The Swiss market is regulated to protect its workers, but recent changes have placed some significant boundaries on how contractors can be employed in Switzerland.
Currently, Swiss clients can only use contractors who are employed by authorised Swiss management companies. They cannot employ contractors working for foreign leasing or recruitment companies, meaning that you will likely need to find a management company within Switzerland.
What constitutes an authorised management company in Switzerland?
Companies need both federal and cantonal authorisations. Obtaining the proper federal and cantonal license generally requires that:
- The company is registered on the Swiss Commercial Register as a labour-leasing company.
- The companies has offices based in Switzerland.
- The company can provide a financial surety of at least CHF 100,000 (roughly £67,200).
- The company has a competent person who devotes almost all of their work toward contractor management or labour-leasing.
Companies that employ contractors without the proper licenses face harsh penalties and fines.
What do these changes mean for contractors?
To work as a contractor in Switzerland, you need to be employed by a Swiss management company. While Swiss law allows for contractors sent by foreign companies, it doesn’t allow contractors sent by foreign recruitment companies.
Foreign recruitment agencies can neither supply staff to (foreign OR domestic) companies in Switzerland, nor can they bill clients within Switzerland.
Contractors will have to find Swiss management companies to sponsor their permits, run payroll, and assume legal responsibility for them during their stay.
What about using your own personal Ltd Company?
EU or EFTA nationals can only use their own Ltd Companies to hire services to a Swiss company for up to three months; after this, they need a work permit and employment from a Swiss management company.
Additionally, you need appropriate licensure to work through your Ltd Company, and the overhead costs can be hefty. If you’re only planning on contracting short-term, you might find that the structure doesn’t justify the overhead costs of setting up.
Working through a Swiss management company
In general, a contractor’s easiest route will be working through a local management company. This way, you know you’re working through a licensed company. Most will organise a work permit for you, should you end up working more than 90 days in the country.
As opposed to using your own Ltd Company, you also won’t have to worry about sorting your taxes or doing admin in both Switzerland and your home country.
If you’d like more information on Swiss management companies, or are interested in being put in touch with one of our local Swiss partners, let us know. We can give you feedback on making the most out of your contracts in Switzerland.