Comparative Guides
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Results: 4 Answers
Labour and Employment
5.
Dismissals and terminations
5.1
Must a valid reason be given to lawfully terminate an employment contract?
 
Switzerland
To lawfully give notice of termination, no valid reason need be given. However, the party giving notice of termination must state the reason in writing if the other party so requests.

For more information about this answer please contact: Roland Bachmann from Wenger Plattner
5.2
Is a minimum notice period required?
 
Switzerland
Employers are required to give notice of termination. Notice can be given orally, unless the employment contract states otherwise. As a rule, statutory law provides for the following notice periods:

  • During the probationary period, either party may terminate the contract at any time by giving seven days’ notice. The probationary period is considered to be the first month of an employment relationship.
  • After expiry of the probationary period, the employment relationship may be terminated at one month’s notice during the first year of service, at two months’ notice in the second to ninth years of service and at three months’ notice thereafter.

These notice periods may be varied by written individual, standard or collective employment contract. However, they may be reduced to less than one month only by collective employment contract and only for the first year of service.

Notice periods must be the same for both parties. Where an agreement provides for different notice periods, the longer period is applicable to both parties. However, where the employer has given notice to terminate the employment relationship or expressed an intention to do so for economic reasons, the employee may be permitted a shorter notice period by individual agreement, standard employment contract or collective employment contract.

For more information about this answer please contact: Roland Bachmann from Wenger Plattner
5.3
What rights do employees have when arguing unfair dismissal?
 
Switzerland
In case of unfair dismissal, the employee has a claim for compensation against the employer. The court determines the amount of compensation taking due account of all circumstances of the case. Compensation for unfair dismissal will not exceed an amount equivalent to six months’ salary for the employee. The employee may, however, bring claims for additional damages that are based on other grounds than unfair dismissal.

The employee seeking compensation for unfair dismissal must submit an objection letter to the employer by no later than the end of the notice period. The employee may want to request that the employer state the reasons for the dismissal in writing prior to submitting the objection letter.

Where the objection has been properly submitted and the parties cannot reach agreement, the employee must bring his or her claim within 180 days of the end of employment. The claim becomes time-barred if not brought within this legal deadline.

For more information about this answer please contact: Roland Bachmann from Wenger Plattner
5.4
What rights, if any, are there to statutory severance pay?
 
Switzerland
In the unlikely absence of pension benefits funds, federal law provides for the following rules:

  • Where an employment relationship with an employee of at least 50 years of age comes to an end after 20 years or more of service, the employer must pay the employee a severance allowance.
  • The severance allowance may be reduced or dispensed with if the employee has terminated the employment relationship without good cause, or if the employer itself has terminated it with immediate effect for good cause or the payment of such allowance would inflict financial hardship on it.
  • Where the employee receives benefits from an occupational benefits scheme, these may be deducted from the severance allowance to the extent that they were funded by the employer either directly or through its contributions to the occupational benefits scheme. In Switzerland, employers are in most cases under a legal obligation to have such an occupational pension benefits scheme. It follows therefrom that employees do not have a right to claim for severance pay in almost every instance.

Social plans may provide for severance pay if there are mass redundancies.

For more information about this answer please contact: Roland Bachmann from Wenger Plattner