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Employment contract: An introduction to the key aspects and best practices

Whether you're an employer looking to draw up a contract or an employee receiving a new contract, drafting a clear and comprehensive employment contract is crucial to a smooth employment relationship. In this post, we'll give you an introduction to the key aspects of an employment contract and offer valuable insights to help you navigate the process.


Unterschreiben eines Arbeitsvertrages

An employment contract forms the basis for the employment relationship between employer and employee. It not only sets out the rights and obligations of both parties, but also provides legal certainty and clarity about the terms of the employment relationship. A well-drafted employment contract can prevent potential misunderstandings and help to create a positive and productive working environment.


In many countries, including Switzerland, a written employment contract is not mandatory to establish an employment relationship. For example, an employment relationship can also be concluded verbally. Nevertheless, in practice it is highly recommended to conclude a written employment contract.


A written contract provides clarity about the terms of the employment relationship and serves as a legal basis in the event of ambiguities or disputes. In addition, it verifiably documents the agreements made and enables the parties to precisely formulate specific clauses, such as on data protection, confidentiality or probationary periods.


For employees in particular, a written contract offers a degree of protection by setting out their rights and the agreed scope of work. It can also help to ensure that the employment relationship complies with applicable laws and regulations. Even though certain provisions of the Swiss Code of Obligations (CO) regulate the terms of the employment relationship, from a legal point of view it is strongly recommended to conclude written agreements in order to avoid possible uncertainties and protect the interests of both parties.

 

Below are some essential points that should be an integral part of an employment contract.


Contracting parties:

Clear identification of employer and employee with full name and address.


Conditions of employment:

Specification of the position, place of work, start date of employment and duration of the contract (fixed-term or indefinite).

 

Working hours and place of work:

Determination of weekly working hours, distribution of working hours and indication of whether home office is possible.

 

Remuneration and additional benefits:

Clearly defined salary details, bonus, social benefits, holiday entitlement and other additional benefits.

 

Probationary period:

Determination of the duration of the probationary period and the notice periods during this phase.

Attention statutory periods OR 335b "...the first month of an employment relationship is deemed to be the probationary period)

 

Termination and notice periods:

Clear information on notice periods for employer and employee.

Caution: statutory notice periods CO 335c I "The employment relationship may be terminated in the first year of service with a notice period of one month, in the second up to and including the ninth year of service with a notice period of two months and thereafter with a notice period of three months, each to the end of a month").


 Job duties:

Precise definition of the employee's duties, responsibilities and expectations.

 

Confidentiality agreement and data protection:

Provisions for protecting company information and personal data.

 

Training and development opportunities:

Defining opportunities for professional development and training.


Non-competition clause:

If necessary, clear rules on restricting competitive activities after the end of the contract.

 

Concluding an employment contract is a crucial step that creates obligations for both employer and employee. Our checklist should help you to ensure that all relevant points are covered in the contract. Please note, however, that legal advice is recommended to ensure that the contract complies with legal requirements.


Do you have any questions on this topic or would you like to find out more? Contact us for an appointment.

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