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Professional activity is subject to rights and duties. The conditions of employment, tax obligations and collective labour agreements may seem complex at first glance. They are actually easier to understand than it seems and essential to know. Here you will find the details you are looking for.

Employment contract

When an employing entity decides to hire you, they will have you sign an employment contract. Although an employment contract can be concluded orally, in Switzerland the practice is to conclude a written contract. In all cases, the conditions of employment (duration of the contract, working time, amount of the annual salary, type of work to be carried out, social deductions, working hours, holidays, trial period and notice period, etc.), must be discussed before starting your professional activity.


In Switzerland, the level of salaries varies considerably depending on the sector of activity and the region. They are negotiated either individually or collectively.

Swiss law does not define a minimum wage: the amount of the salary is most often agreed between the employer and the worker at the time of hiring.

However, some collective labour agreements and standard employment contracts provide for compulsory minimum wages for certain categories of professions. The salary is agreed between the employer and the worker. It depends on many factors (experience, qualifications, region, etc.). The amount of the salary is fixed monthly or hourly. The salary is generally paid at the end of the month by the employer into your bank or postal account. It is important to check that your salary has been paid into your account. Employees in principle receive a monthly salary statement.

Employees may give formal notice to the employer to pay them, within a suitable period, their salary and threaten to suspend their professional activities if they have not received their remuneration in due time, provided that they have previously carried out the agreed work. A 13th salary is only due if it has been expressly agreed in the employment contract or if it is provided for by an applicable collective labour agreement or standard employment contract.

Special remuneration is generally provided for work performed temporarily at night, on Sundays and on public holidays. But this is not the case when night or Sunday work is regular. To find out about the salaries in use in a profession, there are salary calculators, some of which are listed on the link below.

Find salary calculators

The employer must respect the principle of equality between women and men in the field of wages. The Bureau de l’Egalité entre les Femmes et les Hommes (Gender Equality Office) will tell you how to proceed in the event of discrimination in employment relationships.

Bureau de l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes

Rue Caroline 11
1014 Lausanne
021 316 61 24

Social deductions

Wages fixed in an employment contract are stated in gross amounts. Social deductions are shared equally between the company and the employee. These include old-age and survivors’ insurance (AVS), invalidity insurance (AI), allowance for loss of earnings (APG), unemployment insurance (AC), cantonal supplementary benefits for families (PCFam) and non-occupational accident insurance (AANP), the premium of which is paid entirely by the company.

Three-pillar system and unemployment insurance

Working time

Salaried work is linked to a fixed working time for which the employee is remunerated. Swiss law sets a maximum duration of working time at:

  • 45 hours per week for employees in industrial businesses, office staff, technical staff and sales staff of large retail chains.
  • 50 hours per week for other workers.



Several laws in Switzerland regulate the rights of pregnant workers, workers who have given birth as well as nursing mothers. These are, for example: working conditions and the normal length of the working day for pregnant women, protection against dismissal during pregnancy and up to sixteen weeks after the birth, prohibition of work for eight weeks after the birth, maternity leave, the right to time for breastfeeding during work, etc.


Men who become fathers have the right to paternity leave of ten working days since 1 January 2021.

Maternity – protection of women workers, SECO

Arrangement of working time and maternity, SECO

Family allowances

Family allowances aim to offset part of the costs that parents have to assume for the upkeep of their children.

Insurance related to maternity and children

I have a problem with my employer, what should I do?

Many workers’ associations, called “unions”, are at your disposal to provide you with information on work and/or support you in any conflict with your employer.

More information

Among them, the UNIA trade union specialises in the rights of people with a migration background. It has several sections spread over the Vaud territory.


Place de la Riponne 4
1005 Lausanne
0848 606 606

Undeclared work

In Switzerland, undeclared work, also called “work on the black” is illegal. We speak of undeclared work when one of the obligations of announcement or authorisation is not respected in terms of social insurance law, foreigners’ rights, or tax law.

As soon as a person works on the black market, they have no guaranteed salary or job security. Although it is largely dependent on the goodwill of the company, they nevertheless have rights to assert. An oral employment contract guarantees minimum working conditions, such as the right to a salary in accordance with local customs and the profession, the right to paid holidays, continued payment of salary for a certain time in the event of accident or illness, compliance with notice periods.

In the event of undeclared work, the employee can seek dialogue with their employer. In the event of failure, they may appeal to a trade union (including employees without a residence permit) or to the Labour Court. In the event of undeclared work, the company is sanctioned by the authorities.


You are subject to tax in the canton of Vaud because you live in a municipality of the canton or because other elements attach you there (stay, ownership or usufruct of buildings, independent activity, etc.). There are two methods of taxation:

  • Withholding tax (B, L, F, N, Ci permit, etc.). Your employer deducts taxes directly from your salary.
  • Annual declaration (C permit and Swiss nationals).

You must complete your tax return each year (possible on the internet). You can pay monthly instalments on what you earn today to avoid having to pay your taxes all at once when you receive your tax the following year. The cantonal tax administration (ACI) is there to provide you with all the information on the matter.

More information

Pratical information

In principle, people with a B permit are taxed at source, but in some cases they must complete an annual declaration.