Answer ... The most important rules on a federal level regarding parental leave are as follows:
- As a rule, men have the right to attend birth, but are not entitled to parental leave.
- Mothers of new-born children are entitled to at least 14 weeks’ maternity leave. Social insurance provides for partial coverage against loss of salary if the legal requirements are met (SR 834.1).
- Mothers of new-born children are prohibited from working for the first eight weeks following childbirth.
- In the eight weeks before the baby’s due date, pregnant employees are prohibited from working between 8:00pm and 6:00am.
- Pregnant employees may refuse to work at any time if they feel unwell. However, they will lose salary payments if they are unable to submit a medical certificate.
- Article 336(c) of the Code of Obligations prohibits employers from giving termination notices to female employees during pregnancy or for 16 weeks following the birth of a child.
Answer ... Mothers of new-born children are entitled to maternity leave of at least 14 weeks. Social insurance provides for partial coverage against loss of salary if the legal requirements are met (SR 834.1).
Answer ... Trade unions are recognised if they meet certain requirements. The following requirements must be met for trade or labour union recognition:
- Unions must have legal capacity.
- Unions must be independent from employers – in particular, there must be financial, organisational and staff independence.
- Unions must be independent from third parties (eg, governmental authorities).
- Membership must be voluntary (ie, no compulsory membership).
- By statute, the union must be competent to negotiate and enter into a collective labour agreement.
The rules on collective bargaining are set out in the Code of Obligations (SR 220) and the Federal Act on Declaring Generally Applicable Collective Bargaining Agreements (SR 221.215.311).
The Federal Constitution sets out the requirements for collective actions. Recognised unions may organise strikes or employee lock-outs (Article 28 of the Federal Constitution; SR 101). The following requirements must be met to avoid unauthorised collective action:
- Only recognised unions are authorised to organise collective actions (see above regarding trade and labour union recognition).
- The purpose of the collective action must be to amend an existing collective labour agreement or to fight for a new collective labour agreement – organised strikes must target items which may form part of a collective labour agreement.
- As a rule, unions have a duty to negotiate before taking collective action. Article 357(a)(2) of the Code of Obligations provides for a duty of the parties to maintain peace and to abstain from collective actions regarding matters already regulated by the collective bargaining agreement (SR 220). The collective bargaining agreement may provide for an extension of the duty to maintain peace to any other item for a limited period. Further, statutory laws may generally prohibit strikes in sectors which are critical to maintain public security and health.
- Collective actions must be fair – vital parts of a business must be maintained to allow for the resumption of work upon the end of a strike. Criminal acts are prohibited at all times.
Answer ... Under Article 328 of the Code of Obligations, employers must acknowledge and safeguard their employees’ personality rights, including privacy, and must take all reasonable measures using the latest technology to appropriately protect employees’ privacy.
Under Article 26, Ordinance 3 of the Federal Work Act, in principle, monitoring systems which systematically control an employee’s behaviour in the workplace are prohibited (SR 822.113).
Employees have additional rights under the Federal Act on Data Protection (SR 235.1). Under Article 328(b) of the Code of Obligations, employers may handle only data that is needed to assess an employee’s eligibility and ability to perform work, or that is required by law to properly process the employment relationship.
Answer ... Statutory law provides that a fixed-term employment relationship ends without notice. However, if a contingent worker relationship is tacitly extended beyond the agreed duration, the employment relationship is deemed to be open ended and notice must be given to terminate employment.
After 10 years, any employment relationship contracted for a longer duration may be terminated by either party by giving six months’ notice, expiring at the end of a month.
Further, there are specific regulations on temporary work arrangements in terms of staffing arrangements provided by employment agencies. Those arrangements are often entered into for a limited period and provide for flexible workforces (Federal Act on Placement Agencies and Staffing Leasing Services; SR 823.11).