for household employees in Switzerland
Domestic help and domestic workers law Switzerland
If you employ domestic workers, you are obliged to settle social security contributions - even if the wages in cash or in kind are less than CHF 2,300 per year. In principle, every paid activity in a private household is subject to contributions.
If you are employing domestic workers born in 2001 or older in 2019, you must register with the cantonal compensation office in order to settle your social security contributions.
You only have to register domestic workers born between 2001 and 1994 if their wages in 2019 exceed CHF 750. Wages below this limit are non-contributory; the employee can, however, request the contribution statement.
You do not have to pay any contributions for domestic workers born in 2002 or later. It is not necessary to register with the compensation office.
Housekeeping includes the following activities in private households:
• Au pair girls / boys
• Home help
• Task assistance
• Care of the elderly
• Assistants who carry out activities in the house, in the apartment or around the house (e.g. neighbor who does garden work for a fee).
Household work is considered to be gainful employment under social security law.
The term housekeeping does not include activities in multi-family houses outside the apartments and in commercial properties (e.g. caretaker).
Obligations of the employer
When do social security contributions have to be settled? If you run your own household and employ people as domestic workers and pay them, you are obliged to pay social security contributions from this wage, no matter how modest it is. The aforementioned exception for young domestic workers remains reserved. Holiday allowances 2 are also subject to the obligation to contribute. The wage in kind is subject to contributions in addition to the cash wage.
If you fail to report, you can be liable to prosecution!
It is also possible to use the simplified accounting procedure for employers for short-term or low-volume employment relationships, which are regularly found in private households.
How high are the wages?
Breakfast CHF 3.50 per day | CHF 105 per month
Lunch CHF 10.- per day | CHF 300 per month
Dinner CHF 8.- per day | CHF 240 per month
Accommodation CHF 11.50 per day | CHF 345 per month
Full board and accommodation CHF 33.- per day | CHF 990 per month
Where does the employer have to register?
The employer has to register with the cantonal compensation office at the place of the household for the settlement of the social security contributions. If other staff are already being billed at an association compensation fund, the housekeeping staff can also be billed at this fund.
How must the employee be identified?
Employees are required to present their AHV / IV insurance card or their health insurance card when they start working. The insurance number, the surname, the first name and the date of birth of the person should be recorded so that the income at the end of the year can be booked in the individual accounts of these persons.
If there is neither an insurance ID nor an insurance card, or if the personal details have changed, another registration form must be completed. This can be obtained from any compensation office.
Who is liable to pay contributions?
Employed persons are liable to pay contributions from January 1st after reaching the age of 17. Young domestic workers are exempt from the obligation to pay contributions until December 31 after they turn 25, provided their wages do not exceed CHF 750 in a calendar year. The young employees can, however, request the contribution statement.
People working in housekeeping who have reached normal retirement age continue to pay contributions to the AHV, IV and EO, but not to unemployment insurance. They have a tax exemption of 16,800 francs per year or 1,400 francs per month. AHV / IV / EO contributions must be paid on the part of the income that exceeds the tax exemption.
However, there is no allowance for early retirees (from 62 years for women and from 63 years for men) who draw their old-age pension early. Unemployment insurance contributions must also be paid for them.
How high are the contribution rates?
AHV / IV / EO 5.125%
Family compensation fund (FAK) fund-specific only in the canton of Valais: 0.3%
As a rule, the compensation offices also collect the FAK contributions. They are only collected from another family equalization fund in exceptional cases. In these cases, the responsible compensation office will refer you to the responsible family compensation office.
The entire contributions are paid to the compensation office. The share of domestic workers is deducted from the gross wage.
If a net wage is agreed (ie the employee's contributions are also taken over), the conversion into the gross wage must be made. The compensation office provides information on this.
Do contributions also have to be settled on minor wages?
Yes. Normally, the relevant salary, which does not exceed CHF 2,300 per employer in a calendar year, is only charged at the insured person's request. In the case of persons employed in private households, however, the contributions must be paid in any case.
However, wages of up to CHF 750 per calendar year for young domestic workers up to the age of 25 are excluded.
Are domestic workers entitled to family allowances?
Yes. People who do housework and receive wages are entitled to family allowances, provided that the legal requirements are met.
Domestic workers can submit the registration for the family allowance claim to the relevant family equalization fund (usually the equalization fund).
Compulsory accident insurance
Do domestic workers have to be insured against accidents?
Yes. It is compulsory to insure the staff against accidents. To do this, you have to register with an accident insurance company.
• Domestic workers whose weekly working hours are less than eight hours only need to be insured against occupational accidents and diseases.
• Domestic workers who work at least eight hours a week must also be insured against non-occupational accidents.
Who pays the premium for accident insurance?
The premium for occupational accident insurance is borne by the domestic workers, while the premium for non-occupational accident insurance is borne by the domestic workers. The employer owes the entire premium amount, with the share of domestic workers being deducted from their wages. Deviating agreements in favor of the insured remain reserved.
The following exception should be noted: There is no collection of premiums for insured accidents if people earn up to CHF 750 per calendar year with an employer by December 31 of the year in which they turn 25. If such a domestic help suffers an insured accident, the UVG Substitute Fund is responsible for handling the case. The insurance can be taken out with any approved accident insurer.
If you do not take out accident insurance, you are liable to prosecution and have to pay replacement premiums.
What is the contributory salary?
The salary that is subject to contributions is usually equal to the relevant salary as defined by the AHV. The premiums are charged in a percentage rate on the premium-imposed salaries. The insurance companies have provided annual flat-rate premiums for employees who are only employed sporadically or regularly for short periods. The individual cases are regulated in the tariffs.
Is the occupational pension compulsory?
Only monthly wages of more than 1,777.50 francs (with fixed-term contracts running for at least three months) or annual wages of more than 21,330 francs are subject to mandatory occupational benefits. The wages are gross wages (same wages as for the AHV). If these minimum wages are paid, one must join a registered pension fund. The compensation offices check whether the employer is affiliated with such an institution.
Who is exempted from the mandatory requirement?
Employees who work part-time and are already compulsorily insured for a full-time job or who are self-employed in their main job are excluded from the obligation. In contrast to the cantonal compensation funds, the pension institutions are not obliged to accept members. The only institution that is legally obliged to insure employers is the BVG Auffangeinrichtung Foundation.
Who pays the contributions to the occupational pension?
The employee benefits institutions invoice the employer directly for the contributions to the occupational pension scheme. The contribution rates differ depending on the pension fund. At least half of this has to be paid for.
Where can I get more information?
The addresses of the regional offices of the BVG reception facility can be obtained from the following address:
BVG Fall arrest foundation, Directorate
Tel. 041 799 75 75
Is an employment contract necessary?
Domestic workers have to provide work. Therefore, the contractual relationships between domestic servants and domestic servants are to be legally qualified as employment contracts under the Code of Obligations. This applies regardless of whether a written contract exists or not. It is advisable to conclude a written contract so that the agreements are clearly recorded. Employees must be informed in writing about certain aspects of the employment relationship. Further information and 6 sample contracts can be found on the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Certain central legal provisions are mandatory. It is therefore not possible for the parties to come to an agreement with regard to these points that would put domestic workers in a worse position.
Are there normal employment contracts for domestic workers?
The employment relationship for house workers is also regulated in cantonal standard employment contracts (NAV). The cantonal NAV contain, in particular, provisions on working and rest times.
The Federal Council has also issued a standard employment contract for domestic workers (NAV Hauswirtschaft), which contains minimum wages for domestic workers in private households. The NAV housekeeping is applicable throughout Switzerland with the exception of the canton of Geneva. The scope of the NAV housekeeping primarily covers housekeeping activities and is more narrowly defined than the activities in Section 1. In addition, a number of jobs in private households are excluded from the NAV housekeeping.
Are domestic workers entitled to vacation?
Housekeeping employees have paid leave of at least four weeks a year. A vacation week has to correspond to a working week, ie if you work three hours a week, for example, you also benefit from these three hours of free time in a vacation week.
In the case of hourly wages, the holiday wage is to be calculated and paid out as a supplement of 8.33% (for five weeks holiday the supplement is 10.64%) on the (gross) wages achieved so far.
A contractual clause according to which vacation or vacation wages are included in the wages is not permitted. Further information can be found in the information sheet of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on vacation entitlement of employees. This leaflet can be ordered from the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FOBL), Federal Publications Sales, Fellerstrasse 21, 3003 Bern or at www.seco.admin.ch.
Do domestic workers continue to receive wages during pregnancy or maternity?
If domestic workers are unable to work due to pregnancy or maternity, the employer must continue to pay their wages for a limited period of time. The duration of the continued payment of wages depends on the number of years of service. The same applies to absences due to illness.
How can a contract be terminated?
Fixed-term contracts end at the end of the agreed contract period, without notice.
Open-ended contracts must be terminated. If the employment relationship has lasted less than a year, a notice period of at least one month must be observed. Longer notice periods can be agreed.
In the event of illness, pregnancy, maternity or military service, domestic servants benefit from the statutory protection against dismissal.
Information and further information
This leaflet only provides an overview. For the assessment of individual cases, only the statutory provisions are decisive. The compensation offices and their branches will be happy to provide information.
Information on labor law is usually provided by the labor court secretariats. General information on labor law and on the normal employment contract with minimum wage in housekeeping (Section 17) can be found on the website of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), www.seco.admin.ch.