EMPLOYER ACTION CODE: ACT

The National Council has approved amendments to:

  • Substantially increase the notice periods for hourly paid workers (Arbeiter) to align with those for salaried staff (Angestellte), effective January 1, 2021
  • Expand to hourly workers any employer-paid, short-term leaves (e.g., for marriage or funeral) currently applicable to salaried workers, effective July 1, 2018
  • Extend the minimum duration of employer-paid sick leave from six to eight weeks per year for all employees with under five years of service, effective July 1, 2018

KEY DETAILS

Notice periods

  • Hourly workers are currently subject to shorter notice periods for the termination of service (between one and four weeks), compared with salaried staff. The new measures harmonize the notice periods so that hourly workers have the same minimum notice periods as salaried staff. The minimum notice periods will range from six weeks to five months, depending on the length of service. Exceptions will apply for those sectors with mainly seasonal business, e.g., construction or tourism.
  • The new notice periods will also apply to hourly staff who work part-time (i.e., less than eight hours per week, where 40 hours per week are standard). This new notice period will apply to part-time salaried staff after December 31, 2017.

Paid short-term leave and sick leave

  • Salary continuation benefits, currently provided to salaried staff for short-term leaves such as marriage or funeral leave, will now be expanded to hourly workers, effective July 1, 2018. The option to limit this right by collective agreement will be eliminated.
  • Currently, employers must pay up to six weeks of pay replacement benefits during sick leave to employees with under five years of service. The minimum duration is eight weeks for employees with five to 15 years of service, 10 weeks for 15 to 25 years of service and 12 weeks for over 25 years of service. Effective July 1, 2018, the minimum duration of employer-paid sick leave for employees with under five years of service will increase to eight weeks per year. Paid sick leave benefits from social security start after employer-paid leave ends.

EMPLOYER IMPLICATIONS

The notice period harmonization, once implemented, will greatly increase employer costs where payment in lieu of notice is made to dismissed hourly employees. Similarly, the expansion of paid leaves will also increase employer costs. Employers should review their policies and procedures to reflect the changes. In addition, relevant provisions of any applicable collective agreements may need to be amended.