Resignation and dismissal
To avoid formal errors, you should read your employment contract carefully before giving notice. It usually states how and by when the notice of termination must be given. If nothing else is stated in the employment contract, a verbal notice of termination is generally sufficient. If written notice is required, there are a few things to keep in mind.
In this case, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employer receives your resignation in time. If you hand in your resignation in person, you should ask for a confirmation of receipt. If you send your resignation by post, it is best to send it by registered mail. Note that it is the date of receipt, not the date of dispatch, that counts - therefore be sure to send the letter early.
- It is always advisable to give a written resignation which can act as evidence in case of any future disputes.
Your resignation letter must contain at least the following information:
- the names and addresses of the employee and the employer
- a reference to the employment contract to be terminated
- the date on which the employment relationship is to be terminated
- Signature and date
In principle, according to Swiss employment law, reasons for termination must be given only when the other party requests it. Thus, the initial letter of termination can be very brief. However, if the reasons for termination are requested, they must be clearly and comprehensibly stated. The letter is used to assess whether the termination is unfair and should be carefully written accordingly. If you are dismissed, it is best to ask for justification. If it is indeed a case of unfair dismissal, this can earn you compensation of between one and six months' salary.
Term of notice
Under Swiss law, the terms of notice differ depending on the duration of the employment relationship. While a notice period of only seven days applies during the probationary period, this increases to at least one month during the first year, to at least two months between the second and ninth year of employment and even to at least three months from the tenth year of employment. Unless otherwise stipulated in the contract, notices of termination must be given at the end of each month. For example, if the termination date is 18 August, the employment contract would end on 30 September with a notice period of one month. The fixed-term employment contract is an exception. This automatically expires on the agreed date - an additional notice of termination is therefore not necessary here.
- If you are absent due to illness or accident during the notice period, the notice period will be extended. As soon as you are able to return to work, the period continues and is extended until the next possible termination date.
- In principle, you can take your remaining holiday days during the notice period. However, in case the company is experiencing a crisis, the employer may refuse to do so. In this case, you can agree with your employer to have the remaining holiday days paid out.
- A positive flexitime balance shall be compensated for by the end of the notice period. If this is not possible due to the employer's directive, the additional hours shall be counted as overtime and shall be paid out unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.
In Switzerland, there is so-called job protection in the event of illness, accident, pregnancy or due to compulsory military or civilian service. This means that the employer may not dismiss the employee during this time. The employee, on the other hand, may still give notice during their absence.
The duration of the job protection depends on the duration of the employment relationship:
- During the probationary period: 0 days
- 1st year of employment: 30 days
- 2nd-5th year of employment: 90 days
- From the 6th year of employment: 180 days
In rare cases, termination without notice may be given. In this case, the employment relationship is terminated immediately and the notice period does not have to be observed. In order for a termination without notice to be justified, important reasons - such as a serious criminal offence against the employer - must have occurred and further cooperation with the other party must be unacceptable. However, each individual case is considered on its own merits and it is advisable to seek legal advice beforehand.
It should also be noted that the employer has the option of releasing the employee from work, subject to the ordinary notice periods. This means that the employee no longer has to appear at the workplace or is no longer allowed to, but the notice period continues to be paid as normal working time. This procedure is used in particular for workplaces that work with particularly sensitive data and where there is a risk that a dismissed employee could commit mischief with this data.