Switzerland: Cross-border workers may be penalised for working from home
After almost 24 months of being told to work from home, cross-border workers who continue to choose to do so will face penalties.
In a strange twist, Swiss companies that continue to allow their cross-border employees to work from home are actually breaking the law.
The obligation to do so was lifted on February 2nd, 2022, by the Swiss government, although the specific taxation and insurance rules are set to be withdrawn in stages at a later date depending on the cantonal and federal rules over the coming months.
The government told Swiss news agency Watson it was not possible to say at present when the rules will be changed completely.
During the pandemic, when home working mandate was in place, Switzerland agreed with neighbouring countries to suspend certain rules concerning cross-border workers, especially relating to social insurance and taxes.
Cross-border workers are subject to these rules to encourage attendance at work in Switzerland, thereby minimising the incentive to work 'from' Switzerland but never or rarely actually set foot in the country.
Now, however, the usual tax rules are back in place and cross-border workers must again commute to their places of employment in Switzerland.
In fact, employers who still allow telework from abroad may be committing a criminal offence.
A lot of Swiss companies are not aware that they run afoul of the law by still permitting home work for frontier personnel.
“It was a surprise, even for us”, according to Marco Taddei, head of the international sector at the Swiss Employers’ Union.