Procedures for leave and public holidays

For specific events, such as a visit to the doctor or the funeral of a loved one, an employer must grant its employee leave.

For certain specific events, it is the employer’s duty to grant leave during ordinary working hours, without employees having to use their paid vacation. A distinction is made between three types of events justifying the granting of this leave:

  • Leave for personal reasons. Moving house, visit to the doctor, etc.
  • Family events. Death, birth of a child, etc.
  • Job search. In the case of an employment contract which has been terminated, the free time required to search for a new job must be granted.

Workers under the age of 30 can also benefit from leave for youth and sports activities.

As a general rule, wages are usually paid to salaried workers during leave for the reasons mentioned above. However, this is not necessarily the case for workers who are paid on an hourly basis.

Public holidays are considered as Sundays

In Switzerland, August 1 is the only public holiday celebrated throughout the country. Cantons, however, have their own additional public holidays, the number of which varies widely from one canton to another. The statutory maximum fixed by labor law is nine public holidays per year.

Just as for Sundays, it is forbidden in principle to work on public holidays. For a company that needs its employees to work on a public holiday, the same procedure as for working on Sundays shall apply: an application for legal authorization must be filed. See also:

As with leave taken following a specific event, workers paid monthly receive their usual salary when the month includes one or more public holidays. This is the case for workers paid by the hour only if this is defined in their contract (individual, collective bargaining agreement or standard employment contract).


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Last modification 22.05.2019

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