The Swiss Federal government have updated their Ordinance governing the lock down measures against the COVID-19 virus. Despite the fact Switzerland has one of the highest measured infection rates, the current measures appear to be having a measurable effect on the rate of infection, and the population as a whole is observing the code of social isolation so important to controlling this rate. They have therefore so far stayed short of a blanket curfew, unlike several other European countries.
What are the main current measures? The following is a summary based on the Federal Ordinance for COVID-19 dated 28 March 2020.
The borders are closed to all neighbouring countries.
Entry to Switzerland is open only to Swiss nationals, those with permits to reside or work in Switzerland, those with valid transit visas, or special permissions. No new permits or visas are being issued.
All public access to business stopped except for vital products and services.
Only stores and kiosks providing daily provisions, public offices, public transport facilities, petrol stations and garages, medical facilities and chemists, and hotels are open. All other businesses are closed to the public.
No gatherings in public areas of more than 5 people (except for members of the same family) are permitted, and a distance of 2m needs to be observed. Fines of CHF 100 are being imposed on individuals who break these rules, which apply privately and in business.
Those with symptoms of cold, flu or the virus, and their family members must isolate. Additionally people with a higher risk of complications from the virus (65 or older, or with health complications) are requested to isolate, however there is a dispute over whether these people can be required to come to the workplace.
Schools and colleges are shut and distance learning methods are to be used. Exams cannot be held in public sittings: it still has to be decided if annual final exams are to be replaced with other assessment methods, or the school years to be repeated.
Work from home
Wherever physical presence is not required, employees should work from home, and when in the workplace they have to observe the social separation and hygiene rules. As already mentioned people with symptoms or high risk groups should stay at home. However employers still have the right to require the high risk group to attend the workplace (be it an office or outdoor site) if physical presence is unavoidable. This is being challenged by unions and employee bodies.
Financial Support for employers and freelancers
The Federal government has already pledged a CHF 40 billion fund to help employers and employees, to be distributed mainly as unemployment benefit, compensation for short term layoffs, and interest free guaranteed instant liquidity loans to companies of up to CHF 500’000.
Additionally the self-employed can claim up to CHF 3’200 per month if they have suffered a loss of work in any of the businesses closed by the government, for example hairdressers and tatooists, gym workers, workers in non-vital shops or offices. However there have been calls for it to be extended to other freelancers who do not directly work in banned areas who nevertheless are suffering from the resulting slump, for example tour guides, taxi drivers, coaches, alternative therapists photographers and artists. Currently these people have to resort to social welfare.
Freelancers working through Accurity enjoy all the benefits of regular employees including unemployment, sickness and accident insurance.
Contractors, Employees and employers in Switzerland
If you are working or are an employer in Switzerland, how will the spread of the Virus affect you? You will find the answers in our Coronavirus FAQ.
As a leading authority in the employment services sector for over 20 years, Accurity continues to channel its expertise into offering our clients, contractors and recruitment agent partners a top-class service. Our brand claim is “we make Switzerland easy for you” and behind that claim is our motivated and trustworthy team which will continue to be there for all of our stakeholders at this challenging, but rich learning environment.
Further questions about managing freelance professionals in Switzerland? just ask us.