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Switzerland Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Vacation Days (Annual Leave), Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on January 30, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Switzerland

Vacation Leave Quota (Annual Leave)

4 weeks

Regular employees in Switzerland receive at least 20 days of vacation. This number of vacation days applies to employees from the age of 20 to 50 years old.

However, two groups of employees are entitled to 25 days of vacation:

  • Under 20 years old;

  • More than 50 years old.

The CBA (collective bargaining agreement) and employment determine this matter.

Carry Over

It is allowed for employees to carry over their unused vacation days and employers have the discretion to establish their own policy for carrying over.

Payout of Vacation Leave

Throughout the period of annual leave, the employer is obligated to maintain salary payments, unless the employee engages in work for another party during their leave.

Switzerland leave laws state that when employment is terminated, any remaining annual leave days must be compensated financially. However, vacation leave entitlements can’t be exchanged for money or other benefits during employment.

Sick Leave in Switzerland

At least 3 weeks of paid sick leave.

According to their length of continuous employment with an employer, employees have the right to paid sick time. They may take three weeks of paid sick leave in their first year of service, with the entitlement increasing as they continue their employment. Also, during this period, an employee is protected from being terminated.

An employee is required to provide a medical certificate if they take more than three days off work due to illness.

Payout of Sick Leave

Generally, an employee who is on sick leave is entitled to between 80 and 100% of their usual salary. However, this compensation is typically capped at CHF 300,000 per year.

The specific duration of sick leave and the amount of sick benefits an employee is entitled to can differ depending on the canton. It might also be defined by a collective agreement or an individual contract.

Sick Pay Depending on an Employer’s Insurance

The standard scenario of sick days is as follows:

Eligible employees in Switzerland may take paid time off because of illness or injury lasting up to 720 days within a timeframe of 900 days.

There are two methods for handling sick leave.

If the employer provides group insurance for daily sickness benefits (most employers do), the payment scheme is:

  • The employee receives their regular full salary for the first 30 days, paid entirely by the employer.
  • The employee continues to receive their full salary from the 31st to the 720th or 730th day, with 20% of their pay coming from the employer and 80% from the insurance.

If the employer does not provide group insurance for daily sickness benefits, an employee is still compensated for their usual full salary_._ However, the duration of sick leave is limited based on the duration of the employee’s service to the employer. It may last from 3 weeks of leave (for the first year) and increase accordingly with the number of years of employment, up to 4 months of sick leave (with 10 or more years of work).

Please visit the following websites if you want to find out more about sick leave and sick pay in Switzerland or specifically about daily sickness benefits in Zurich.

Family Care Leave

3 days

Employees are also entitled to up to three days of paid time off for the purpose of taking care of a sick child or assisting a family member with a severe illness.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity Leave in Switzerland

14 weeks

Pregnant female employees in Switzerland are entitled to 14 weeks of fully or partially paid maternity leave. An employee is required to use 8 weeks of leave postnatally (after childbirth). In the Geneva canton, the duration of maternity leave is 16 weeks, and other cantons may implement provisions that allow for a longer period of leave.

After the leave ends, a mother has the option to extend their maternity leave by an extra 14 unpaid days.

To be eligible for maternity leave and allowance, an employee must be covered by compulsory pension insurance and have at least 270 days (9 months) of uninterrupted service at the company.

An employee is protected from termination of employment during the period of a woman’s pregnancy and for a duration of 16 weeks after the birth.


During maternity leave, the employee is entitled to at least 80% of their salary. Payments are covered by state insurance. This applies to both part-time and full-time working mothers. An employer may choose to top up maternity benefits beyond the statutory amount and provide employees with a full salary while on maternity leave.

Paternity Leave in Switzerland

2 weeks

As of 2020, when Swiss voters supported an initiative of parliament, fathers are entitled to paid paternity leave. It is at the employer’s discretion to provide leave longer than the statutory minimum. They may take two weeks of leave, and it must be taken within the first six months after childbirth. This paternity leave may be taken fully in one period or divided into daily or weekly segments. Eligibility for paternity leave is the same as for maternity leave; at least 270 consecutive days of service must be completed before the leave.

Federal employees may take 4 weeks of paid paternity leave.


Similar to maternity leave, paternity leave is compensated at 80% of an employee’s salary, paid by state insurance.

Parental Leave in Switzerland

There are no regulations in Switzerland leave laws regarding parental leave.

Bereavement Leave in Switzerland

3 days

The law stipulates that in the event of the death of a close family member, bereavement leave (aka compasionnate leave) must be allowed. Although Switzerland leave laws do not specify the exact duration of leave, employees are generally entitled to up to 3 days of paid leave for these purposes.

The exact details of bereavement leave are determined by an employment contract or collective agreement and should be presented in the employee handbook.

Jury Duty Leave in Switzerland

An employer is obligated to provide their employees with paid leave if they need to perform their civic duties or participate in public and legal affairs.

Military Leave in Switzerland

An employer is required to ensure that employees are protected from dismissal while they are on their civilian, military, or civil defense duty. However, employees retain the right to give notice while on this leave.

Voting Leave in Switzerland

There is no law defining voting leave.

Public Holidays in Switzerland in 2024

The number of holidays depends on cantons.

These are the statutory holidays observed in Switzerland:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Ascension Day – 40 days after the Easter
  • Swiss National Day – 1st August
  • Christmas Day – 25th December

All other public holidays are decided on a cantonal basis, with each canton being able to decide whether or not to grant a holiday on these days.

A complete list of official holidays celebrated in Switzerland:
Date Holiday Canton
January 1 New Year National
January 2 Berchtold’s Day AG, BE, FR, GL, JU, LU, OW, SH, TG &VD
January 6 Epiphany GR, LU, SZ, TI &UR
March 1 Republic Day NE
March 19 St Joseph’s Day GR, LU, NW, SZ, TI, UR & VS
March 29 Good Friday National except for TI & VS
April 1 Easter Monday National except NE, SO, VS & ZG
April 4 Näfelser Fahrt GL
May 1 Worker’s Day BL, BS, JU, LU, NE, SH, SO, TG, TI & ZH
May 9 Ascension Day National
May 20 Whit Monday National except NE, SO, VS & ZG
May 30 Corpus Christi National except AR, BL, BS, BE, GE, GL, NE, SH, SG, TG, VD & ZH
Jun 23 Independence of Jura JU
Jun 29 St Peter and St Paul GR & TI
August 1 National Day National
August 15 Assumption Day AG, AI, FR, JU, LU, NW, OW, SO, SZ, TI, UR, VS & ZG
September 5 Jeûne genevois GE
September 16 Day after the Federal Fast VD
September 22 St Mauritius AI
September 25 Brother Klaus Festival OW
November 1 All Saints’ Day National except AR, BL, BS, BE, GE, GR, NE, SH, TG, VD & ZH
December 8 Immaculate Conception AG, AI, FR, GR, LU, NW, OW, SZ, TI, UR, VS & ZG
December 24 & 25 Christmas , National, GL
December 26 St Stephen’s Day National except GE, JU, NE, SO, VS, VD & ZG
December 31 Restoration Day GE
December 31 New Year’s Eve GL


  1. Local Laws & Regulations, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/switzerland

  2. Payroll and Benefits Guide Switzerland, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/switzerland-zurich/

  3. Definitive Guide to Hiring in Switzerland, https://www.globalexpansion.com/countrypedia/Switzerland

  4. Prevention of the employee at work performance, https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/home/Arbeit/Personenfreizugigkeit_Arbeitsbeziehungen/Arbeitsrecht/FAQ_zum_privaten_Arbeitsrecht/verhinderung-des-arbeitnehmers-an-der-arbeitsleistung.html

  5. Switzerland: Overview of Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave under Swiss Law, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/labor_law/publications/ilelc_newsletters/issue-spring-2023/switzerland/

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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