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CROSS-BORDER WORKERS

Switzerland and France further extend tax benefits for cross-border workers

Switzerland has again extended a set of beneficial tax arrangements for cross-border workers living in France until November, although not everyone is happy.

The Swiss-French border closed during the Covid pandemic. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
The Swiss-French border closed during the Covid pandemic. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The rules were originally put in place during the Covid pandemic, when various laws and regulations in Switzerland and elsewhere encouraged people to work from home. 

Alongside these rules, the Swiss and French governments changed the underlying tax rules to encourage people to work from home. 

These rules were originally put in place in March 2020, but have been extended several times and will now expire on October 31st. 

What are the rules? 

Under normal circumstances, anyone living in France who works in Switzerland can spend no more than 25 percent of their time working from home. 

READ MORE: Why French cross-border workers choose to work in Switzerland

If they exceed this time limit, they would have to pay social security contributions and tax charges tin France rather than in Switzerland, which would be much higher.

The agreements between France and Switzerland – along with several other countries where people resident in France work like Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany – “provide that days worked at home because of the recommendations and health instructions related to the Covid-19 pandemic may … be considered as days worked in the state where [workers] usually carry out their activity and therefore remain taxable,” according to the statement from the French Employment Ministry.

In June, cross-border worker advocates called for the agreements to be extended. 

Companies in France’s Haute-Savoie region, where most of cross-border workers employed in Geneva come from, are upset, claiming that home-office agreement makes working in Switzerland even more attractive for French workers, at the detriment of local businesses.

According to Christophe Coriou, head of the Haute-Savoie section of French employers, “these agreements accentuate the competitive disadvantage” of French companies compared to Swiss jobs — in terms of salaries, but also lower taxes and other perks.

“By emptying them of their human resources, Geneva penalises companies in Haute-Savoie”,  Coriou  said, adding that “teleworking of cross-border workers, which is perceived as an additional attraction to the salary, accentuates the competitive disadvantage of companies in neighbouring France”.

What about other countries? 

Switzerland is heavily reliant on cross-border workers, with an estimated 340,000 crossing daily from France, Germany and Italy into Switzerland to work. 

About 90,000 workers from France are employed in Geneva, but there is no official data on how many still work from home.

Italy and Switzerland signed an agreement relating to cross-border workers in March.

Germany also has its own agreement with Switzerland. 

More information about the rules in place can be found at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: What cross-border workers should know about taxation in Switzerland

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JOBS

What’s the outlook for the Swiss job market this autumn?

The prospects of finding a job in Switzerland towards the end of 2022 are promising, especially in certain sectors, a new study has shown.

What's the outlook for the Swiss job market this autumn?

The outlook for the Swiss labor market will say positive towards the end of 2022 even with a worsening of the overall economic outlook, according to Swiss news agency Keystone-ATS.

Most sectors are recruiting, with the exception of finance, insurance and real estate, a new survey of 500 employers revealed.

However jobseekers with certain qualifications or experience are more in demand than others.

“Among the top 10 qualifications sought after are recycling and waste management, ecosystem and biodiversity management, human resources and cybersecurity,” said Jan Jacob, the head of Manpower Switzerland

According to the survey 500 employers carried out in August with 500 employers, 36 percent of companies said they plan to hire in the fourth quarter, while 16 percent plan to reduce their workforce. Some 42 percent of those companies surveyed see no change in staff levels in the coming months.

All Swiss regions reported positive job prospects, with particularly high scores in Ticino  and Central Switzerland.

But 24 percent of companies surveyed in the Geneva region and 14 percent Zurich said they were planning to recruit.

“Considering that the survey was conducted in the context of geopolitical and economic risks, the war in Ukraine and the consequences of the pandemic, the hiring outlook is still positive,” Jacob said.

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