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.
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.
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.