Expand your organization into Switzerland without a Swiss entity
Switzerland is a beautiful and culturally diverse country in a well-connected central region of Europe, with an exceptionally strong economy for its small size and a highly educated population. For these reasons and more, Switzerland is an excellent place for foreign businesses to establish and build a presence.
However, expanding your organization to Switzerland can come with unforeseen delays. The country has several different official languages, 26 cantons (states) with their own regulations, and a distinct set of national business and employment laws that can make the process difficult to navigate. In many cases, establishing a presence and expanding into Switzerland can take weeks or even months to complete.
At Horizons, we help businesses from all industries to expand abroad, including into Switzerland. Our professional employer organization (Switzerland PEO), employer of record, and payroll services can provide your organization with everything you need to kickstart your Switzerland expansion in a matter of days, not months.
As the only global PEO with an in-house recruitment team, we can also take care of the sourcing, hiring, and onboarding of your Swiss workforce, along with any associated HR and legal compliance work. Our tailored services can save you thousands in associated expansion costs.
Why expand in Switzerland with Horizons?
Horizons enables your business to expand its operations into Switzerland, without having to set up a legal subsidiary.
Employment & Labor Laws in Switzerland
📝 Employment contracts in Switzerland
We strongly recommend providing all employees with a formal contract of employment in Switzerland. Contracts should have any relevant details of the employment arrangement, such as salary, vacation leave, and termination terms. Swiss francs should be used when referencing salary/wage.
By partnering with our Switzerland PEO, Horizons’ team of local experts can provide assistance for drafting strong employment contracts that are compliant with local regulations.
⏰ Working hours in Switzerland
Working hours in Switzerland vary for different types of employees, and is between 45 and 50 hours per week. However, in practice, the standard working week for more employees is around 40 hours. Overtime is paid at a rate of at least 25% more than normal pay, and the exact terms are usually laid out in each employment contract.
📅 Public holidays in Switzerland
Employees in Switzerland are entitled to one national public holiday (National Day), but the different cantons also have their own holidays for residents. The most commonly followed are:
New Year’s Day
Saint Joseph’s Day
Daylight Saving Time starts
Jura Independence Day
St. Peter and St. Paul
Swiss National Day
Assumption of Mary
12 Sep-14 Sep
Swiss Federal Fast
Federal Fast Monday
September Equinox,Mauritius Day
St. Nicholas of Flüe
Daylight Saving Time ends
All Saints’ Day
St. Stephen’s Day
New Year’s Eve, Restoration Day
🏖 Switzerland vacation leave
All employees in Switzerland are entitled to at least 20 days of paid leave. Some employers may choose to offer more, or employees may negotiate more on an individual basis.
😷 Switzerland sick leave
In an employee’s first year with a company, their employer must offer up to three weeks of paid sick leave, but the precise amount depends on the canton. The employee must provide a medical note for absences of over three days in a row. The allowance may change after one year of employment, but the length depends on the role, amount of time in the role, and canton.
👶 Parental leave in Switzerland
Mothers in Switzerland can take paid maternity leave as long as they have been employed with one employer for at least three months continuously and paid their social security contributions for a certain period of time. Mothers in every canton except Geneva can take 14 weeks after her child is born (at 80% pay). In Geneva, the allowance is 16 weeks. Their job roles are also protected for 26 weeks after their child’s birth.
Mothers are also entitled to special allowances to protect their health, such as being able to avoid physical work, night shifts, and more.
Fathers are not entitled to any paid paternity leave, but some companies offer an allowance as part of their benefits packages.
💰 Terminations and severance in Switzerland
The amount of notice that must be provided to employees before termination is determined by length of employment:
- Up to one year of employment = One month of notice
- Between two and nine years = Two months of notice
- Ten years or more = Three months of notice
For employees in a probation period, the notice period is at least seven days.
Severance payments are not legally required.
Navigating employee terminations and handling severance packages can be complicated for companies expanding overseas for the first time. Horizons’ Switzerland PEO can mitigate risk for foreign companies and provide guidance through this process.
🏦 Taxation in Switzerland
The national tax rate for employers is on a progressive scale, ranging from 0% to 11.5%, but there is an additional rate charged by each canton that depends on location.
The corporate tax rate in Switzerland is approximately 8% at a national level, but each canton also charges its own rate so it is important to understand the local regulations wherever you operate.
🏥 Health coverage in Switzerland
Switzerland’s healthcare system is excellent, and insurance must be arranged by employees. Some employers do offer coverage, but it is not necessarily required.
💳 Switzerland compensations & benefits
Compensation laws in Switzerland
Switzerland’s cantons set their own minimum wages. Geneva, one of the cantons, set the record of the world’s highest minimum wage in 2020, with an hourly rate of at least 23 swiss francs.
Benefit management in Switzerland
Setting up a benefits system for your Swiss employees can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the country and its unique labor laws, which can differ from region to region. If you want to independently set up your benefits system, you can expect it to take weeks or even months, potentially presenting significant delays to your Swiss expansion.
Horizons offers an alternative to massively simplify the setup and running of your Swiss benefits system. Our outsourcing services can cover all of your benefit setup and ongoing management, helping you focus on a faster and more successful expansion.