John lives in a Swiss ski resort but works for a U.S. Pharma company | Nancy lives in Bern, but is on a short-term contract via a Swiss payroll-provider to a Danish agricultural company | Trevor lives near Lucerne but freelances in Aviation safety to several clients around the world, via a Swiss payroll company | Hans-peter is a German resident living in Switzerland and who is working through a Swiss payroller on a two-year consultancy for a client in Versailles.
Scenarios such as the above are becoming more commonplace in Switzerland today. Remote work trends partly driven by the current COVID climate mean that workers are increasingly choosing to work remotely as part of a new work/life balance. Here we look at some of the options available someone who lives in Switzerland and works for a foreign based Company.
Labour Leasing: where a provider company leases their employees to a client company.
Although most individuals working in Switzerland work for Swiss domiciled companies, an increasing number work for foreign companies, i.e. those without a legal presence in Switzerland.
Labour leasing is where a contract exists between the company leasing out the worker (the “providing company”) and the company recruiting the worker – the client (or “user company”), and also between the providing company and the actual employee (“contractor”).
For example in our first scenario above, John is resident in Switzerland with a valid Swiss work permit. His services are leased to the US Pharma Company as a contractor through a providing company or labour lease employer based in Switzerland. This works in the following way:
- The labour lease employer signs a supplier agreement with John’s U.S. company (the client).
- John signs an employment contract with the labour leasing company. He then becomes an employee of the labour leasing company.
- The labour leasing company then leases John back to the U.S. employer as a contractor.
- John pays into the Swiss social system via his Swiss payroll.
- John works from a home office in Switzerland.
- The labour leasing company charges John a percentage commission fee, calculated from the gross amount paid by the Client in the U.S.
- John benefits from protection and insurances that are as good as, and in many cases better than for the average permanent employee in Switzerland.
There is an alternative method open for John to consider if he still lives in Switzerland and works for a U.S. company and this is called ANobAG (Acronym in German: Arbeitnehmer ohne beitragspflichtigen Arbeitgeber – English: Employee without a (social insurance) contributory employer).
This approach can also be a solution for John but the employee-employer relationship can be legally less certain (two countries involved in the employment relationship) than with the leasing approach. ANobAG is more popular for senior management with benefits that are not easy to pass through a leasing setup, share options for example. There are obvious benefits for the company (client), which would not be liable for any social contributions.
Under ANobAG John is responsible for all deductions and must pay both employer and employee fractions on the amount paid to them by the employer (except for allowable business expenses). Income includes benefits such as bonus and share issues/options/reward schemes. The ANobAG figures are defined on most Swiss AHV office websites. Further:
- John must fill out an annual tax return. (No source tax).
- John must also purchase accident insurance (UVG). Other insurances (UVGZ, KTG) are optional.
- If the employer were in the EU/EFTA an EU Art 21 form has to be signed by the employer (acknowledging transfer of responsibility for social insurance to Switzerland), and the employee has to purchase Swiss Pillar II professional pension. In John’s case, this does not apply as his employer is outside the EU.
- If John gets sick or has an accident it is his responsibility to make a claim. The employer may or may not cover some of the loss of work – that is up to them in their employment contract.
- Litigation between John and employer is not necessarily handled under Swiss law (it depends on what is stated in the employment contract) and Swiss employment law does not therefore necessarily apply.
- If the salary is agreed in a foreign currency the payroll is converted using the federal accounting exchange rate for the year for calculating premiums.
In conclusion, if you live in Switzerland with a valid permit and you want to work for a foreign employer that does not have a presence in Switzerland – this is possible though the two approaches above. Accurity is an employment services provider and was founded over 20 years ago. We specialise in employment services for contractors including labour leasing. Since our launch we have worked with over 400 client companies and 3’000 contractors. Our team of experts is available to answer all your questions. Contact us now: “We make Switzerland easy for you”