For members


Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news

Find out all the latest information related to jobs in Switzerland with The Local's weekly roundup of relevant news.

Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news
Women working at one cantonal bank will have shorter maternity leave. Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels

Will the economic upswing bring greater wages? 

As Switzerland’s economy is on the upswing, several professional organisations and unions are calling for higher salaries for sectors most impacted by the pandemic.

“Thanks to the exceptional dedication and great flexibility they have shown, but at the cost of the loss of income they have suffered, the employees have helped the country overcome the crisis. It is time to involve them in the recovery by increasing their wages”, said Gabriel Fischer, the head of economic policy at Travail.Suisse, the umbrella association of employees in Switzerland.

However, wage increases may not be possible in all sectors.

In the hospitality industry, which was most affected by Covid restrictions “salary increases will be rare. We can only hope that the branch will emerge stronger, so that gradually wages and working conditions can improve ”, noted Urs Masshardt, managing director of the Swiss Hotel & Gastro Union.

In the health sector, wages have stagnated much for years and in retail, “pay has been chronically too low or a long time”, according to  Mathias Regotz, head of contractual policy at the Syna union. “Salary increases of 3 to 4 percent are mandatory in these sectors.”

On the other hand, the construction sector has emerged largely unscathed from the crisis, and much of the industry has already recovered. In these sectors, wage increases are possible, according to Travail.Suisse.

Brave new world: job interviews conducted by robots

Many Swiss companies have a new twist on the concept of “Human” Resources: candidates for a job must first pass an interview with the computer.

This is how it works: an applicant receives an email with an invitation for an interview, which they can accept by clicking on a link.

The questions are asked in writing, and the program automatically records the answers. The interview lasts just a few minutes — all without a human counterpart.

This kind of interview is now standard at companies like Swiss Federal Railways, Migros, Credit Suisse, UBS, Swiss Post, and other firms, as it is less time-consuming than human-to-human interactions.

However, this system is only used to pre-select the candidates. Once they pass the “robot test”, the applicants are invited to meet a real person for a follow-up interview.

Almost all large companies pay women fairly

The vast majority of Swiss companies have a fair compensation policy between male and female employees.

This assessment is based on salary analysis  by the University of St. Gallen that examined companies with more than 100 employees.

It found that 97 percent of surveyed companies comply with the law on equal pay.

Another study, carried out by Comp-on Compensation Consultants, came up with a rate of 95 percent.

Only a few systematic deviations from the federal rules were discovered.

And yet… equality can also backfire

Schaffhausen’s Kantonalbank is reducing maternity leave for female employees: like men, women now receive the minimum required by law — the usual 16 weeks is reduced to 14.

According to the bank, this is to ensure “equal treatment”.

“The legislature has now provided for paternity leave. As a result, the length of maternity leave and paternity leave have been brought into line with the legal requirements, Therefore, in the interests of equal treatment, it is right to adjust the length of maternity leave to 14 weeks”, the bank explained.

READ MORE: How does paternity leave work in Switzerland – and who can claim it?

Did you know…that median monthly wage in Switzerland is 6,538 francs?

Salary platform Lohncomputer lists average monthly earnings estimates culled from various wage surveys.

Here are just a few examples:

Lawyer: 9,300 francs
Accountant: 8,125 francs
Teacher: 7,292 francs
Bank employee: 6,750
Architect: 6,250 francs
Nurse : 5,667 francs
Carpenter: 5,150 francs
Hairdresser: 4,375 francs

Other salary estimates can be found here.

Useful links

Looking for a job in Switzerland or just want a little more information about working here, then check out the following links. 

Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news

EXPLAINED: What cross-border workers should know about taxation in Switzerland

Who can continue to work from home in Switzerland?

An essential guide to Swiss work permits

The jobs roundup is new addition and we’d welcome any feedback or suggestions for areas it should cover. Please email us at [email protected]

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For members


Reader question: Does my Swiss employer have a right to fire me when I’m sick?

If you miss work due to illness, you might be worried about your rights at work. This is what Switzerland’s labour law says about being dismissed while on a sick leave.

Reader question: Does my Swiss employer have a right to fire me when I'm sick?

Being laid up with an illness is bad enough without having to worry about being let go from your job.

Generally speaking, workers in Switzerland are well protected through labour laws and collective agreements between employers and professional associations or trade unions, which set the terms and conditions of employment.

These categories are wide-ranging, including wages, holiday time, leaves of absence, as well as worker’s and employer’s rights during illness-related absences.

So what happens if you fall ill?

If you are absent for more than three days, you must present a medical certificate mentioning your diagnosis and how many days (or weeks or months) you will be absent from work.

During this time you will continue to receive your salary for a period of time based on the duration of your employment (see below) and whether your company has a sickness benefit insurance for employees

In this case, you will continue to be paid for up to 730 days for illness that lasts over 900 days.

But while most employers in Switzerland have this insurance, some don’t. If you happen to work for the latter kind,  you will continue to get your salary but for a very limited period: three weeks in the first year of employment, with increases for every additional year, up to a maximum of four months.

This period does, however, vary depending on the canton.

Does this mean you can’t be fired while sick?

No, your job is not going to be there waiting for you until you recover — you are protected from dismissal only for a limited period of time, depending on how long you have been employed at a company.

Your boss must keep you on for:

  •        30 days in the first year of work;
  •        90 days from the second to the fifth year of work; and
  •       180 days from the sixth year of work.

The only exception to this rule is if you get sick during the trial or probation period — usually between one or three months after you start a new job.

If that’s the case, the employer has the right to terminate your contract.

What if you fall ill after receiving or giving notice — in other words, you already know you will be leaving your job at a previously determined time?

If this happens, the notice period is postponed for the duration of your sick leave, and will resume once you are able to return to work.

More information about dismissal during sick leave can be found here.

The same rules apply if you are laid up after an accident — for the purposes of your employment, illness and post-accident recovery are the same.

Other absences

Situations might come up when you have to take time off for work for reasons other than sickness. Can you be fired?

In Switzerland, employees are allowed to take paid absence due to extreme or extraordinary situations other than sickness, including accidents, military service, marriage, and death of a close relative.

You can find out more about what absences are permitted under the law, including maternity and paternity leave here:

Everything you need to know about annual leave in Switzerland

And this is a useful guide about the employment laws all people working in Switzerland should know:

Getting fired in Switzerland: The employment laws you need to know about

Please keep in mind that this is a guide only and should not take the place of qualified legal advice.