Recruit staff

The Vaud Economic Promotion can explain conditions in Switzerland for the recruitment of personnel. In particular, it can provide invaluable information to help when it comes to hiring, working conditions, residence and work permits, and social security.

Set-Up Guide

Labor Market and Labor Law

Support with hiring

You are periodically required to take on staff, internally or externally, based on the needs and the budget of your company. If you choose external recruitment, one of the ways the Vaud Economic Promotion can offer support is by directing you towards private recruitment agencies or helping you to leverage the network of regional placement offices (RPO).

Regional placement offices (RPO)

The RPO are public centers that specialize in placing job-seekers and offer services free of charge to facilitate the recruitment procedure. Based on your criteria, they carry out a preselection of qualified and immediately available candidates for fixed-term or permanent recruitment. The largest job exchange in Switzerland is also managed by the RPO via their website, so remember to use that link when you are making job offers available. Using the RPO will also enable you to benefit from various forms of significant financial aid in the form of subsidies for training and orientation.

Working conditions

In Switzerland, employee/employer relations are regulated by federal and cantonal laws. The Vaud Economic Promotion will help to give you clarity regarding working conditions.

Individual employment contracts

One month after hiring at the latest, the employer must provide the employee in writing with the conditions that define their professional relationship. A compulsory employment contract stipulates the rights and obligations of the employee and the employer. The contract can be for a fixed term or permanent.

While the Swiss labor market is one of the most liberal in the world, industrial companies in the country are nevertheless required to stipulate the regulations relating to the prevention of accidents and health protection. A non-competition clause can be included in employment contracts, but its wording and application are the subject of exacting criteria.

Collective labor agreements (CCTs)

Social partners in a given sector of activity can define the basic conditions of individual contracts, such as a minimum wage, by signing a collective labor agreement (CCT). The contents of a CCT are set out by the employer and the workers’ association in the particular sector of activity.

Forty-two CCTs are currently declared as compulsory by the Swiss Federal Council, and 39 by the cantons. These CCTs are therefore always applicable in the sectors that they concern. Conversely, around 600 CCTs only come into effect when the partners of the contract are members of the associations who were signatories to the CCT in question.

Residence and work permits

Anyone who does not have Swiss nationality must follow certain procedures in order to carry out gainful employment in Switzerland. If you are looking at taking on personnel from abroad, the Vaud Economic Promotion can guide you through the permit application process.

Citizens of the EU/EFTA

Citizens of European Union member states (EU-27) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have virtually the same status as citizens of Switzerland in the country’s job market.

Due to the free movement of persons, citizens of the EU-27 and EFTA are in particular authorized to:
- Live and work in Switzerland for a period of less than 90 days, without having to request a work or residence permit.
A simple application on-line is required via the website of the relevant federal authority.
- Live and work in Switzerland for a period of more than 90 days, on the condition that they obtain a residence permit.
The applicant is merely required to announce their arrival to the Residents’ registration office of the municipality where they will be living and fill in the form provided for the Cantonal population bureau.

As of June 1, 2017, and for a period of one year, there is a quota of residence permits for citizens of Romania and Bulgaria. Citizens of Croatia benefit from the free movement of persons but are subject to transitional provisions.

Citizens of non-member states

People who are not from the EU-27/EFTA, on the other hand, are required to obtain residence and work permits to be authorized to work in Switzerland. DEV can help project owners with the relevant processes.

Priority is given to citizens of non-member (or other foreign) states who are specialized in their field or required to carry out high-responsibility functions in a Swiss company. Otherwise, employers can only call on foreign workers if they cannot find suitable personnel in the local and European labour market that are capable of fulfilling the conditions for the job.

Three types of permit are available:
- Short-term residence permit (L permit)
- Long-term residence permit (B permit)
- Cross-border commuter (G permit)

The procedures are similar for obtaining any of these three permits:
- The employer must first submit a full application to the Foreigners’ office of the municipality where the company has its registered office or to the following e-mail address:
- The application is then processed by the relevant cantonal authorities. The cantonal employment service then notifies the employer of its initial acceptance where applicable.
- Lastly, the file must be approved by the Swiss Confederation.

Social security

The Vaud Economic Promotion can help you to understand the Swiss social insurance system, whether you are self-employed, employee or employer.