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27 October 2020 / article

Recording of Working Time under Swiss Law

Under Swiss law, the employer has, in principle, the duty to ensure that all employees maintain a detailed record of their working time. There is, however, also a possibility to benefit from a waiver of the working time recording duty and a simplified form of working time recording under certain conditions.

General Principle

Pursuant to the general obligation of detailed working time recording, the daily and weekly hours worked (including compensation time and overtime) and details on when these hours were worked must be recorded. Further, the recording must provide information on the weekly time off or compensation time granted (if they do not regularly fall on a Sunday) as well as on the scheduling and duration of breaks of half an hour or more. The recording must also provide for additional rest and salary supplements due by law.

An employer is not obliged to record the working hours of senior executives since they are, in principle, excluded from the scope of application of the Swiss Labour Law Act. However, only few employees qualify as senior executive employees.

Subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, employers may benefit from a total waiver of their obligation to record the working time of the employees or be subject to a simplified working time recording.

Waiver of Working Time Recording

In order to benefit from a waiver of the working time recording duty, the following requirements need to be complied with:

  1. Formal condition: the waiver must be provided for in a collective bargaining agreement signed between the employer (or an association of employers) and the majority of the representative labour organisations.
  2. A waiver is only possible with regard to employees who:
  • enjoy a large degree of autonomy (with respect to how they carry out and organise their work) and a considerable freedom to set their work schedule (minimum 50%);
  • receive a gross annual salary of at least CHF 120,000 (including bonus payments); and
  • consent in writing to waive the working time recording duty.

Such waiver can be revoked by the employee or the employer at the end of each year.

Simplified Form of Working Time Recording

Provided that the following conditions are met, only the total number of hours worked each day must be recorded (no information on the time of starting and finishing work and the breaks taken must be provided):

  • Formal conditions: The simplified working time recording must be agreed between the employer and the employee’s representative body of the branch or the company. If an employee representation does not exist, the agreement can be entered with the majority of the employees of the company. For companies with less than 50 employees, an individual agreement between the employer and the relevant employees is sufficient.
  • The relevant employees must to a considerable extent determine their own work schedule (minimum 25%).


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