Working at night and on Sundays: regulated activities
Working at night and on Sundays is subject to strict conditions. Companies are responsible for protecting their employees' health and safety.
Working at night and on Sundays is, in general, forbidden in Switzerland. However, some companies, such as security agencies for example, have no choice but to resort to this kind of work. For these companies, working at night and on Sundays may be authorized on application to the relevant authorities, provided that certain statutory conditions are met. For additional information on this topic: Gesuch Nacht- Sonntagsarbeit oder ununterbrochener Betrieb (only in German).
Wage supplement/ Hourly compensation
- Sunday work of a temporary nature corresponds to a maximum of six Sundays worked per calendar year (including statutory holidays). In this case, a 50% wage supplement must be paid to the employees.
- Beyond the limit of six Sundays, the activity is seen as Sunday work of a regular or periodic nature. Hourly compensations must then be provided for the employees (these rest periods/ time-offs are defined in art. 20 LTr)
If the employee is required to work for more than six Sundays during the calendar year when this was not originally planned, he/she is entitled to a 50% salary increase (Art. 32a OLT 1).
Working at night without alternating with a day job
The most extreme form of working at night is where there is no alternating with a day job. Companies can introduce non-alternating employment on the condition that there is no corresponding day job (such as in a bakery or at a newspaper printer’s), if it is not possible to recruit enough staff to work on an alternating basis, or if the majority of workers request in writing not to work on an alternating basis.
Non-alternating employment must be authorized and must meet strict conditions. On account of the particularly demanding constraints, the workers concerned must undergo regular health checks. They must also be able to work in a specifically adapted environment. It is also the employer’s duty to make sure that workers can eat and take breaks, under optimum conditions. For additional information on this topic: Studie Dauernachtarbeit (only in German).
Employees who regularly or periodically perform night work that largely consists of strenuous or dangerous activities must undergo a medical examination with counselling. The conditions for this examination and the situations considered strenuous or dangerous are defined in art. 45 OLT 1. This may include, for example, noise affecting the hearing, strong vibrations, exposure to heat, cold or air pollutants, isolated work, etc.
Source: SECO, Worker Protection, June 2015 and amendment of the Ordinance on the Labor Act of November 2020 (in German).