Mass dismissals – beware of the pitfalls

Under Swiss law, mass dismissals require compliance with special procedures, which are stated in the Swiss Code of Obligations (CO). It is important to adhere to the rules, as non-compliance may result in lawsuits (for unfair dismissal) or the continuance of the employment relationships. However, when do we speak of mass dismissals and what are the required procedures?

Notices of termination given by the employer within a period of 30 days for reasons unrelated to the individual employee and affecting the following numbers of employees are considered as ‘mass dismissals’ (art. 335d CO):

  • 10 employees in a business usually employing more than 20 and less than 100 employees;
  • 10 percent of the workforce in a business usually employing more than 100 and less than 300 employees;
  • 30 employees in a business employing more than 300 employees.
    While terminations for altered conditions and early terminations of a temporary contract are considered to be relevant for purposes of the rules on mass dismissal, terminations based on termination agreements or due to the employer’s bankruptcy are not included within the coverage of the rules.

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If you have questions, please contact your usual PwC contact person or one of PwC Switzerland´s legal experts named below.

Martin Zeier
Legal Services
Myriam Büchi
Legal Services
Christine Bassanello
Legal Services

Published by

Martin Zeier

Martin Zeier
St. Jakobs-Strasse 25
Postfach, 4002 Basel
+41 58 792 5274

Martin's main focus within Legal Services is employment and immigration law. The services, which he has been able to provide for a number of Swiss and global clients, in particular consist of: drafting and reviewing employment contracts and regulations, advice on special questions concerning international assignment of employees, advice in all sorts of questions related to employment law (e.g. termination, holidays, overtime, special forms of employment, effects of restructuring, mass dismissal, etc.), work and residence permits and immigration (e.g. visas). Martin is head of the Employment & Immigration Practice in Switzerland.