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Overview of Switzerland

Switzerland is located in the middle of Europe, in the mountainous region of the Alps. Switzerland is a small country with a population of 8.57 million. Switzerland has 4 official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. It is divided up into 26 cantons. While being one of the most expensive countries in the world, Switzerland is also one of the countries with the highest quality of life. Switzerland has the third-highest salary and job security out of all OECD countries. Switzerland is also well known for its watches and chocolate.

Swiss are still known for being conservative – despite being very innovative when it comes to technology. Attitudes and personalities vary from canton to canton but making a good impression is always important. Swiss are always polite and reserved in attitude and have a formal, conservative dress code. The hierarchy in Switzerland is still very rigid from top to bottom. As Switzerland is the country of clockmakers, punctuality is much appreciated.

Currency of Switzerland

  • Swiss franc

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of Switzerland

If one lives in Switzerland, one is required by law to have basic health and accident insurance. Unlike other European countries, the Swiss healthcare system is not tax-based but is paid for instead by individual contributions. Healthcare in Switzerland is mostly organized by the individual cantons and is not centralized.

Anyone living in Switzerland has access to the healthcare system as long as they have healthcare insurance coverage. This covers about 80-90% of the healthcare costs.

Adults have to pay the first CHF 300 each year before the health insurance kicks in. There is a charge of CHF 15 a day for a hospital stay. Insurances pay up to 90% of the healthcare amount, excluding the upfront ‘excess’ paid. However, the ‘excess’ is capped at CHF 700 a year for adults and CHF 350 for children.

Employer cost of Switzerland

The cost for an employer to hire someone in Switzerland is a plus of 6.00% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of Switzerland

Regular employees are paid monthly.

Commissions, incentives, and bonuses are variable and will be agreed upon directly with the employer.

Public Holidays in Switzerland

As Switzerland is made up of 26 cantons, each canton sets their public holidays separately. Below are the ones that all cantons share.

  • January 1st – New Year’s Day
  • 39 days after Easter – Ascension Day
  • August 1st – Swiss National Day
  • December 25th – Christmas Day

Working Hours in Switzerland

Office hours are from 8.00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.

A regular work week is 42 – 45 hours. The Swiss believe in working more than their neighbors, and employees are expected to put in the extra mile.

Overtime is usually compensated with time off or 125% of the salary.

Vacation in Switzerland

If one is under the age of 20, one receives 25 days of vacation. If one is over the age of 20, one receives 20 days of vacation.

Sick Leave in Switzerland

If one gets sick in Switzerland, the amount of sick leave one receives depends on how long one has been employed by an employer. During the first year of employment, an employee is entitled to 3 weeks of paid sick leave – this starts after the 4th month of employment. Paid sick leave varies between cantons. In some cantons, long-standing employees are granted as much as 46 weeks of paid sick leave.

Termination/Severance in Switzerland

When terminating an employee in Switzerland, one can do so at will by giving written notice. Notice periods must be adhered to. If the employee has been with the company for less than 1 year, the notice period is one month at the end of the calendar month. If the employee has been with the company longer than 1 year but less than 10, the notice period is 2 months. If the employee has been with the company for more than 10 years, the notice period is 3 months.

There is no statutory severance pay. For an employee over 50 years of age with at least 20 years of service, the law stated the severance pay must be a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 monthly salaries.