Leave Policy in Switzerland

Leave Policy in Switzerland
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If you are hiring employees living in Switzerland, you must familiarize yourself with applicable hiring practices, including statutory healthcare benefits, employer taxes, leave policy in Switzerland, and more. You, therefore, need to have significant knowledge of Swiss laws to stay compliant with these regulations.

That's why Skuad, your trusted employer of record, provides expert support and guidance in international hiring. Alongside allowing you to hire talent globally without setting up a legal entity and worrying about compliance, we also aid you in managing leave policies in different countries, including Switzerland.

In this article, read more about the employee leave policy in Switzerland and the regulations you must meet to stay compliant.

Annual leave in Switzerland

Under the employee leave policy in Switzerland, employers must provide employees over the age of 20 with a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation each year. Employees younger than 20 have the right to a minimum of five weeks of paid vacation each year.

These leave entitlements apply to both part-time and full-time employees.

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Public holidays in Switzerland

Switzerland has 26 cantons (administrative divisions or counties), all of which have specific public holiday schedules. Therefore, employers must provide employees one day off for Swiss National Day and up to eight regional public holidays, depending on the canton. Unlike in other countries, however, employers don't need to give employees a weekday off for a public holiday if the holiday falls on a weekend.

Below is a calendar containing major public holidays in Switzerland in 2023, listed by date, day of the week, and region. Employers should be aware, however, that employees may be eligible for additional time off for cantonal public holidays we didn't list in the table below.

Switzerland 2023 Public Holiday Calendar

Public Holiday Date Region
New Year's Day January 1 National
Berchtold's Day January 2 Aargau, Bern, Fribourg, Glarus, Jura, Luzern, Obwalden, Schaffhausen, Thurgau, and Vaud
Epiphany January 6 Graubünden, Luzern, Schwyz, Ticino, and Ur
Republic Day March 1 Neuchâtel
St Joseph's Day March 19 Graubünden, Luzern, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri, and Valais
Good Friday April 7 All cantons except Ticino and Valais
Easter Monday April 10 All cantons except Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Valais, and Zug
Näfelser Fahrt April 13 Glarus
Labour Day May 1 Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Jura, Luzern, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, and Zürich
Ascension Day May 18 National
Whit Monday May 29 All cantons except Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Valais, and Zug
Corpus Christi June 8 All cantons except Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Geneva, Glarus, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Vaud, and Zürich
Independence of Jura June 23 Jura
St Peter and St Paul June 29 Graubünden and Ticino
Swiss National Day August 1 National
Assumption Day August 15 Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Jura, Luzern, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Solothurn, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri, Valais, and Zug
Jeûne genevois September 7 Geneva
Day after the Federal Fast September 18 Vaud
St Mauritius September 22 Appenzell Innerrhoden
Brother Klaus Festival September 25 Obwalden
All Saints' Day November 1 All cantons except Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Geneva, Graubünden, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Thurgau, Vaud, and Zürich
Immaculate Conception December 8 Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Fribourg, Graubünden, Luzern, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Ticino, Uri, Valais, and Zug
Christmas Eve December 24 Glarus
Christmas Day December 25 National
St Stephen's Day September 26 All cantons except Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Valais, Vaud, and Zug
New Year's Eve December 31 Glarus
Restoration Day December 31 Geneva

Sick leave in Switzerland

Employees in Switzerland are entitled to paid time off when they're sick, up to a maximum period of 730 days out of 900. However, employees will need a doctor's note for periods of illness lasting longer than three consecutive days.

An employer's sickness benefit insurance typically covers this paid benefit. If an employer doesn't have sickness benefit insurance, they will be responsible for compensating their employees. However, employers are only responsible for paying employees for between three weeks and four months, depending on the employee's length of service.

Family responsibility leave in Switzerland

Every country has unique laws regarding family leave, such as maternity and paternity leave. These laws protect employees in the country where they reside, regardless of the employer's location.

Employers will need to abide by the following family leave entitlements in Switzerland.

Maternity leave in Switzerland

Employees who have continuously worked for your company for five or more months are entitled to maternity leave benefits. Maternity leave in Switzerland is a total of 98 calendar days (14 weeks total) and starts on the day of an employee's delivery.

However, in unique circumstances, employees can push maternity leave back. For instance, if an employee's baby gets hospitalized for two or more weeks, they can request to continue working until their baby gets released from the hospital, at which time their maternity leave will begin.

Employees can't pause and resume their maternity leave. Once they return to work, they forfeit the right to the remainder of their leave time. Employees also can't take less than eight weeks of maternity leave.

Breastfeeding break in Switzerland

When an employee returns from maternity leave in Switzerland, employers must comply with specific accommodations and ensure an employee:

  • Works no longer than nine hours a day
  • Has at least one paid 30-minute breastfeeding break in a shift that lasts up to four hours
  • Has at least one paid 60-minute breastfeeding break in a shift between four or seven hours
  • Has at least one paid 90-minute breastfeeding break in a shift longer than seven hours
  • Can request not to perform any job duties that are considered physically demanding or hazardous

Paternity leave in Switzerland

The employee leave policy in Switzerland also entitles workers to two weeks of paid paternity leave. Employees can take these two weeks at any point within six months of their child's birth (e.g., a single two-week period or 14 single days scattered over six months).

Adoption leave in Switzerland

Adoption leave is not a nationally protected benefit, so not all employers need to award employees paid time off when adopting a child. However, certain Swiss cantons have enacted adoption leave benefits to which employees are entitled. Employers must know which cantons their employees reside in and offer adoption leave benefits that comply with regional regulations.

Leave for an injured or sick child in Switzerland

If an employee's child (under 12 years) is ill or injured, the employee is entitled to up to three days of paid leave per year. However, employees whose children are chronically ill or have a medical condition that requires them to stay home regularly are entitled to up to 14 weeks of paid childcare leave per 18 months.

Leave to care for relatives in Switzerland

Employees in Switzerland are entitled to paid time off to care for relatives. However, to be eligible for these benefits, the employee and their relative must have lived together for at least five years before the employee's leave.

This paid leave benefit is for periods of up to three days at a time but cannot exceed ten days per year.

Leave for military duty in Switzerland

Employers are required to offer employees leave for military duty in Switzerland. Although the employer is not required to pay the employee during this time, they can't legally fire the employee. Moreover, if an employee has passed their military probation period and served in the military for at least 11 days, they have an additional protective window of four weeks leading up to their active service and four weeks after.

Hire and manage talent in Switzerland with ease

When you hire employees in Switzerland, you must comply with the mandatory employee leave policies in the country. In addition, employees will be entitled to any other local benefits as mandated by the Swiss government and the cantonal government where the employee resides.

Managing and meeting all these requirements can be complicated indeed, especially for those unfamiliar with local Swiss employment laws. That's why Skuad is here to help you hire and manage your remote employees residing in Switzerland. We ensure you comply with all local laws, including payroll and taxes, without wasting time, effort, and resources.

When you partner with Skuad, we assume this risk for you, allowing you to focus on scaling your international team and hiring the best talent in Switzerland.  

Contact us at Skuad today to learn more about how we can help you with the employee leave policy in Switzerland, as well as payroll, taxes, and other parts of international hiring.

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