In our employer ABC we explain the most relevant terms of Swiss labour law and portray the social security institutions you might come across while trying to employ domestic staff. Please click on the respective initial letter to reach the term you are looking for.

Do you want to make an addition to a term or miss a particular one? You are warmly welcome to send us an e-mail to office@quitt.ch. Thank you!

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Accident

According to the Swiss Accident Insurance Act all employees in Switzerland have to be insured against accidents by their employer. While the premium of the occupational accident insurance (BU) is paid by the employer, the premium of the non-occupational accident insurance (NBU) is paid by the employee. The non-occupational accident insurance is compulsory for employees who work more than eight hours a week for the same employer. Accident insurance premiums for private employers of domestic employees have to be paid for each paid activity (for each employee).
quitt.ch takes out accident insurance for all customers with GENERALI. This accident insurance package is exclusively offered to private employers of domestic employees. You will find more information on compulsory accident insurance in our glossary under the keyword Accident insurance (UVG).

To take out accident insurance please click here.

Accident insurance (UVG)

The compulsory accident insurance protects employees against harm owing to accident. Domestic employees who work less than eight hours a week for the same employer are only protected against harm owing to an occupational accident – accidents that happen at work or on the way to work. Employees who work on average more than eight hours a week for the same employer are also protected against accidents in their spare time (non-occupational accidents).
Accident insurance covers the costs for medical treatment caused by an accident. If an employee is partly or completely unable return to work after an accident, the insurance pays 80 percent of the insured wage starting from the third day after the day of the accident.

Au pairs

Au pairs are youngsters who live with a guest family in a different language region and help their guest families out with childcare and domestic work. Apart from board and lodge, au pairs receive a net wage of approximately CHF 700.00 – CHF 800.00. The activity rate is usually limited to a maximum of 30 hours a week and attending a language course in the local language mandatory.

More information on the prerequisites and the conditions of employment is available on the websites of the cantonal offices for economy and work.

B

Black labour

«Black labour» generally disregards legal labour registration and licence management requirements. Depending on the individual scope and situation of an employer-employee relationship, registration and licence management requirements consist of obtaining a work permit, registering the employment at the compensation office, paying the withholding tax to the cantonal tax office, purchasing a mandatory accident insurance as well as registering the employee with a pension fund.

Transgressions against the federal law on measures against black labour (Article 10 of the BGSA) will be sanctioned by cantonal administrative and tribunal authorities.

You will find more information on the mentioned Registration and licence requirements in our glossary under the keywords Old age and survivors’ insurance (AHV), Withholding tax, Simplified billing procedure, Pension fund (BVG), Accident insurance (UVG) as well as Work permit.

C

Cancellation

Regardless of the ground for giving notice, cancellation has to be carried out in accordance with the contractual notice period (Article 335c of the Swiss Civil Code) and under specification of the most relevant data. These include name and address of the employer, reference to the contract of employment in question, day of termination and day, place and signature of the employer. It is generally recommended to put cancellation always in writing.
The employee is protected against cancellation during military and civil service or civil defence, sickness, pregnancy or after an accident. The legal blocking periods (Article 336c of the Swiss Civil Code) apply. Cancellations can only be legally effective after the end of blocking periods.

D

E

F

Family equalization fund (FAK)

All private employers of domestic employees are obliged to pay contributions to the FAK. The rate is established by the cantonal family equalization fund. Employees can claim family supplements via their employer. If the supplements are granted, they will be allocated to the employees via their employer. In case an employee has more than one employer, the employer that pays the highest salary is responsible for the claim and its allocation. The family equalization fund decides to which parent the supplements will be allocated.

Eligible for family supplements are employees with an AHV relevant income of at least CHF 7,050.00 per year or CHF 587.00 per month (status 2016). The allocated amount of family supplements varies from Canton to Canton.

If the simplified billing procedure applies, the family equalization fund grants the family supplements only after the yearly wage declaration has been submitted in the first quarter of the following year.

You will find more information in our glossary under the keywords AHV contribution and Simplified billing procedure.

G

Gross wage

The gross wage corresponds to the salary before the deduction of the employee’s social security contributions. The employee’s social security contributions consist of the contributions to AHV, IV and EO, the contributions to the unemployment insurance (ALV), the non-occupational accident insurance (NBU) as well as the pension fund (BVG).

We generally recommend you fix the gross wage in the contract of employment, as it will be used as the basis for the calculation of taxes and social security contributions. As an employer you will benefit from the stipulation of a gross wage since changes in the social security contribution or the withholding tax rates will not only impact your employment costs but evenly affect both employer and employee.

For a detailed calculation of the employment costs of your domestic help we recommend our Wage calculator.

You will find more information on wage contributions in our glossary under the keywords Net wage, AHV contributions, Withholding tax, Accident insurance (UVG) as well as Pension fund (BVG).

H

Household insurance

Damage caused by an employee at work is usually not covered by the employee’s private liability insurance. The household insurance fills this gap by protecting the employer’s household effects from potential damage caused by his or her employee. Thanks to our partnership with GENERALI as a private employer you will benefit from a cost-efficient household insurance which has been specifically adapted to the needs of domestic employment.

The household insurance package of quitt.ch is exclusively offered to private employers of domestic employees. You will find more information on damage of household effects in our blog post on Damage of household effects.

For more information and to take out household insurance please click here.

I

J

K

L

M

Maternity leave

Working women are eligible for 14 weeks of maternity leave. During these 14 weeks they receive a maternity compensation of 80 percent of their average past income, however not more than CHF 196.00 per day.

Eligible are female employees who were insured by the AHV nine months prior to the birth of their child and who have worked for at least five months during this period. Moreover, they need a valid employer-employee relationship at the time of birth of the child.

The costs of the maternity compensation are sustained by the compensation office from the day of birth. If the employer continues to pay the employee’s salary during maternity leave, the compensation in the form of daily allowance is disbursed to the employer at the end of the month. If this is not the case, the maternity compensation is disbursed directly to the employee.

Minimum wage

There is no such thing as a generally accepted minimal wage in Switzerland. There are, however, regulations according to the standard employment contract for domestic employment (NAV Hauswirtschaft for all employments starting from at least an average of five working hours a week with the same employer – valid until December 31st 2016) that have to be respected. These regulations exclude the following employer-employee relationships: au pairs, apprenticeships, traineeships as well as day nannies.

Apart from the Canton of Geneva, the following hourly minimal gross wages (excluding vacation compensations) are applicable in Switzerland:

  • Untrained domestic employees without professional experience:18.90 per hour
  • Untrained domestic employees with four years of experience in domestic employment: CHF 20.35 per hour
  • Trained domestic employees with three years of vocational education and a Federal Certificate of Competence (Eidgenössischer Fähigkeitsausweis EFZ):22.85 per hour
  • Trained domestic employees with two years of vocational education and a vocational certificate (Berufsattest EBA):20.75 per hour

For the Canton of Geneva, the following hourly minimal gross wages (excluding vacation compensations) apply:

  • Untrained domestic employees without professional experience: CHF 20.35 per hour
  • Untrained domestic employees with four years of experience in domestic employment: CHF 21.80 per hour
  • Trained domestic employees with three years of vocational education and a Federal Certificate of Competence (Eidgenössischer Fähigkeitsausweis EFZ): CHF 24.00 per hour
  • Trained domestic employees with two years of vocational education and a vocational certificate (Berufsattest EBA): CHF 21.80 per hour

You will find more information on minimal wage in our blog post on Fair wages for domestic employees.

N

Net wage

Net wage normally corresponds to the disbursed salary and is often called cash wage. This equals the gross wage after the deduction of the social security contributions. The employee’s social security contributions consist of the contributions to AHV, IV and EO, the contributions to the unemployment insurance (ALV), the non-occupational accident insurance (NBU) as well as the pension fund (BVG).

If the employee is subject to withholding tax, there is an additional difference between «Net wage» and «Disbursed salary». In this case, the disbursed salary equals the net wage after the deduction of the withholding tax or the amount that effectively stays in the domestic help’s pocket after tax.

We generally recommend you fix the gross wage in the contract of employment, as it will be used as the basis for the calculation of taxes and social security contributions. As an employer you will benefit from the stipulation of a gross wage since changes in the social security contribution or the withholding tax rates will not only impact your employment costs but evenly affect both employer and employee.

For a detailed calculation of the employment costs of your domestic help we recommend our Wage calculator.

You will find more information on wage contributions in our glossary under the keywords Gross wage, AHV contributions, Withholding tax, Accident insurance (UVG) as well as Pension fund (BVG).

O

Old age and survivors’ insurance (AHV)

Employees who live in Switzerland have to be insured with the AHV. For employers of domestic employees (cleaner, nanny, private care) each paid activity is subject to contribution. In addition to the contribution to the AHV, employers and employees pay the compulsory contributions to the disability insurance (IV), the Compensation system for loss of earned income during military service, civil service, community service or maternity (EO), the unemployment insurance (ALV), the family equalization fund (FAK) and if applicable to sick pay insurance (KTG) and the pension fund (BVG). Social security contribution rates are calculated on the basis of the gross wage.

An exception are pocket money jobs. Since January 1st 2015, youngsters who work till the end of the 25th year of their life in a private household and earn less than CHF 750.00 a year are exempt from AHV contributions. Youngsters are subject to contributions as of January 1st after their 17th birthday.

For a detailed estimate of your domestic help’s labour cost we recommend our Wage calculator.

You will find more information on AHV contributions in our glossary under the keywords Gross wage, Net wage, Family supplements, Accident insurance (UVG), Domestic employees at retirement age as well as in our blog post on Pocket money jobs.

Out-of pocket expenses

The employer has to reimburse expenses that incur during the activity of employment. This applies in case the cleaner has to buy cleaning agent or the nanny picks up the kids with her own car and thus spends money on petrol. These out-of pocket expenses have to be reimbursed to the employee. Out-of pocket expenses are exempt from AHV, IV and EO contributions.

P

Pension fund (BVG)

Employers are obliged to register employees with a pension fund in case their gross salary exceeds CHF 1,762.50 per month or CHF 21,150.00 per year (status 2016). quitt.ch collaborates with the pension fund PK-AETAS. To calculate your contribution rates we recommend our wage calculator.

Public holidays

The federal holiday on August 1st is the only nationwide public holiday that has to be paid by law. It is not allowed to work on this day and the lost working hours needn’t to be compensated by the employee.

According to labour law, this day is equal to Sundays. Cantons are allowed to equate a maximum of eight more public holidays with Sundays.

On public holidays no employees can be employed. The lost working hours needn’t be compensated.

Domestic employees who are paid on a monthly basis receive their full salary for the lost working hours owing to a public holiday. Unless otherwise stated in the contact of employment, to domestic employees who are paid on an hourly basis only August 1st has to be disbursed.

Q

R

Retirement age

For domestic employees at retirement age (women from 64 and men from 65 years of age and older) a tax free amount of CHF 1,400.00 a month resp. CHF 16,800.00 a year applies. Contributions to AHV, IV and EO only have to be paid for the part of the salary that exceeds these amounts. The contribution to the unemployment insurance (ALV) does not apply at all. However, the compulsory accident insurance and the disbursement of the withholding tax applies to domestic employees at retirement age as well.

The simplified billing procedure is only possible for domestic employees at retirement age if the employer simultaneously employs other employees who are not at retirement age yet. If he or she only employs one person who is at retirement age, the ordinary billing procedure applies.

S

Sickness

In case of sickness the employer has to continue to pay the salary of the domestic help during a certain period. The length of this period depends on the following:

If no sick pay insurance has been taken out, the employer has to continue to pay the employee’s full salary during a determined period of time according to law (Article 324a (1) of the Swiss Civil Code), but only if the employer-employee relationship is older than three months or has been established for more than three months. In the first year of service, the period of continued payment of wages is at least three weeks. The continued payment of wages equals 100 percent of the employee’s salary, starting from the first day of absence. As of the second year of service, the period of continued payment of wages is regulated by the chart of continued payment of wages.

If the employer has taken out optional sick pay insurance, he continues to pay at least 80 percent of the employee’s average salary during the waiting period (at quitt.ch the waiting period equals 30 days). If the employee is unable to return to work within the waiting period, sick pay insurance will kick in. The employee will receive 80% of his or her salary for up to a maximum of 730 days.

You will find more information on sickness and sick pay insurance in our glossary under the keywords Sick pay insurance (KTG) and in our blog post on Continued payment of wages in case of sickness.

Sick pay insurance (KTG)

Taking out sick pay insurance is optional for employers. Sick pay insurance protects employers from the lawful obligation of continued payment of wages (see also Sickness) and the domestic help from an early loss of salary.

If the employer has taken out optional sick pay insurance, he continues to pay at least 80 percent of the employee’s average salary during the waiting period (at quitt.ch the waiting period equals 30 days). If the employee is unable to return to work within the waiting period, sick pay insurance will kick in. The employee will receive 80 percent of his or her salary for up to a maximum of 730 days. The costs for the insurance premium (1.52 percent of the gross salary) are equally shared between employer and employee at quitt.ch.

quitt.ch takes out sick pay insurance for all customers with GENERALI. This sick pay insurance package is exclusively offered to private employers of domestic employees. To take out sick pay insurance please click here.

Simplified billing procedure

Employers of domestic employees can sign up for the so-called simplified billing procedure with tax deduction (BGSA) at the compensation office. This procedure has specifically been designed for domestic employees and applies a flat tax rate of five percent to all employees – independent of their origin and residence status. Employers benefit from this procedure by avoiding additional administrative fees for the issuance of the withholding tax by the cantonal tax office.

The subscription to the simplified billing procedure is only possible if the gross wage of each individual employee doesn’t exceed CHF 1,762.50 per month or CHF 21,150.00 per year. The total gross sum of salary of the company or employer shall not exceed CHF 56,400.00 per year.

If these criteria are not met, the private employer will be subject to the ordinary billing procedure.

You will find more information on the ordinary billing procedure in our glossary under the keyword Ordinary billing procedure.

T

U

V

Vacation

According to Article 329a of the Swiss Civil Code employees have the right to a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation per year of service. Five weeks are applicable for employees up to their completed 20th year of life.

If salary has been stipulated on an hourly basis in the contract of employment, vacation can be compensated with a wage benefit of 8.33 percent (for four weeks) or 10.64 percent (for five weeks). In this case the employer does not continue to pay the employee’s salary during vacation.

If salary has been stipulated on a monthly basis in the contract of employment, the employer continues to pay the employee’s salary during vacation.

W

Withholding tax

The income of foreign employees is subject to withholding tax. The employer is obliged to deduct this tax directly from the income of his/her employee. Subject to withholding tax are people who are neither in possession of a Swiss passport nor a residence permit (C) nor married to somebody holding a Swiss passport or residence permit (C). The withholding tax rate takes the work and life situation of each individual domestic help into account. The rate is established by the cantonal tax office.
In the case of the so-called simplified billing procedure for private employers of domestic employees the applicable withholding tax rate for all employees – independent of their origin and residence status – is five percent.
You will find more information on «Withholding tax» in our glossary under the keyword Simplified billing procedure.

Work permit

Employers who employ or intend to employ foreign domestic employees are in certain cases subject to registration and licence requirements according to aliens law. The necessity of registration and licence requirements depends on the country of origin of the employee.

The registration and licence requirements process according to aliens law is not part of the services of quitt.ch. For more information we recommend you contact the cantonal migration office.

X

Y

Z