I work for a remote-first global company. However, my local Swiss HR doesn’t like working from home, and says that Swiss law (in particular insurance) does not allow working from home 100%, especially if you live in another Kanton than the Kanton your company is located in.
I know Swiss law can be very conservative, so I’m inclined to believe him. However, I can find no traces of this on the internet. Is he right?
Edit: thanks all for your answers!
I call bullshit. Ask them to provide you with the specific laws that say 100% WFH isn’t possible, because you’d feel oh so stupid to ask for something that is illegal for a second time, and you want to make sure your next proposal is by the books.
Or agree to 99% WFH and go to the office 3 days a year.
- Why not (anonymously) contact the global HR department and ask them if they’re OK with “a European subsidiary not allowing full-time WFH”.
- What does your employment contract say regarding WFH/place of work?
- Do you have a legal protection insurance? If so, call them.
Thanks for your answer! I should add that I’m mostly asking for knowledge, since in practice they let me do it. But they keep nagging me about it, which is why I’d like to know.
Is it a company with many cross-border commuters? Because they do have such legal restrictions. Some companies then extend these regulations to everybody else. Maybe the HR manager mixed things up?
It isn’t illegal. But it can become an issue for your employer.
The reason is that according to Swiss law, a company could be considered to have a secondary domicile in a different canton if part of its business activities are permanently conducted from a location there. This would affect where your employer would be liable to pay taxes.
For example, if a company has an office in Zug, but most of its employees work in Geneva, then it may be ruled that the company has a secondary domicile in Geneva, and is liable to pay certain taxes there.
In practice, this is still a grey area, as the legal framework governing remote-only work is still a work in progress.
Get your contract to specify that your work location is home? Problem solved
(I can imagine there being some issue if your work contract specify that you work in some canton but you actually don’t, there could be some tax or other implications).
We do, but he’s very clear that the issue is working from another Kanton, not working from abroad (which I don’t)
Thanks! That’s the kind of stuff he complains about.
Although he pretends that nobody in Switzerland (apart from me) has an arrangement like this. I would tend to think that he lives 20 years in the past
Did someone complain you are not in the office? Or noone cares and you asked for HR blessing ?
If the latter it might be best to keep your head down and not rock the boat. I know several people in that situation.
Officially working from home seems to be a HR minefield - I am no expert but in addition to the points made above I believe your employer might even be legally obliged to provide a workstation , could be liable if you get a bad back … etc.
My management is completely fine with this. In fact, it was the plan all along. The only problem is that the HR guy keeps nagging me about it and demanding that I come to the office for petty reasons.
That is likely to avoid the situation I mentioned above. Currently, authorities kind of ignore this issue, especially as long as employees working from home don’t try to claim tax deductions for office space, etc. Also because the majority of Swiss companies do require employees to come in at least part time. But your HR guy might have a bit more foresight about potential issues which could come up as legal precedents are created. In my opinion, if they want you to come in once in a while, it is probably best to comply.
Then ask him to provide you with a set of guidelines he’d like you to follow, and tell him you will get back to him once you’ve discussed these guidelines with management abd/or your superior(s).
Is the situation different for your HR if what is agreed is not ‘from home’, but ‘mobile’?
I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s officially handled already.
I only work 80% but all days from home while living in another canton than the office is. We have several people who do this.
Thank you. I think he’s right that the legal situation is a little murky, but completely wrong in the sense that there are many other people in the same situation.
I would say he’s trying to mislead you - either willfully or due to his own ignorance on the matter, there are probably several companies in ZH/ZG allowing work from home to employees in neighboring cantons. Could be that the “big” ones can afford expensive HR consultants to cover their asses from future liabilities, and a smaller company may not have knowledge or resources to do so.
P.S.: my own contract is written as fully remote and in a different canton than the employer.