Other conditions

All text on this page is ©2015 Survival Books and is published here with their generous permission. Order your copy of Living and Working in Switzerland online or ask for it at your local bookstore!

Education & Training

Education and training (Schulung und Ausbildung, enseignement et formation) provided by your employer should be stated in his general terms. This may include training abroad, provided it’s essential to your job (although you may need to convince your employer). In addition to relevant education and training, employers must provide the essential tools and equipment for a job, which is, however, open to interpretation.

If you need to learn a language or improve your language knowledge to perform your job, the cost of language study is usually paid by your employer. If it isn’t essential, some employers will pay only a part of the cost or nothing at all (one of the penalties of being an English speaker).

Employees who aren’t of English mother-tongue may be paid to learn or improve their English when necessary for their job. An allowance may be paid for personal education or hobbies such as flower arranging, kite flying or break dancing, which aren’t work related or of any direct benefit to your employer.

Acceptance of Gifts

Employees are normally forbidden to accept gifts (Geschenkannahme, accepter des dons) of more than a certain value (e.g. CHF 50) from customers or suppliers. Many suppliers give bottles of wine or small gifts at Christmas that don’t breach this rule. (If you accept a bribe, make sure it’s a big one and that your bank account is covered by Swiss secrecy laws.)

Changing Jobs & Confidentiality

Companies in a high-tech or highly confidential business may have ‘competition restrictions’ (KonkurrenzklauseI/Konkurrenzverbot, clause de non-concurrence) regarding employees working for a competitor in Switzerland or elsewhere. You should be aware of these restrictions as they’re enforceable by Swiss law, although it’s a complicated subject and disputes must often be resolved by a court of law.

CAUTION: Swiss laws regarding industrial secrets and employer confidentiality are very strict. If you breach this confidentiality it may not simply be a matter of dismissal and perhaps subsequently having to leave Switzerland. You may also find yourself subject to criminal proceedings, resulting in a fine or even imprisonment. Keep our secrets secret is the byword of all Swiss companies – not just the banks.

If you wish to change jobs, you may be affected by permit restrictions. Note also that the Swiss don’t generally change jobs often and some employers may think that you’re unreliable if you change jobs more than ‘a few times’ during your lifetime (although this has changed in recent years, during which redundancies have become commonplace).

All text on these pages is ©2015 Survival Books and is published here with their generous permission. Order your copy online or pick one up at your local bookstore! [Hampshire, David. (2015). Other Conditions. In Living an Working in Switzerland (15th ed., p. 39). Bath: Survival Books.]