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LIVING IN SWITZERLAND

When are the public holidays in Switzerland in 2022?

Switzerland has very few national public holidays, when most businesses, schools, and other institutions are closed. But there are many that are celebrated on a regional or cantonal level. Here’s a list of what is commemorated where and when.

Mark all the Swiss public holidays in your 2022 calendar. Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash
Mark all the Swiss public holidays in your 2022 calendar. Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

As with everything in Switzerland, things differ widely from canton to canton.

There are only four holidays nationally:

January 1st (New Year’s Day), Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021), August 1st (National Day), December 25th (Christmas Day).

Technically speaking, Easter Sunday is also a national holiday, however it always falls on a Sunday. 

What else do you need to know? 

If the holiday falls on a weekend,  as Easter Sunday does, you do not get an extra weekday holiday in lieu.

For the purposes of this article the abbreviations for the 26 Swiss cantons are as follows:

Aargau (AG), Appenzell Innerrhoden (AI), Appenzel Ausserhoden (AR), Bern (BE), Basel-Country (BL), Basel-City (BS), Fribourg (FR), Geneva (GE), Glarus (GL), Graubünden (GR), Jura (JU), Lucerne (LU), Neuchâtel (NE), Nidwalden, (NW), Obwalden (OW) Schwyz (SZ),  Schaffhausen (SH), Solothurn (SO), St. Gallen (SG), Ticino (TI), Thurgau (TG), Uri (UR), Valais (VS), Vaud (VD), Zug (ZG), Zurich (ZH)

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland divided into 26 cantons?

January:

1st: New Year’s Day, National

2nd: Saint Berchtold’s Day , AG, BE, FR, GL, JU, LU, OW, SH, TG, VD

6th: Epiphany, GR, LU, SZ, TI, UR

March:

1st: Republic Day,  NE

19th: St Joseph’s Day,   GR, LU, NW, SZ, TI, UR, VS

April:

15th: Good Friday, national except TI and VS

17th:  Easter Sunday, national

16th: Easter Monday,  national except NE, SO, VS, ZG

READ MORE: Easter trees and egg smashing: how to celebrate Easter the Swiss way

Easter Sunday always falls on…Sunday. Photo by Oliver Wiesenberg from Pexels
 

May:

1st: Labour Day,   BL, BS, JU, LU, NE, SH, SO, TG, TI, ZH

26th: Ascension Day,  national

June:

3rd: Corpus Christi,  national except AR, BL, BS, BE, GE, GL, NE, SH, SG, TG, VD, ZH

6th: Whit Monday,  national except NE, SO, VS, ZG

23rd:  Independence of Jura, JU

29th:  St Peter and St Paul,  GR, TI

August:

1st: National Day,  national

15th,  Assumption Day,     AG, AI, FR, JU, LU, NW, OW, SO, SZ, TI, UR, VS, ZG

READ MORE: Why Switzerland celebrates its national day on August 1st

September:

8th:  Jeûne genevois,   GE

18th:  Day after the Federal Fast,   VD

22nd:  St Mauritius,  AI

25th:  Brother Klaus Festival,   OW

November:

1st:    All Saints’ Day,  national except AR, BL, BS, BE, GE, GR, NE, SH, TG, VD, ZH

December:

8th:  Immaculate Conception,   AG, AI, FR, GR, LU, NW, OW, SZ, TI, UR, VS, ZG

24th: Christmas Eve, GL

25th:  Christmas Day, national

Hopefully, Christmas will be without restrictions in 2022. Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

31st:  New Year’s Eve, GL

31st: Restoration Day, GE

READ MORE: Three Swiss Christmas traditions you should know about

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LIVING IN SWITZERLAND

Do foreigners in Switzerland have the same legal rights as the Swiss ?

Foreigners living in Switzerland may be wondering what their basic rights are compared to Swiss citizens. The answer depends on several factors.

Do foreigners in Switzerland have the same legal rights as the Swiss ?

There are currently 2.2 million foreign nationals living in Switzerland — roughly 25 percent of the population.

Simply put, everyone residing in the country legally, regardless of nationality, has the same basic constitutional rights as Swiss citizens do — for instance, the right to human dignity, free expression, equality, protection against discrimination, and freedom of religion, among other rights.

They also have the right to fair and equitable treatment in the workplace, in terms of wages, work hours, and other employment-related matters.

As the law states, cantons and municipalities “shall create favourable regulatory conditions for equal opportunities and for the participation of the foreign population in public life”. 

If they are arrested or imprisoned, foreigners also have the right to fair trial and to the same treatment as their Swiss-citizen counterparts, including legal representation and due process of the law.

Even those who are subject to deportation have the right to be represented by a lawyer.

And the Swiss legal system doesn’t necessarily favour Swiss litigants over foreign ones. For instance, in some cases, foreign nationals whose request for naturalisation was denied but who then appealed the decision, eventually won.

The most recent example is a man in the canton of Schwyz whose application for citizenship was rejected due to a minor car accident, but a Swiss court overturned the decision, ordering that the man be naturalised this year.

READ MORE : Foreigner wins appeal after being denied Swiss citizenship due to car accident

Where the rights and privileges differ between foreigners and Swiss, as well as among foreigners themselves, is when it comes to work and residency rights.

 EU / EFTA nationals

People from these countries, who have B or C permanent residence status have sweeping rights in terms of residence, employment (including self-employment), and home ownership.

The only right that is denied them is the vote, though some cantons and communes grant their resident foreigners the right to vote on local issues and to elect local politicians. 

READ MORE : Where in Switzerland can foreigners vote?

Apart from the limit on political participation, EU / EFTA nationals can live in Switzerland in pretty much the same way as their Swiss counterparts.

There are, however, some groups of foreigners whose rights are curtailed by the Swiss government.

Third country nationals

They are people from countries outside Europe, for whom various restrictions are in place in terms of entry, employment and residency.

For instance, their “future employer must prove that there is no suitable person to fill the job vacancy from Switzerland or from an EU/EFTA state”, according to State Secretariat for Migration. This could be seen as a discrimination of sorts, but that’s what the law says.

Once employed, however, “their salary, social security contributions and the terms of employment must be in accordance with conditions customary to the region, the profession and the particular sector” — in other words, no discrimination is allowed.

Another area where non-European foreigners are disadvantaged in comparison with their EU / EFTA counterparts is home ownership. While third-nation B-permit holders can buy a property to live in (but not rent out), they can’t purchase a holiday or second home without a special permission.

To sum up, all foreigners in Switzerland, regardless of their status, are entitled to fundamental “human” rights, including freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from discrimination in life and employment.

They also have the right to legal protection and representation during litigation or other court actions.

However they don’t have the right to participate in the country’s political process and, depending on their status, have equal access to residency and employment.

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