For members


Legal changes you need to know about in Switzerland in 2022

From tax breaks to protection for domestic violence victims, here are some of the major law changes coming into effect in 2022.

A set of glasses seen laying on a lawbook
There are several legal changes to be aware of in 2022. Here are some of the most important. Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

More surveillance of stalkers

From January 1st, victims of violent crime or threats can make an application for the perpetrator to wear an electronic tag to determine their whereabouts. 

The aggressor will not be able to remove the tag and will have to pay for it. 

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in 2022

The order for an electronic tag can be made for a maximum period of six months. 

The cantons are responsible for enforcing the measure. 

A national phone number will also be established for victims of stalking and domestic violence (although this number has as at January 2022 not yet been created). 

Corporate tax breaks

Swiss companies, including banks, will be able to deduct the cost of fines and penalties levelled internationally. 

The changes, which came into effect on January 1st under the Federal Act on the Tax Treatment of Financial Sanctions, have come into effect in order to help Swiss companies overcome financial hardship where a fine has been levied abroad for political reasons. 

Fines levied in Switzerland by Swiss authorities will not be deductible. 

AHV number used to identify people

Official authorities are now allowed to use a person’s AHV number to identify them for the purposes of administrative and bureaucratic actions. 

Some parliamentarians have been critical of the change, saying it may lead to data protection problems

eBike rules

As of April 2022, all eBikes will need daytime lights back and front to drive on Swiss bikeways and roads.

The rules come into effect regardless of whether the bike is speed restricted or number plated. 

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in January 2022

Bikes that can go over 45km/h must also be equipped with speedometers. 

No skipping ads on TV

Anyone using the replay function on their television will no longer be able to skip over ads, unless customers pay for a premium service which allows them to do so. 

Broadcasters pushed for the changes as a result of declining advertising revenue, which has declined by two percent per year since 2017. 

Paternity leave for federal employees

Federal employees will now be entitled to four weeks of paternity leave, rather than two. 

Federal employees will also receive a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to working from home or in flexible working spaces, such as co-working spaces. 

However, the new law stops short of granting a right to work from home. 

Croatians can work in Switzerland under same right as other EU/EFTA nationals

From January 1st, citizens of Croatia will be permitted to work in Switzerland under the same rights as the rest of the EU/EFTA nationals.

Previously, under a law approved by the Swiss authorities, Croatians were permitted access to Switzerland’s labour market while being subject to transitional provisions, such as specific quotas.

READ MORE: Swiss to allow ‘complete’ free movement of people from Croatia

Gender identity to be easier to adjust in official documents

An amendment to the Civil Code which will come into force on January 1st will allow people with a trans identity to make appropriate changes in the civil status register more easily, by means of a simple declaration.

The cost of switching gender officially will be CHF75 and can be made by anyone who is “inwardly firmly convinced” they are a different gender to their officially recorded one. 

For people aged under 16, they can only do so with parental or guardian consent. 

End of ‘geo-blocking’ of Swiss customers on foreign sites

Swiss internet users sometimes try to buy goods abroad for less money than what comparable items cost in Switzerland. However,  certain platforms automatically redirect customers to a Swiss site, where prices are higher.

READ MORE: How the cost of living will change in Switzerland in 2022

The practice of automatically redirecting customers to a Swiss platform, will no longer be tolerated from January 2022, according to NZZ am Sonntag.

A legislative change will repeal this practice, but foreign companies may refuse to deliver cheaper goods to Switzerland, NZZ said.

We all need to be nicer to fish and lobsters

From January 1st, Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) will introduce new rules on how fish and crustaceans can be slaughtered. 

At present, there are no regulations for how this needs to take place, meaning companies can slaughter fish and other sea creatures in any way they like. 

Now there will be a range of minimum standards which need to be complied with

…and chickens

There will also be an expansion of animal welfare laws regarding the commercial slaughter of poultry, i.e. chickens and turkeys.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Switzerland’s supermarkets 

The gasses used to stun the birds must be kinder and gentler in the future, with CO2 – the gas currently used – to be phased out. 

Same sex marriage

Same-sex couples will be permitted to get married in Switzerland on July 1st, 2022, nine months after a historic referendum.

Nine months after the vote, the “marriage for all” law will enter into force as of July 1st, 2022, the Federal Council announced.

From this date on, gay couples will be able to marry, though the preparatory procedure for marriage can be started before this date.

Same-sex couples will also be able to convert their registered partnership into marriage: a simple joint declaration to a civil status officer will suffice to convert a current partnership.

EXPLAINED: Same-sex couples can marry from July 1st in Switzerland

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For members


Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2022

From changing Covid rules to the next round of referenda, this is what is happening in Switzerland in May 2022.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2022

May 1st: Labour Day

Like many other countries Switzerland is celebrating Labour Day on May 1st (which has nothing to do with the Labor Day in the United States, which falls on the first Monday of September).

In Switzerland, it is also known as International Workers’ Day and May Day.

As it is falling on a Sunday this year, you will not get half a day off work – although a movement has been kick started to change all that. 

READ MORE: Swiss politicians call for ‘lost’ public holidays to be replaced

May 2nd: All entry restrictions to Switzerland will be lifted

Travellers from abroad will once again be able to enter Switzerland or apply for a visa under the usual (pre-Covid) conditions.

The last entry restrictions still in force be dropped on May 2nd.

On that date, vaccine requirement for all tourists, regardless of where they come from, will fall.

READ MORE: Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from May 2nd

May 2nd: New Covid certificate enters into force

The Federal Council decided that Covid recovery certificates can be issued on the basis of a positive rapid antigen test or a laboratory-based immunological analysis.

Because of new rules in the EU, these certificates will be recognised internationally. 

They can be issued retroactively for positive test results from October 2nd, 2021. 

However, “because no similar rules existed at EU level at the time, they were only valid in Switzerland. Certificates already issued on this basis must be applied for again and re-issued for international compatibility”.  

May 9th: Consultation for extension of Covid law ends

Although no Covid measures are currently in place in Switzerland – and the few that remain for entering the country will be removed on May 2nd – the legal framework which allows the government to make Covid rules remains in place. 

Currently, the Swiss government is undergoing a consultation with the cantons, which is set to end on May 9th, about the continuation of the framework. 

Issues such as covering the costs for Covid tests and issuing Covid certificates for travel abroad will be discussed. 

While the Covid Act is currently set to expire at the end of 2022, it is expected to be extended until at least June 2024. More information is available here

May 15th: Switzerland votes

In the second of four rounds of national referendums scheduled for 2022, the Swiss will head to the polls on May 15th to decide on three issues: The Film Act, support for European border guards (Frontex), and transplant /organ donation law.

More information about issues at stake can be found here:

EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s May referendums?

May 26th: Ascension Day

Thursday May 26th will mark the Ascension Day, a religious holiday, which is a national public holiday in Switzerland.  

While the following day, Friday the 27th, is not a public holiday — that is, stores and most other businesses operate as usual — schools and some offices remain closed until Monday.

READ MORE: When are the public holidays in Switzerland in 2022?

Spring in full swing

After a cold and miserable winter and spring, things should improve from May onwards in Switzerland. 

Although May is a notoriously temperamental month – with temperatures hitting highs of 20C degrees in Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zurich – the nights can still get very cold, with lows touching on 0C. 

Whatever you plan on doing in Switzerland in May, channel your inner Swiss and remember that preparation is your friend, so bring appropriate clothing for rain, cold and of course golden sunshine.