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What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?
Ads must be free of discrimination. Special rules apply to job ads by placement and staffing agencies.
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:
(a) Criminal records?
Employers can request an official extract of the criminal records if such data is necessary to assess the applicant's eligibility for the job.
(b) Medical history?
Applicants must answer questions relating to health conditions truthfully if such data is necessary to assess the applicant's eligibility for the job.
(c) Drug screening?
Applicants can be requested to undergo drug screening tests if such test results are necessary to assess the applicant's eligibility for the job.
(d) Credit checks?
Employers can request an official extract of the Enforced Payment Collection Register records if such data is necessary to assess the applicant's eligibility for the job.
(e) Immigration status?
Applicants are requested to present their work permit. If the applicant does not hold a valid work permit, the employer must apply for a permit well in advance to the commencement of work in Switzerland. EU nationals benefit from the bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the European Union on the free movement of persons (SR 0.142.112.681).
(f) Social media?
The use of social media for background checks is debated in Switzerland. Some scholars opine that employers must abstain from such practices; others think that employers are under an obligation to confront the applicant with online search results.
Wages and working time
Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?
There is no national minimum wage. However, collective bargaining agreements and standard employment contracts may provide for minimum wages.
Are there restrictions on working hours?
As a rule, the weekly working hours are 45 or 50 hours, depending on the category of worker.
Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?
The Federal Work Act (SR 822.11) provides rules regarding breaks. Work may be interrupted for:
- 15 minutes if the daily working time exceeds five-and-a-half hours;
- 30 minutes if the daily working time exceeds seven hours; or
- one hour if the daily working time exceeds nine hours.
Under Article 36 of the Federal Work Act, employees with family duties may request a lunch break of at least 90 minutes. The care and upbringing of children under 15 years and the care of immediate family are considered family duties.
How should overtime be calculated?
There are two categories of overtime under Swiss law:
- Overhours – if the number of hours worked exceeds the contractually agreed working time, the number of working hours exceeding the contractually agreed working hours are considered overhours.
- Overtime – if the number of hours worked exceeds the maximum working time allowed under the Federal Work Act, the number of working hours exceeding such maximum working time is considered overtime.
As a rule, employers must compensate overhours and overtime with a supplemental pay of at least 25%. By mutual agreement, overhours and overtime may be compensated by time off in lieu, which must be of (at least) equal duration.
What exemptions are there from overtime?
The employee is exempted from performing overtime work to the extent that he or she may not reasonably be expected to do so. For example, if the employee's physical condition prevents the performance of overtime work, the employee is exempted from his or her obligations.
Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?
The minimum entitlement of paid vacation is four weeks (20 working days) and five weeks’ vacation (25 working days) for employees under 20 years. Further, Switzerland has paid public holidays (eg, August 1).
What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?
Swiss social insurance laws provide for deductions from wages. Further, employers may be obliged to deduct source tax from the employee's wages under certain circumstances. Deductions are shown on the employee's pay slip. The regulations on deductions for social insurances and taxes are detailed and rather complex.
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?
For accounting and tax purposes, employers maintain (among other things) pay slips and expense receipts of the employee. For example, leasing agreements and expense receipts regarding the employee's company car must be maintained.
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