Skip to main content

Accurity Blog

There are now an estimated 35 million people worldwide working remotely. And the number of remote workers in Switzerland is gauged at being around 25% of the total Swiss workforce. With freelancers making up 1/4 of the total working population, this number is set to grow in future.

In this post, we take a look at some of the pitfalls of working remotely in Switzerland.

 

So, how easy is it to work remotely from Switzerland? The EU Freedom of movement act theoretically offers EU/EFTA nationals the possibility to work remotely, including in Switzerland. However, in practice, both employer and worker should be well informed of the detail governing remote work before signing an engagement contract. Things to look out for include:

  • Work permit requirements
  • Work contract status
  • Social fund payments including health & accident insurance, pensions and taxes
  • Tax rules in Canton of residence and employer location

Also, to note, is the fact that the population of Switzerland is growing rapidly and an increased number of permit enquiries for remote work, could mean Swiss authorities might get stricter with permit applications in future.

The general rule is that each case is reviewed individually by the authorities.  Depending on the engagement model used (see below) evidence of sufficient funds may also be a requirement for successful permit application.

 

 

 

Permits, Tax, social contributions

  • The employer or engaging company must take due care to be thoroughly informed regarding all the legal and tax regulations, social insurance coverage and benefits, data protection, as well as other conditions and benefits for Swiss based workers.
  • For 3rd country nationals, the situation is much more complex and each case is considered individually.
  • When an EU/EFTA national is employed and permanently residing in Switzerland and working remotely for a foreign based company, they remain subject to taxation in Switzerland, in their canton and municipality of residence.

Engagement Models

There are two main engagement models that can be used for remote work when based in Switzerland.

    • Employer of Record (EOR) – where the worker is employed by a local SECO licensed Swiss Employer of Record. This is referred to as Labour Leasing.
    • ANobAG – where the worker is employed by the foreign entity and becomes their employee.
  • As long as the employee / contractor contributes to the Swiss social insurance system, remote work abroad has no impact on the entitlement to compensation in case of employer insolvency (this only applies when less than the 25% threshold outside of Switzerland is adhered to).

 

Summary

Working remotely when permanently based in Switzerland is possible, but for non-Swiss nationals (EU/EFTA) a valid permit is required, with approvals handled on a case-by-case basis. For 3rd country nationals the situation is much more difficult. Under both the EOR and ANobAG engagement models, the worker has to pay into the Swiss social funds system, as well as pay taxes in Switzerland. Tax is collected at Federal, cantonal, and local levels in Switzerland. It is highly recommended that anyone considering working remotely while permanently based in Switzerland consider all the legal and social requirements thoroughly, before contemplating a definite move.

 

Accurity is SECO licensed to provide employment services in Switzerland for companies of all sizes from multi national corporations to SME’s. We also advise on remote work. Please contact us on switzerland@accurity.ch or on +41 (0) 400 5585 to find out more about the services we offer clients, contract staff and recruiters. Contact our team to see how we can help you!