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The peculiarities of the Swiss labour market

Each labour market has some peculiarities. It may be tricky for foreigners to fully understand the payment methods, taxes, and other benefits related to them. In TalentUp, we are starting a series of different blog articles, one for each country. This article analyses the Swiss labour market.

Even if the national currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF), the whole article is in EUR to compare easily across countries and exchange rates.

General data about the Swiss labour market

Swiss minimum wage and maximum working hours disclosure. Data for January 2024. Source: https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/switzerland-geneva/ and https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/switzerland-zurich/

Payroll taxes in Switzerland

Social security contributions are made by the employer and the employee and are used for funding unemployment, pension, maternity/paternity leave, and sickness or injury.

Once contributions are paid, employees must pay an income tax that varies depending on their gross salaries. 

In Geneva, there are 17 different salary ranges with increasing income tax, from 8% to 19%.

Meanwhile, there are 13 salary ranges in Zurich with increasing income tax and a fixed part (only for single taxpayers). Reaching 13% plus 24,339.72€ for single taxpayers and only 13% for married taxpayers.

Contingencies from self-employees

As a self-employed person, you cover the full cost of social security contributions yourself. Depending on your income, your social security premiums equal between 5,196% and 9.65% of your income. You also pay an administrative fee for self-employed individuals equal to up to 5% of your social security contributions.

Example of net salary in Switzerland

As a reference, we use the average salary of a software engineer. In Switzerland, on average, software engineers earn 55,100€ annually.

From gross to net salary of a software engineer in Switzerland.

The employer contributes 4,226.17 – 12,705.02€ to social security and the employee contributes 3,949.57–6,005.9€.

Unemployment regulation in Switzerland

The statutory notice periods are as follows:

In addition, the statutory severance payment is only applicable to employees of at least 50 years of age who have completed at least 20 years of employment, provided there is a shortfall in pension benefits.

Different kinds of leaves in Switzerland

Employees under 50 receive 4 weeks of holiday, and those over 50 receive 5 weeks of holiday. There are 8 public holidays. Public holidays that fall on the weekend are usually lost.

Sick leave ranges from 3 weeks to nearly two years, depending on the time employed. It represents 80% of the salary.

There are 14 weeks of paid leave to provide care for a seriously ill or injured child.

Normally, three to five days of bereavement leave are given in the case of close relatives and one to three days in other cases.

Normally, one to three days are given for wedding leave.

Paid parental leave

Maternity leave is paid at 80% of the pay rate (maximum of 202.44€/day) for 98 days. 

In Geneva, maternity leave can last up to 16 weeks.

Fathers have 10 days of paid paternity leave. There are no statutory laws on parental leave.

Other common Swiss benefits

Top 5 benefits offered by Swiss companies. Datasource: TalentUp’s database.

How to employ a Swiss worker

Companies need to be registered in the commercial register before hiring in Switzerland.