Probationary Period

The probationary period usually lasts between 1-3 months and its purpose is for the employer and employee to get to know each other. Usually, the probationary period is three months, as this gives the employer longer to decide whether the employee is a good fit for the company. During the probationary period it is relatively easy to terminate the contract. Although it may seem somewhat daunting at first, the probationary period also has advantages for the employee: The employee gets to know the team and the corporate culture better and has time to get used to the job. If you do not feel comfortable in the team or if the job does not meet your expectations, you too have the option of terminating the employment relationship. A key feature of the probationary period in this context is the shortened notice period - in Switzerland this is only seven days. During the probationary period, the employee is not subject to any special protection against dismissal (e.g. in case of illness, pregnancy, accident). If notice is given during the probationary period, no reasons need to be given by either party, however, the notice must reach the other party during the probationary period. Even if you are dismissed during your probationary period, you have the right to receive a reference. Even though it will probably be relatively short due to your short duration in the company, it can serve as confirmation of the employment relationship for potential future employers.


  • If the employee is absent for an unplanned period of time during the probationary period, the probationary period may be extended.
  • It is not advisable to request long holidays during the probationary period. If there is no other way, be sure to discuss it with your supervisor or manager early on.

It is common for the employee and employer to meet up at the end of the probationary period. In this meeting, you as the employee will receive feedback on your performance and behaviour during the last few weeks. Use this feedback as an opportunity for development and be sure to ask about anything that is unclear. You should also be prepared to give feedback on how you like the company and your job, how satisfied you are with your tasks and what your expectations and wishes are. Make sure to demonstrate your commitment and to make any suggestions for improvement neutrally and objectively.


  • Include your job on your CV even if you resign during the probationary period. This will help you avoid gaps in your CV and appears open and honest. If you are asked about the short duration in a later job interview, you should have an explanation ready without badmouthing your former employer. For example, talk about the job itself or your expectations.

Final remarks

It is important to know that a probationary period is not always permissible. For example, according to Swiss law, a new probationary period may not be agreed in the case of an internal change of contract from hourly to monthly pay, as the parties have already gained experience with each other before starting the new contract, and the purpose of the probationary period - getting to know each other - is therefore redundant.

Detailed information on the probationary period according to Swiss law can be found here.

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