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Posted Workers Act

Posted Workers Act

The Posted Workers Act (PWA) and its related ordinance ensure minimum working and pay conditions for workers posted to Switzerland by applying certain Swiss regulations to posted workers.

The applicable rules and those areas concerned mirror those in the European directive on the posting of workers (96/71/EC). The following areas are regulated:

  • Work and rest periods
  • Minimum annual paid holiday
  • Minimum pay
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Protection of pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, children and young people
  • Equal treatment of men and women

insofar as the regulations are contained in:

  • Federal acts and Federal Council ordinances
  • Collective employment contracts that have been declared generally applicable
  • Standard employment contracts

The PWA also lays down the notification requirement, which has replaced the permit requirement for job postings of up to 90 days from an EU-27/EFTA country. As the name suggests, the notification requirement merely requires that notification be submitted for eligible postings; no permit is required.

The PWA also prescribes inspections as well as sanctions for offences. Compliance with minimum pay and working conditions is inspected through spot checks by the social partners committees (for industries with a generally applicable collective employment contract), cantonal tripartite committees (for industries with standard employment contracts stipulating mandatory minimum pay), cantonal labour inspectorates (working hours, and health and safety) and Suva (health and safety).

Violations of the PWA may result in:

  • Administrative sanctions (fines up to CHF 30,000, exclusion from the Swiss market for one to five years, inspection costs covered by offending employers)
  • Criminal sanctions (fines up to CHF 1,000,000, seizure of assets such as unlawful earnings), and
  • Sanctions set out in the generally applicable collective employment contract

Under the PWA, sanctioned companies are added to a public list that can be consulted to determine whether a service provider has committed a major infraction in the past. Finally, the PWA lays down the right of labour or employer organisations to bring action seeking an investigation of possible violations of the PWA.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs is responsible for supervising enforcement of the PWA.