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Challenges for employers due to the Corona crisis
Updated on November 19, 2020
The coronavirus is presenting enormous challenges for employers. MyRight has compiled the most important answers to labor-law issues for you.
Can I close my company in the event of a pandemic and declare this as a holiday shutdown to bridge the absence of my employees?
No. Even though employers can by law determine the time vacation is taken, this is generally not possible. Employees are also entitled to early allocation of vacation (generally three months in advance).
Can I order a vacation ban at short notice for my company in the event of a pandemic?
In general, you as the employer can determine when vacation can be taken (see also previous question). However, you must also take the requests of your employees into consideration. Employees are also entitled to information regarding early allocation of vacation (generally three months in advance). However, postponement of already agreed vacation is justified for serious reasons. In an urgent or unforeseen case, your employees must accept a change to the time vacation can be taken. You as the employer must communicate the postponement as soon as possible. However, because of your role as employer you are also obligated to compensate any damages incurred – such as costs for canceling travel.
Can I force the employees of my company to get the flu vaccine?
No, there is currently no compulsory vaccination in Switzerland. Even in the case of a pandemic, it may be difficult to enforce a compulsory vaccination ordered by you as the employer.
What are the consequences for continued salary payments if I have to close my company on the order of the authorities?
Who bears the business and economic risk in such situations is disputed. Since such a situation has never occurred before, there is no legal precedent. It is therefore unclear whether or not you as an employer have to continue paying salaries. Your employees may be obligated to make up the “missed” work time under their loyalty obligation. A short-time working arrangement could offer a possible solution. You can find instructions on how to register for short-time working here.
The virus is spreading quickly and I am afraid of the effects of illness on my business. That’s why I am considering fully or partially closing. What are my duties as the employer? What does this mean for my employees?
In this case, you are required to continue salary payments. Your employees are not obligated to make up the working hours – except in the case of very brief closures. However, the salary payable in this event is reduced by any amounts that the employee saved as a result of being prevented from working or that they earned by performing other work.
Can my company be placed under quarantine if I have employees in my company who have the flu?
The cantonal doctor will assess the situation and take measures accordingly (e.g. quarantine, closure).
Can I obligate my employees to work overtime in the event of a pandemic?
Yes, you can obligate your employees to work overtime (see Art. 321c para. 1 of the Swiss Code of Obligations). In a pandemic that results in the absence of many employees, it is justifiable for employees to work overtime. However, please take the personal situation of the employees into account, especially those with family obligations.
You will find more information on overtime here
In a pandemic, can I order my employees to compensate overtime?
Compensating overtime by taking time off requires the consent of the employer and employee. As the employer, you must prove that the employee consents to this. If, for example, the employment contract stipulates that you have the right to unilaterally order compensation of overtime, then you can require your employees to do so. However, it is not allowed to force employees to take unpaid leave. If you cannot offer your employees any or sufficient work, then you are required to continue salary payments. However, the salary payable in this event is reduced by any amounts that the employee saved as a result of being prevented from working or that they earned by performing other work.
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