On December 1 2016, following a recent report issued by the federal government stating that there is no need for legislative action for remote home workers, National Councillor Thierry Burkart, member of the House of Representatives, launched a parliamentary initiative to provide further flexibility for remote home workers.

The initiative identified three areas where remote workers could enjoy more freedom:

  • Employees are required to perform their work within a 14-hour period during one working day. If an employee's work begins at 7:00am, his or her working day must end at 9:00pm, meaning that, for example, the employee would not be allowed to work on urgent emails in the evening when his or her children are in bed. This clearly makes the relationship between work and family life more difficult. Accordingly, the parliamentary initiative has proposed that for workers who can structure their work with considerable discretion, daily working time should be extended to 17 hours.
  • The Labour Act 1964 provides a rest period of 11 consecutive hours between two working days, so an employee intending to write a short email or make a brief phone call at 10:00pm cannot begin work until 9:00am the next day, which is incompatible with modern working life. Accordingly, the parliamentary initiative has proposed that occasional short-term and brief work should not interrupt the above rest period.
  • All work to be performed on a Sunday is permitted only if Sunday work has been officially approved in advance. Remote home workers with considerable discretion in planning their work time should be exempt from the general ban on Sunday work.

The initiative has already drawn fierce opposition from major trade unions, even though trade unions and green parties are otherwise in favour of remote home work to further the work-life balance and reduce the daily commute.

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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