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Working on Sundays and weekends in Switzerland: What you need to know

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Working on Sundays and weekends in Switzerland: What you need to know
Photo: Depositphotos
16:50 CET+01:00
Do you work on Sundays or weekends in Switzerland - or have you been asked to do so? Here’s what you need to know.

Swiss labour laws can be difficult to navigate at the best of times, with complex rules, linguistic challenges and some cantonal variations. But for those asked to work on Sundays, authorisation and consent must be obtained - while you will be paid more in most cases. 

Keep in mind that this is just a general outline and does not equate to legal advice. The relevant rules for Sunday workers are laid out under Ordinance 2 of the Employment Act, so consult an updated statute book or of Course ask a lawyer. 

READ: Switzerland still the biggest magnet for skilled workers

The relevant government authority regarding employment is the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

Employment in Switzerland

The Swiss economy is strong and unemployment is low, making it great for job hunters and employers alike. Employers are also subject to a range of restrictions on when their employees are allowed to work. 

Working more than 45 hours per week is restricted, as is working before 6am or after 11pm - with similar restrictions applying on Sundays. 

READ: The pros and cons of working in Switzerland

It’s Sunday I’m in love

Generally speaking, working on Sunday - technically between 11pm on Saturday and 11pm on Sunday - is forbidden. If your employer wants you to work on Sundays, he or she will need to get your express permission as well as an authorisation from the relevant authority. 

There are exceptions to this prohibition where the work is of an emergency nature or where it is “essential for technical or economic reasons”. 

The same applies on public holidays, with Swiss law classifying them under the same banner as Sundays. 

This restriction only applies on Sunday however, with Monday to Saturday considered as part of the regular working week (after 6am and before 11pm, of course). 

Employers are required to keep a record of the hours worked and the starting times of their employees on Sundays. 

Am I entitled to extra pay on Sunday?

If you are temporarily required to work on a Sunday, you’re entitled to a 50 percent increase in your regular working wage. 

What makes you a temporary Sunday worker? When working a maximum of six Sundays per year you can still be considered temporary. Any more and you aren’t deemed temporary - and you won’t be entitled to the 50 percent increase. 

If an employer requires that you work on a Sunday, they’re also required to give you time off for Sunday that you worked - whether or not you are deemed to be working on a temporary or permanent basis. 

If you worked less than five hours, you need to be given an equivalent number of hours off within four weeks.

If you worked more than five hours, you need to be given an entire day off - in either the week before or the week after the Sunday that you worked. 

You’re also not allowed to work for more than six days in a row. 

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