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EXPLAINED: What will Switzerland’s working from home obligation look like?

Switzerland has put in place an obligation to work from home. How will this work?

A man sits in front of a desk at home.
From Monday, anyone who can work from home must do so under the new rules. Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

Please note: Switzerland has announced an end to the working from home obligation from February 2nd. Click here for more information. 

From Monday, December 20th, working from home will again be mandatory in Switzerland. 

The announcement was made as part of a wide range of new measures as the pandemic situation has again worsened in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: Switzerland announces tight new Covid measures from Monday

One of the measures is a requirement to work from home, replacing the recommendation to work from home which had been in effect throughout much of the year. 

How will the working from home obligation look? 

While the specific nature of the working from home obligation has not yet been laid out by the Swiss government, it is expected to resemble the similar rule which was in place last winter

Those rules required everyone who can work from home to do so all across Switzerland. 

Put simply, anyone who can work from home is obligated to work from home under the new rules. 

So while bakers will still be permitted to go into the bakery, most office jobs will now be done from home. 

Where this would require a complex technical set up to be installed at home, workers will be permitted to head into the office. 

Government employees are included and must work from home if possible. 

‘Everyday goods’: Which shops can stay open Switzerland from Monday? 

What if it is impossible? 

If remote working is not an option, then masks will be mandatory inside buildings, as soon as several people are present in the same room, even if the safety distances of 1.5 metres can be respected. 

Anyone wanting not to wear a mask must obtain a medical certificate from a doctor. 

Regular testing may be required, although as yet there are no indications working from home will require people to be vaccinated or recovered from the virus. 

But I don’t want to – can I just say no?

No. Not only is the law set in stone from Monday, but it is unlikely to be susceptible to a legal challenge. 

Roger Rudolph, an expert in labour law at the University of Zurich, told 20 Minutes that suing your boss or the government was unlikely to get you very far. 

“The passing of the working from home obligation is based on a solid legal basis,” he said

Can I charge my boss for rent and electricity? 

Nice try, but no. 

While there will be some potential to deduct the money spent for tax – and your boss will need to provide for certain specialised equipment – you are still responsible for paying your rent and utilities. 

READ: Why is Switzerland set to extend coronavirus measures? 

What does the government say? 

In making the announcement, the Swiss government said that it was important that everyone showed solidarity in the fight against the virus – including reducing contact as much as possible. 

“If we want to reduce the number of contacts over the next few weeks, we have to do everything we can to make working from home really feasible,” Health Minister Alain Berset said. 

Swiss President Guy Parmelin called the home office obligation a “decisive element in the slowdown in the number of cases.”



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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”