The definition of a contract of employment

The term ‘contract of employment’ is often understood as an ‘individual contract of employment, but in general, a differentiation should be made between the following forms of contracts of employment:

An individual contract of employment

Under an individual contract of employment, an employee is under a contractual duty to render his or her labour in the services of an employer for a determinate or indeterminate time period, and an employer is under a contractual duty to pay a remuneration (comp. Art. 319, Para. 1 of the Swiss Code of Obligations (‘OR’ – Obligationenrecht’) (hereinafter everywhere referred to merely as the ‘CoO’).

Collective labour agreements (hereinafter referred to as ‘CLA’)

Under ‘CLAs’, employers or an employers organisations  and the trade unions together formulate terms and conditions for the conclusion, content and notice of termination of individual contracts of employment for their member employers and employees (comp. Art. 356, Para. 1 of the ‘CoO’) (see The Collective Labour Agreement CLA).

A normal contract of employment

Under normal contracts of employment, the terms and conditions concerning the conclusion, content and notice of termination are fixed for the individual forms of contracts of employment (comp. Art. 359, Para. 1 of the ‘CoO’). The Swiss Federal Government or the Cantonal Authorities are responsible for enacting such terms and conditions (comp. Art. 359a of the ‘CoO’).

Special contracts of employment

Parallel to the forementioned forms of contracts of employment, there are also other special contracts of employment: