The counterpart to employees' duty of loyalty is employers' duty of care. This requires employers to protect and care for their employees and refrain from doing anything that could conflict with employees' legitimate interests. Employers' duty of care is unregulated by law. However, it encompasses numerous aspects that have been incorporated into the Code of Obligations and other laws, including protecting employees' personality rights and ensuring gender equality in the workplace.
Presenteeism is the practice whereby employees work even though they are ill and should be taking care of themselves. It can be driven by the state of their working environment, particularly if superiors have excessive performance expectations. Presenteeism arguably negatively affects the sick employee, their co-workers, the employer and the company as a whole. Employers should be aware of their duty of care to their employees and employees should be aware of their duty of loyalty to their employer.
If employees become ill through no fault of their own and are therefore unable to work, they are still entitled to a wage. Employers' obligation to continue to pay wages is governed by Article 324a of the Code of Obligations. Employers may release themselves from this obligation if they offer employees health insurance for a daily allowance. The Federal Supreme Court has formulated the requirements for employee health insurance.
Each year many Swiss corporate clients ask the same question: are bonus payments under an employment contract at the full discretion of employers and therefore voluntary or do employers have an enforceable financial obligation in this regard? This article addresses the factual and legal considerations which usually play a role when HR departments prepare for the yearly bonus season.
Since 1981, the Federal Constitution has guaranteed equal wages for men and women who carry out similar work; however, a wage disparity exists that arguably cannot be explained by anything other than gender. The revised Federal Act on Gender Equality, which enters into force on 1 July 2020, aims to remedy this situation. Under the new regime, companies with 100 or more employees will be obliged to carry out an internal wage equality analysis every four years to identify any gender pay gaps.
Many companies advertise and sell sophisticated video interview software to large companies for recruitment purposes. While applicants are interviewed from the comfort of their own homes, up to 20,000 data points can be collected from this type of interview and analysed instantaneously using algorithms to find the right employee. However, many legal issues have arisen following the introduction of this software.
The basic rule 'no wages without work' dictates that employees who perform no work, including those deemed incapable of working, should not receive wages. However, Swiss employment law provides for exceptions in some circumstances. This article addresses the circumstances in which employers must continue to pay employees who are unable to work, how long employers must continue to pay such employees and the circumstances in which employers may request medical certificates.
Swiss companies have long relied on workforces that are largely homogeneous as this is believed to maximise employee performance and efficiency. However, after 2000 the industry perspective shifted as large companies came to regard diversity management as an instrument for improving equality and reputation. Today, diversity plays a crucial role in creating sustainable organisational structures and can even benefit companies economically.
On-call work is a special form of part-time work arrangement under which neither the date nor the duration of the assignment are determined in advance. Switzerland has no legislation specific to on-call work and its legal doctrine provides limited definitions. Despite a lack of coherent criteria in this regard, on-call work is an increasingly favourable option for employees who require greater work-life flexibility.
As most new job applications are compiled, sent and processed electronically, employers must bear in mind that any personal data collected should be strictly limited to that which is required to assess and finally decide on the most suitable candidate. Processing data which does not relate specifically to the selection of a suitable candidate could violate data protection and privacy rules.
In Switzerland, it is still considered inappropriate to discuss wages. Data on workers' average monthly income is difficult to obtain because no reliable statistics are available and living costs and salaries vary across each canton. The taboo surrounding wages and the lack of guaranteed equal pay for male and female workers suggests that there is still much work to be done in this regard.