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There are hardly any strikes in Switzerland, despite the official right to strike in existence since 1999. The foundations of social partnership – collective employment agreements and the renunciation of strikes laid down in the so-called “peace agreement” of 1937 – have consolidated this characteristic and made harmonious industrial relations an important part of Swiss life.
Employees and employers have various rights and duties. For example, maximum working hours, entitlement to holidays and insurance cover are regulated by law.
Employment contracts are generally concluded in writing, but oral contracts are also valid. The statutory provisions of the Swiss Code of Obligations apply. It sets out minimum standards. Further generally applicable provisions can be found in ordinances 1–5 of the Employment Act. The most important employee rights in Switzerland include the following:
- Employers are obliged to register their employees with the social insurance system, take out accident insurance for them and pay part of their contributions.
- All employees are entitled to at least four weeks of paid holidays. This also applies pro rata to persons who are employed on an hourly wage or work part-time.
- Employees have the right to receive a written employment certificate or confirmation of employment upon request.
- Anyone who falls ill or has an accident and has worked for the company for more than three months is entitled to a salary for a certain period of time.
- Pregnant women, women on maternity leave, and young employees (up to the age of 18) have special rights.