or email (thomas.rihm@rihm-law.ch). The Rihm Rechtsanwälte website can be accessed at www.rihm-law.ch.

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