FTC regulated: Yes

Remarks

Art. 334 CO.

Valid reasons for FTC use: no limitation

Remarks

However, existence of safeguards.
1) According to Art. 334 CO, if a fixed-term contract is tacitly renewed, it is deemed concluded for an indefinite duration.
2) Art. 2, al 2 Civil code on fraud has been interpreted as preventing the use of "chain contracts" when not justified by any objective reason and aiming at circumventing the terms and conditions of dismissals prescribed by law or the application (case law of the Federal Tribunal).

Maximum number of successive FTCs: no limitation

Remarks

However, existence of safeguards.
1) According to Art. 334 CO, if a fixed-term contract is tacitly renewed, it is deemed concluded for an indefinite duration.
2) Art. 2, al 2 Civil code on fraud has been interpreted as preventing the use of "chain contract" when not justified by any objective reason and aiming at circumventing the terms and conditions of dismissals prescribed by law or the application (case law of the Federal Tribunal).

Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: no limitation

Remarks

However, existence of safeguards.
1) According to Art. 334 CO, if a fixed-term contract is tacitly renewed, it is deemed concluded for an indefinite duration.
2) Art. 2, al 2 Civil code on fraud has been interpreted as preventing the use of "contrats en chaîne" when not justified by any objective reason and aiming at circumventing the terms and conditions of dismissals prescribed by law or the application (case law of the Federal Tribunal).

Maximum probationary (trial) period (in months): 3 months

Remarks

Art. 335b(2) CO.
"1 Pendant le temps d'essai, chacune des parties peut résilier le contrat de travail à tout moment moyennant un délai de congé de sept jours; est considéré comme temps d'essai le premier mois de travail.
2 Des dispositions différentes peuvent être prévues par accord écrit, contrat-type de travail ou convention collective; toutefois, le temps d'essai ne peut dépasser trois mois. (...)"
________
In English:
Art. 335b(2) CO: "1 During the probation period, either party may terminate the contract at any time by giving seven days' notice; the probation period is considered to be the first month of an employment relationship.
2 Different terms may be envisaged by an individual written agreement, a standard employment contract or a collective employment contract; however, the probation period may not exceed three months. (...)"

Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes

Remarks

The Swiss CO distinguishes between two categories of individual dismissals:
1) Ordinary dismissal ("congé") by one of the party with a notice period:
Written justification must be provided upon request by the other party (art. 335 CO).

2) Termination by one one the party with immediate effect:
Written justification must be provided upon request of the other party (art. 337 CO).

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): none

Remarks

The employment contract can be terminated by either party provided that notice period requirements are complied with.
No list of valid grounds is provided. However, this does not result in a total freedom to terminate the contract: it must be understood in light of the existence of prohibited grounds. In addition, the CO states that dismissal ("congé") should not constitute an abuse of right (art. 336 CO).

For termination with immediate effect (no notice), fair reasons (good cause) are requested. Art. 337 CO provides in this respect that both the employer and the employee may terminate the employment relationship with immediate effect at any time for a "good cause" (fair reason). The party doing so must give his reasons in writing at the other party's request. The notion of "good cause" shall be understood as covering any circumstance which would render the continuation of the employment relationship in good faith not possible. The court shall determine, at its own discretion, whether there is a good cause.

Prohibited grounds: marital status, pregnancy, maternity leave, family responsibilities, filing a complaint against the employer, temporary work injury or illness, race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, political opinion, social origin, nationality/national origin, age, trade union membership and activities, disability, performing military or civil service, exercise of a right, state of health, conviction or failure to disclose a conviction

Remarks

Art. 336 CO provides as a general principle that "1. notice of termination is unlawful where given by one party:
a. on account of an attribute pertaining to the person of the other party, unless such attribute relates to the employment relationship or substantially impairs cooperation within the business;
b. because the other party exercises a constitutional right, unless the exercise of such right breaches an obligation arising from the employment relationship or substantially impairs cooperation within the business;
c. solely in order to prevent claims under the employment relationship from accruing to the other party;
d. because the other party asserts claims under the employment relationship in good faith;
e. because the other party is performing Swiss compulsory military or civil defence service or Swiss alternative civilian service or a non-voluntary legal obligation.

Further, para. 2 provides that notice of termination given by the employer is unlawful when given:
a. because the employee is or is not a member of an employees' organisation or because he carries out trade union activities in a lawful manner;
b. while the employee is an elected employee representative on the staff council for the business or on a body linked to the business and the employer cannot cite just cause to terminate his employment;
c. in the context of mass redundancies, without his having consulted the organisation that represents the employees or, where there is none, the employees themselves (Art. 335f).
Para. 3. provides that the protection against termination of employment afforded pursuant to paragraph 2 letter b to an employee representative whose mandate has ended as a result of transfer of the employment relationship (Art. 333) continues until such time as the mandate would have expired had such transfer not taken place."

This should also be read in the light of Art. 8 of the Swiss Constitution that specifically establishes a general prohibition based in particular on grounds of origin, race, gender, age, language, social position, way of life, religious, ideological, or political convictions or because of a physical, mental or psychological disability.

In addition, Art. 336c CO provides that after the probation period has expired, the employer may not terminate the employment relationship:
1.a. while the other party is performing Swiss compulsory military or civil defence service or Swiss alternative civilian service or, where such service lasts for more than eleven days, during the four weeks preceding or following it;
b. while the employee through no fault of his own is partially or entirely prevented from working by illness or accident for up to 30 days in the first year of service, 90 days in the second to fifth years of service and 180 days in the sixth and subsequent years of service;
c. during the pregnancy of an employee and the sixteen weeks following birth;
d. while the employee is participating with the employer's consent in an overseas aid project ordered by the competent federal authority.
2. Any notice of termination given during the proscribed periods stipulated in paragraph 1 is void; by contrast, where such notice was given prior to the commencement of a proscribed period but the notice period has not yet expired at that juncture, it is suspended and does not resume until the proscribed period has ended.

Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives, pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave, workers with a long period of service

Remarks

*No dismissal of pregnant women and women on maternity leave: art. 336c (1) c) CO
* Workers with an important length of tenure: higher protection with respect to severance allowance: art. 339b CO.
* Workers' representatives: constitutes an abusive termination the dismissal of an employee during the exercise of a mandate as employees' representative unless the employer demonstrates a justified motive for dismissal: art. 336 (2) b) CO.

Notification to the worker to be dismissed: written

Remarks

However, according to Art. 335 (2) CO, the party giving notice should state the reason for terminating employment in writing if requested by the other party.
The same rule applies in case of dismissal with immediate effect : art. 337 CO.

Notice period:

Remarks

1) For ordinary dismissals:
According to art. 335c CO, the general rule on the notice period is the following:
*1 month during the first year of service;
*2 months between 2 and 9 years of service;
*3 months over 9 years of service.

These timeframes can be modified by written agreement, collective agreement but shall not be less than 1 month.
Exceptions to this rule are permitted only during the first year of service and if set by a collective agreement (art. 335c (2) CO).

2) Specific rules apply to FTC:
No notice period is prescribed except for FTC concluded for up to 10 years (art. 334 (1) CO).
For FTC concluded for more than 10 years, a notice period of 6 months should be respected by either party (art. 334 (2) CO).

tenure ≥ 6 months:

  • All: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 9 months:

  • All: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 2 years:

  • All: 2 months.

tenure ≥ 4 years:

  • All: 2 months.

tenure ≥ 5 years:

  • All: 2 months.

tenure ≥ 10 years:

  • All: 3 months.

tenure ≥ 20 years:

  • All: 3 months.

Pay in lieu of notice: No

Remarks

However, frequently the employer decides to release the dismissed employee from the obligation to work during the notice period. The release from the obligation to work is a unilateral legal act, exercised by the employer by virtue of his right to give directives and instructions, within the meaning of Article 321d CO. The release from the obligation to work does not imply the end of the employment relationship. The contract shall continue to have effect until the end of the notice period.

Notification to the public administration: No

Notification to workers' representatives: No

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned): Art. 335d CO defines collective dismissals as those made by the employer within a period of 30 days for reasons that are not related to the personality of the workers and that affect the following numbers of workers:
1) at least 10 workers in undertakings employing between 20 and 100 workers;
2) at least 10% of the workforce in undertakings employing between 100 and 300 workers;
3) at least 30 workers in establishments employing at least 300 workers.

Remarks

Art. 335d CO.

Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): Yes

Remarks

Art. 335f CO provides that an employer intending to undertake a collective dismissall shall consult the employees' representative organisation or, where there is none, the employees themselves.
2. The employer shall give them at least an opportunity to formulate proposals on how to avoid such redundancies or limit their number and how to mitigate their consequences.
3. The employer shall provide the employees' representative organisation or, where there is none, the employees themselves with all appropriate information and in any event must inform them in writing of:
a. the reasons for the mass redundancies;
b. the number of employees to whom notice has been given;
c. the number of employees normally employed in the business;
d. the period in which he plans to issue the notices of termination.
4. The employer shall forward a copy of the information referred to in paragraph 3 to the cantonal employment office.

In addition, since 2014, pursuant to Art. 335h and 335i, the employer shall hold negotiations with the employees with the aim of preparing a social plan, if he:
a. normally employs at least 250 employees; and
b. intends to make at least 30 employees redundant within 30 days for reasons that have no connection with their persons.
A social plan is an agreement in which an employer and employees set out measures to avoid redundancies or to reduce their numbers and mitigate their effects.

Notification to the public administration: Yes

Remarks

Art. 335g CO provides that the employer shall notify the cantonal employment office in writing of any intended mass redundancies and shall forward a copy of such notification to the organisation that represents the employees or, where there is none, to the employees themselves.
2. Such notification shall contain the results of the consultation with the employees' representative organisation (Art. 335f) and all appropriate information regarding the intended mass redundancies.
3. The cantonal employment office shall seek solutions to the problems created by the intended mass redundancies. The organisation that represents the employees or, where there is none, the employees themselves may submit their own comments.
(...)

Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

Remarks

Art. 335f CO.

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

Remarks

335 f 2) CO: The employer shall allow workers' representatives to formulate proposals aiming at avoiding dismissals or mitigating their adverse effects. In addition, since 2014, pursuant to Art. 335h and 335i, the employer shall hold negotiations with the employees with the aim of preparing a social plan, if he:
a. normally employs at least 250 employees; and
b. intends to make at least 30 employees redundant within 30 days for reasons that have no connection with their persons.
A social plan is an agreement in which an employer and employees set out measures to avoid redundancies or to reduce their numbers and mitigate their effects.

Priority rules for re-employment: No

Severance pay:

Remarks

No general statutory severance pay or redundancy payment scheme. However, upon termination of the contract by either parties, a worker is at least 50 years old and has 20 or more or more years of service with the same employer is entitled to a long service payment ("indemnité à raison de longs rapports de travail")(art. 339c CO).
As a minimum, this payment should amount to 2 months wages and shall not exceed 8 months: art. 339c (1) &(2) CO. However, it may be reduced in part or cancelled if the employee terminates his contract without proper justification, if the employer summarily dismiss him for valid reasons or of if the payment of this amount would result in difficulties for the employer (art. 339c (3) CO).

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 0 months

Redundancy payment:

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 months

tenure ≥ 2 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 0 months

Notes / Remarks

Notes

No general statutory severance pay or redundancy payment scheme.
However, upon termination of the contract by either parties, a worker is at least 50 years old and has 20 or more or more years of service with the same employer is entitled to a long service payment ("indemnité à raison de longs rapports de travail": art. 339c CO).
As a minimum, this payment should amount to 2 months wages and shall not exceed 8 months: art. 339c (1) &(2) CO. However, it may be reduced in part or canceled if the employee terminates his contract without proper justification, if the employer summarily dismiss him for valid reasons or of if the payment of this amount would result in difficulties for the employer (art. 339c (3) CO).

Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: No

Remarks

Art. 336a CO provides that
1. A party who terminates the employment relationship unlawfully shall pay a compensation to the other party.
2. The court shall determine the compensation taking due account of all the circumstances, though the compensation shall not exceed an amount equivalent to six months' salary for the employee. (...)
3. Where termination is unlawful pursuant to Article 336 paragraph 2 letter c (i.e. in the context of collective dismissals where the prior consultation procedure has not been respected), compensation may not exceed two months' salary for the employee.

Compensation for unfair dismissal - Legal limits (ceiling in months or calculation method):

Remarks

1) Unfair dismissals (for ordinary dismissals):
Art. 336a CO (see above).

2) For dismissals with immediate effect in the absence of fair reason:
Art. 337c CO provides that where the employer dismisses the employee with immediate effect without good cause, the employee is entitled to damages in the amount he would have earned had the employment relationship ended after the required notice period or on expiry of its agreed duration. The court may order the employer to pay the employee an amount of compensation determined at the court's discretion taking due account of all circumstances; however, compensation may not exceed the equivalent of six months' salary for the employee.

Reinstatement available: No

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: No

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): ordinary courts

Remarks

Art. 34 du Code de procédure civile (2008)

Existing arbitration: Yes