In mid-January 2015 the Swiss Central Bank lifted its currency ceiling of Sfr1.20 per €1.The decision continues to negatively affect Switzerland's export and tourism industries. On January 27 2015, in order to mitigate the negative consequences of the strong Swiss franc, the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) announced that the most recent strengthening of the Swiss franc against other major currencies (eg, the euro, US dollar and pound sterling) allows businesses to apply for public short-time work benefits.

Currency fluctuations in general have thus far been considered as entrepreneurial risks which recur on a regular basis and can be foreseen, and are therefore calculated so that businesses bear the risks. In two cases in 2012 the Federal Supreme Court held that currency fluctuations of up to 10% per year were a foreseeable business risk and indicated that annual currency fluctuations of 20% and more would also qualify.

In consideration of these court precedents, SECO announced that companies can agree with all or a number of their employees on a reduction of work time and the applicable compensation following the most recent currency fluctuations. Short-time work insurance will cover 80% of the difference.

Companies and employers in Switzerland are advised to make their cases based not only on the currently strong Swiss franc, but also on other applicable reasons.

For further information on this topic please contact Thomas Rihm at Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte by telephone (+41 44 421 45 45) or email (t.rihm@thouvenin.com). The Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte website can be accessed at www.thouvenin.com.

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