Skip to main content

Accurity Blog

If you are looking to work in Switzerland or you are an employer looking to engage workers in Switzerland, we explain the employment options available to you.


1. Setting up as self employed

For freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Swiss sole traders, also known as sole proprietorships or individual enterprises, are the simplest form of doing business and also allow the owners to hire personnel. Not only Swiss citizens are allowed to open sole traders, foreign citizens living in the Switzerland are also entitled to set up this type of business. 

  • Self-employment offers the owner of the company minimum employment protection and social benefits.
  • Setting up and registering as self employed requires you also to keep and report accounts.
  • A self-employed contractor is often not accepted by Swiss clients because of the risk of them being regarded legally as the employer.
  • Being self-employed is often not accepted by the Swiss authorities unless there is a genuine entrepreneurial activity.
  • This may be suitable if the freelancer has a number of varied projects and clients, but is not recommended – you are personally liable without limit.

2. Setting up a GmbH (Private company with Limited Liability)

For contractors, freelancers or foreign companies opening a branch in Switzerland

The minimum share capital required for setting up a limited liability company in Switzerland is CHF 20,000. 

  • Personal remuneration can be a mixture of expenses, salary and dividends.
  • You can employ yourself and others, who benefit from standard Swiss social benefits and insurances.
  • As the owner or director of the GmbH, you will not easily qualify for unemployment benefit unless you shut down the company.
  • To set up a GmbH, the owner needs to pay the share capital into a company formation account (which can then be used for the business).
  • Forming a GmbH usually costs several thousand Swissfrancs in fees, and thereafter requires accounting/payroll, which is best outsourced to a qualified Swiss accountant in the canton in which the company is registered.
  • Suitable if you have (or plan to have) a number of projects and clients, and already “Know the ropes” in Switzerland.

3. Working through a Swiss Leasing Umbrella Company (EOR or Employer of Record)

For contractors or employees working on a fixed or open ended employment assignments to Swiss or foreign companies.

Under a Swiss Payroll Service you are employed by the Leasing Umbrella Company, and they lease you to the client company who then manages you as if you were a direct employee.

  • You have all the benefits of a regular employee in Switzerland.
  • There are no set-up costs or work to be done. Contracts and work permits issued by the company
  • Payroll is monthly and can be based on effort or results with bonuses commissions and expenses processed.
  • The managed service will also work for several simultaneous currencies and clients.
  • Preferred by most contractors, especially those relatively new to Switzerland.
  • Works for Swiss or foreign clients, and for cross-border workers commuting into Switzerland.
  • Can be used to send you abroad on a mission for up to five years (EU A1/A2 forms) if you are already resident in Switzerland.

4. ANobAG (Arbeitnehmer ohne beitragspflichtigen Arbeitgeber)

For employees who need to be directly employed by a foreign employer who has no presence in Switzerland.

Under the ANobAG scheme the Swiss resident employee registers for and pays the Swiss social insurances, removing this burden from the foreign employer. (In the EU/EFTA this indemnity falls under Art.21 of the Social Insurance ruling).

  • Applies if you will need to be employed directly by a foreign company while resident in Switzerland.
  • A Swiss employment contract is not required. A foreign contract or transfer letter is sufficient. You just need to register with your local social security office.
  • Costs and benefits (including unemployment insurance) are similar to being employed by a Swiss employer.
  • However, you do need to report your salary and pay all social premiums (employer and employee) yourself from the income you receive.
  • You need accident insurance (covers loss of earnings and treatment), and (if the employer is EU/EFTA) then also a professional pension.
  • You can also purchase insurance against loss of earnings due to sickness.
  • More suitable for C-level staff or similar, especially if share options and similar benefits are part of the remuneration.

In all the above cases you need to have a Swiss work or residence permit unless you are Swiss.

Finally, when coming to Switzerland to work as a project professional, chances are you will need a payroll partner to handle your monthly salary requirements. Accurity GmbH was founded over 20 years ago and specialises in employment services for contractors. We manage payroll for contract workers from all sectors. Our team of experts is available to answer all your questions. Contact us now: “We make Switzerland easy for you”