Will Switzerland allow managers to work 67 hours a week?

A revision of the federal labour law will include a provision allowing Swiss employees to occasionally work 67-hour weeks. But will it pass?

Will Switzerland allow managers to work 67 hours a week?
Photo: Depositphotos

The project for extended work hours is outlined in a confidential document from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), according to Le Matin Dimanche newspaper 

Employees would be allowed to work from 4 am until midnight, as well as telework on Sundays, the newspaper reported.

If implemented, the new measure would affect between 542,000 and 670,000 people, or between 14 and 18 percent of Switzerland’s workforce.

Under the current Swiss law, an employee can work a maximum of 45-50 hours in one week, depending on the sector and type of job.

The new plan is geared to those in managerial or specialised positions, permitting them to work more hours during certain weeks and less on others, with an annual average of 45 hours weekly.

Workers' unions are against the move saying it will put the health of staff at risk.

The document specifies that employers will be required “to take measures for the health of the employees concerned”.

The proposal will be debated this week by the Committee on the Economy and Royalties in the parliament’s Council of States.

However, the Federal Council, Switzerland’s seven-member cabinet, has already opposed this project, saying that its chances of being accepted in a national referendum are low.

READ MORE: Switzerland's job seekers handed boost as work offers see new rise


Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

The Covid pandemic hit Switzerland hard, although the country's largest city has rebounded strongly.

Jobs: Why Zurich has rebounded better than other Swiss cities from Covid

Measures imposed due to the Covid pandemic, which began in earnest in February 2020, shuttered businesses across the country and pushed many people out of work. 

When most notable Covid rules were relaxed in Switzerland in mid-February 2022, the economic recovery – highlighted by a strong job market – began in earnest in 2021. 

READ MORE: How the Swiss job market rebounded from the Covid pandemic

Nowhere was this more evident than Zurich, Switzerland’s largest and most economically powerful city. 

How did Zurich rebound from the Covid pandemic in comparison to the rest of the country?

Even though Zurich, along with other large Swiss cities like Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne, have been hit hard by the pandemic from the employment perspective, Zurich’s labour market is now growing faster than in other urban centres.

One of the reasons for this upward trend is that young, well-educated foreigners are coming back.

In the first nine months of 2021, the city’s population grew significantly.

In September alone, it recorded 2,200 additional residents.

This is mainly due to people with a B residence permit, according to Klemens Rosin, methodologist at Zurich’s Statistics Office.

During the crisis, far fewer of them left the city. “This group is made up of well-educated, younger and mobile foreigners who have made a significant contribution to Zurich’s growth”, Rosin said.

Zurich’s employment market is expect to grow even further.

READ MORE: How hard is finding work in Zurich without speaking German?

That’s because in the coming years, many Zurich workers will retire — an estimated  210,000 by year 2050 — creating more job opportunities for younger employees.

In fact, according to a study commissioned by the canton in 2021, if Zurich’s economy is to continue to flourish, it will need around 1.37 million workers by mid-century.

If these vacancies will not be filled, then income, tax revenue and the financing of social security programs will be impacted.

READ MORE: Have your say: What’s the best way to find a job in Zurich

While it is difficult to predict what jobs will be most in demand in 2050 — what new technologies will emerge in the meantime — right now and in medium term, IT workers will be especially needed, experts say, because businesses will continue to to digitalise and automate.

Lower skilled jobs will also be in higher demand, including hospitality, retail and transport. 

With hundreds of thousands of vacancies to fill, people with the permission to work in Switzerland are likely to be flush with offers – particularly skilled workers with recognised qualifications. 

READ MORE: Why finding a job in Switzerland is set to become easier