New employees and their employers who hire a new employee need to sign an employment contract. This contract sets out the rights and obligations that apply to both parties in the employment relationship.
The contract signed by the employer and the employee must include at the following information:
The name of the employee and the name of the employer
The date of commencement of the employment relationship
The employee’s function
The salary and any allowances
The weekly working hours
In the case of a fixed-term contract, the employer must clearly indicate the date that the contract ends.
Additional special rules must be included in the contract, such as a ban on competition or the regulation of overtime.
A collective employment agreement is an agreement concluded between employers’ associations and workers’ associations / unions. The two parties define the minimum conditions (e.g. minimum wage) to be observed. In Switzerland, there are many collective employment agreements, including collective employment agreements for hairdressers, the construction industry, private security and the bakery-pastry sector.
These collective employment agreements are generally binding to a specific sector throughout Switzerland. There also company-specific collective employment agreements (e.g. Coop or Migros collective employment agreements) and collective employment agreements specific to a certain region, with conditions that only apply in a specific company or region.
In professional sectors that do not have a collective employment agreement, the federal or cantonal authorities can establish a standard employment contract in which they define the minimum compulsory wages. The employer can only modify these conditions to offer better terms for employees.
The aim of the standard employment contract is to put an end to repeated violations of the usual wage conditions for an occupation or a region.
An example of a standard employment contract is the contract for domestic staff at national level (web page available in German, French and Italian). This and other cantonal examples (web page available in German, French and Italian) can be found on the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Further information on employment contracts (web page available in German, French and Italian) is available on the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs provides an FAQ on labour law and a list of useful contacts (web page available in German, French and Italian). Advice is free of charge in most cases. Users are charged a minimal fee for some advice.
For more information about collective employment agreements, please visit the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which has a complete list of the national and cantonal collective employment agreements (web pages available in German, French and Italian).