What you should know about Switzerland ending the work-from-home obligation

What you should know about Switzerland ending the work-from-home obligation
On-the-job testing will become mandatory for the time being. Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP
The obligation to work from home that was implemented in Switzerland on January 18th will be lifted at the end of May.

Home working was made compulsory in January due to the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland.

Under those rules, anyone who could work from home has been obligated to do so. 

But when the Federal Council announced the easing of some restrictions on May 31st, it said that, given a favourable epidemiological evolution, working from home will become a recommendation rather than a requirement.

READ MORE: Switzerland to open indoor restaurants and allow larger events by end May

But one condition was put in place: this can only happen if businesses carry out regular testing of their employees, even though, as Health Minister Alain Berset conceded, “this is an administrative burden”.

Some questions arise about the new rule.

Who will pay for the tests?

In order to further reduce the hurdles for testing in companies, the federal government assumes not only the costs, but will also pay the pooling costs.

In pooling, the saliva or the smears of several test persons are taken together and instead of five individual samples, a collective sample is analysed. If the test turns out positive, additional screening is carried out on the retained samples.

How often does a company have to test?

Fosca Gattoni, deputy head of the therapeutic products law section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), said that the companies have to test all employees at least once a week.

Do  employees have to come to the office earlier to be tested?

It takes around 15 minutes until a test result is available and the employees can go to the office. Whether the testing is based on working hours or not is up to employers.

Also, the rules of hygiene and behaviour, such as a general mask requirement, still apply for the time being.

These are only temporary measures, however.

“Once everyone who so wishes has been vaccinated, the rules on working from home will be eased without further restrictions. The rules to protect people at high risk in the workplace will be extended”, the Federal Council said.

READ MORE: Reader question: How do I prove in Switzerland that I’ve been vaccinated abroad?

Member comments

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  1. Nothing I have read recently reassures me that the Swiss authorities even now, fully comprehend the vulnerability of citizens and the real danger of the Covid 19 virus.
    Increase the programme of vaccination, and be vigilant in testing in schools, as children too can be carriers. The pandemic is not yet over.

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