The Federal Council has adopted stricter precautionary measures for workers and special provisions for bars, restaurants, fitness studios and many other public establishments and businesses. Companies must swiftly adapt to the new requirements and overcome many challenges in the process.
AXA-ARAG’s labor law experts answer the most important questions for employers in this national emergency.
If the workshop isn’t open to the public, the FOPH’s mask requirement doesn’t apply. However, you do have the right as an employer to issue instructions. You can tell your staff to wear masks, even if they aren’t officially required.
If your office isn’t open to the public, the FOPH’s mask requirement doesn’t apply, so you don’t need to provide masks.
However, if you decide to impose your own mask requirement as the employer, your staff are entitled to expect you to provide them with free masks. The Swiss Code of Obligations states that employers must provide their employees with the tools and materials that their work requires.
If employees refuse to wear a mask in the workplace, you can issue a warning or terminate their contract. Once you’ve warned them, you’re even entitled to fire them without notice.
Employees who work in spaces that are accessible to the general public – such as shops, post offices or restaurants – and refuse to wear masks face more severe consequences. According to the Epidemics Act, they can expect to be fined up to CHF 10,000, as can customers or visitors.
No, that's not an option. As an employer, you can of course decide the timing of holidays, but when you do, you must also take the wishes of your employees into account. Furthermore, employees have a right to be informed in advance of mandatory vacation, normally three months in advance.
As already mentioned, you can of course decide on the timing of holidays, but when you do, you must also take your employees into account and inform them in advance. Postponing vacation that has already been agreed is only justified on reasonable grounds. Should this be the case, your employees must accept the change in vacation. You must inform your employees of this postponement as soon as possible. You must bear any costs incurred as a result, such as cancellation costs of hotels or flights.
In this case, the cantonal doctor would assess the situation and take any necessary steps. These would be health measures such as quarantine or closure of a business.
The cantonal employment office answers questions on issues such as forms and advance notification of reduced working hours. The unemployment insurance fund is responsible for dealing with questions about benefits and calculations for reduced working hours.
No, there is no compulsory vaccination in Switzerland. Even in a pandemic, it’s difficult for you as an employer to insist on compulsory vaccination.
It is debatable who bears business and economic risk in a pandemic. As this situation has never arisen before, there is no case law and lawyers have differing opinions. It is therefore unclear whether or not employers have to continue paying salaries. As an employer, you can request reduced working hours. Your employees may be obliged to make up the “missed” work time under their loyalty obligation.
In this case, as an employer you have an obligation to continue paying salaries to the affected employees. Your employees do not have to make up the work time unless the business is only closed very briefly. However, the salary payable in this event is reduced by any amounts that the employee saved as a result of being prevented from working or that he or she earned by performing other work.
Yes, that is possible. In a pandemic that results in many employees being laid off, it is justifiable for employees to work overtime. However, you should take your employees’ personal circumstances and family situation into account.
Overtime can only be compensated through time off if employers and employees consent to this; they have to agree on the principle of compensation as well as on timing and duration. As the employer, you have to prove that your employees have agreed to this. If, for instance, the employment contract states that you as the employer have the right to unilaterally impose compensation, you can require them to compensate for their overtime.
You cannot force your employees to take unpaid leave. If there is not enough work or no work for your employees, you must continue to pay their salaries. However, the salary payable in this event is reduced by any amounts that the employee saved as a result of being prevented from working or that he or she earned by performing other work.
Delivery shortages, temporary closures and the slump in demand: coronavirus is forcing many companies to give notification of reduced working hours. As an entrepreneur, you can give advance notification of reduced working hours if you can prove a compelling link between your loss of working hours and coronavirus and if you meet the requirements for the right to compensation for reduced working hours specified by SECO.
A general reference to coronavirus is not enough to adequately illustrate the link. You must give a convincing explanation of how the fall in demand and work is linked to the pandemic. You should send the advance notification or notification to the cantonal employment office based in the same location as your company.
The extension of entitlements to these categories of workers only applied up to the end of August 2020. There is no entitlement for them as of September 1, 2020.
Up to the end of December 2020, accrued overtime no longer has to be used up before claiming short-time work compensation.