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Length, notice: What counts in the probation period?

The probation period lasts between one and three months. There is a seven-day period of notice. There is no protection against dismissal in the case of illness, accident or pregnancy.

Under your new employment agreement there is a three-month probationary period and a seven-day period of notice. Can that be right? Yes, it is. This is what the law states. However, you and your employer can agree on an alternative.

Length of probation period

If you have an indefinite employment contract, the first month you work is the probation period. However, your employer may choose to increase the probation period to three months or not to set one at all.

The probation period is agreed in writing. It must be the same for both employer and employee.  

If you have an apprenticeship contract, a probation period of between one and three months can also be agreed. In some cases it may be extended to six months, but the cantonal authorities have to approve this. And it must be extended before the original probation period comes to an end.

Fixed-term employment contracts

There is no statutory probation period for fixed-term employment contracts. However, one can be agreed on.

Extending the probation period beyond three months

Period of notice

There is a seven-day period of notice during the probation period. Notice can be given on any day, but it must be received by the other party during the probation period
You can give notice verbally unless written notice has been agreed on in your employment contract.

No grounds must be provided for giving notice. However, if your employer gives you notice, you can ask to be told the reasons.

You and your employer may agree on alternative arrangements regarding the period of notice to be given during the probation period.

Accident, illness, pregnancy

If you have an accident or are ill during your probation period, your employer may extend it beyond three months. But you may also be given notice. During the probation period there is no protection against dismissal in the case of accident or illness, nor if you get pregnant. However, you are not obliged to inform the employer if you are pregnant.