Both employees and companies often assume that the date of the postmark is definitive when it comes to the punctual receipt of a letter of termination and its validity. But they are wrong.
The decisive factor concerning the delivery of a letter of termination by the employer or the employee is not the postmark, but the time of its arrival at the recipient's address. Termination only becomes effective when it has been received by the other party or when it comes into their area of control and they would have been able to acknowledge it.
What matters therefore is that the recipient receives the notice of termination by the last day of the month at the latest. If the letter is delayed by just a few days, the employment relationship continues for a whole month longer.
It's not that simple – in fact, quite the opposite applies: The express refusal to take receipt of a registered letter is deemed to be the equivalent of receipt. Because in this instance, the letter came into their area of control and they would have been able to acknowledge it.
If a registered letter of termination cannot be delivered, it is deemed to have reached its destination if it is available at the post office for collection according to the postal service invitation. This is on condition that you are in a position to collect the letter.
Since the risk of delayed delivery of the letter lies with the terminating party, it is recommended that the letter be sent by registered post. Another option: You hand over the written notice of termination in person and get a receipt. In this case, you can wait until the last day of the month to give notice.
Ignoring the collection notice and leaving the registered letter uncollected at the post office will not prevent the notice of termination from taking effect. The notice of termination is generally deemed to have been delivered on the first day of the collection period. This is on condition that you are in a position to collect the letter. If you are on vacation, for example, the termination notice will only take effect on your return. And if you're sick and therefore unfit for work, the termination notice cannot take effect. In this case, you must prove your incapacity for work – ideally with a medical certificate.
In Switzerland, there is no delivery of registered letters on Saturdays. Let's say you want to terminate your employment relationship at the end of July 2019, and your notice period is one month, your termination notice must reach your employer by June 30, 2019 at the latest. However, as June 30, 2019 is a Sunday, your termination notice must have been delivered before this date. This means in practice: by registered letter on Friday, June 28, 2019, or verbally or in person on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at the latest.
As an alternative to registered mail, notice of termination may also be sent by A-Post+. In this instance, the letter is placed in the mailbox and delivery is documented and registered. The sender can later determine precisely when the letter was placed in the mailbox through the tracking system.
The benefit of this option is that the letter is deemed to have been delivered when placed in the mailbox. Delivery usually takes place on the following day and even on Saturdays.
Unless stated otherwise in the employment contract, collective employment agreement (CEA) or standard employment contract (NEA), you can also give notice to terminate via email. Notice of termination is also deemed to have been delivered if the addressee has received and acknowledged it. However, this form of termination is not advisable. If the recipient disputes having received the email, the sender must be able to prove that the email was delivered. Obtaining this proof is very cumbersome and expensive in practice, as the provider would have to be involved. We therefore advise using trusted options such as registered mail or A-Post+.
Assuming that there is no statement to the contrary in your employment contract, collective labor agreement (GAV) or standard employment contract (NAV), you can also give verbal notice to your employer – and vice versa. However, since it is difficult to prove that you have given verbal notice, you are recommended to do so in the presence of a witness. Here too, the following applies: Notice of termination must be given by the last day of the month.