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What do cleaners earn in Switzerland – and where do they earn the most?

Cleaners in Switzerland earn an average of 31 francs per hour. But as with everything in Switzerland, what you get paid will depend largely on the canton.

Two 'caution wet floor' signs in the shape of banana peels.
Cleaners are well paid in Switzerland, but the amount they get per hour varies from canton to canton. Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash

On a comparative basis, cleaners tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale. 

It’s the same case in Switzerland, although when compared to neighbouring countries, cleaning wages are relatively high. 

Across the country, cleaners in Switzerland earn an average of 31 francs per hour. 

READ MORE: What do teachers earn in Switzerland – and where do they earn the most?

But as a recent study put together by Swiss domestic worker agency Quitt, the amount you can earn will vary considerably from canton to canton. 

How do wages work in Switzerland? 

As The Local Switzerland has reported previously, Switzerland does not have a minimum wage at a federal level, although some cantons have put in place their own minimums. 

Basel City, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Geneva, and the Italian-speaking Ticino have put in place minimum wage standards. 

EXPLAINED: Which Swiss cantons have a minimum wage?

That said, workers in all industries have a relatively high minimum wage, due to unions and collective agreements. 

The value of these collective agreements can be seen by the fact that in all Swiss cantons, including those with a minimum wage, cleaners earn more than the statutory minimum. 

How much do cleaners earn in each Swiss canton? 

Cleaners in several cantons earn more than the 31 franc average, with most of these higher-paying cantons being in the German-speaking part of the country. 

Cleaners in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland earn less. 

Cleaners in Schwyz earn 32.15 per hour. Cleaners in Nidwalden earn CHF32 and 31.85 in Zurich. 

At the other end of the spectrum, cleaners in Neuchâtel earn 25.50 francs per hour. While this is much lower than their Swiss counterparts, it is still far higher than the statutory minimum of 20.08. 

Cleaners in Geneva (CHF26.80), Ticino (27.10) and Vaud (27.80) are also among the lowest paid. 

Why the variance? 

There are a number of factors underpinning why cleaners’ earnings vary from canton to canton. 

In some cantons, such as Graubünden, cleaners earn 31.70CHF, which is largely due to the high demand in the canton due to the number of holiday apartments. 

Cantons with higher income levels and lower tax also tend to pay cleaners better, Quitt spokesman Bernhard Bircher-Suits told Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes. 

“Wages are highest in high-income and low-tax cantons,” he said. 

The reason for the lower wages in French and Italian-speaking parts of the country is at least in part due to a greater number of cross-border workers, Bircher-Suits said, as well as a higher percentage of people working cash in hand jobs. 

A 2019 report by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) confirmed that cash work was more common in Latin Switzerland.

The study took into account more than 5,500 employment contracts of people in the cleaning business all across Switzerland and was published on October 30th, 2021. 

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WORKING IN SWITZERLAND

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Switzerland has made reciprocal agreements regarding working holiday visas with several countries. Here's what you need to know.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Over the past few decades, countries around the globe have rolled out ‘working holiday visa’ agreements.

These visa schemes, largely targeted at young people, allow people to work and live in a particular country, usually for a set period of time and pursuant to certain conditions.

In recent years, Switzerland has expanded its own form of a ‘working holiday visa’, although there are some important differences to be aware of.

Unlike some of the better known schemes like those in place in Australia, applicants are discouraged from moving around and are generally required to stay with the one employer for the duration.

The goal of the visa scheme is to allow applicants to “expand their occupational and linguistic skills in Switzerland”.

The visa scheme runs for 18 months and cannot be extended.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

The agreements are made between countries, meaning your fate will depend on whether your government has at some point struck a deal with Switzerland.

EXPLAINED: What’s the difference between permanent residence and Swiss citizenship?

If you are from the European Union or an EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), then you will be able to live and work in Switzerland as is – and will not need to go through this process.

If you come from outside the EU, you will only be able to apply for this visa if you are a citizen of the following countries:

Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United States.

What does ‘reciprocal’ mean in this context? 

Where these agreements have been struck, they have entitled citizens of both countries to certain rights and permissions in the other country. 

However, while these arrangements might be reciprocal, they are not identical. 

For instance, while citizens of Australia can enter Switzerland and work, the rules for Swiss citizens in Australia are significantly different. 

Therefore, if considering each program, be sure to study all of the relevant details as these will change from country to country and from agreement to agreement. 

More information is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How to get a working holiday visa in Switzerland

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