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Zurich - Employment

Zurich's main economy is centered around finance and financial services – Zurich is home to over a hundred international banks and is home to the world's fourth biggest stock exchange. Together with the banking services, insurance companies, tourism and trade, the service sectors employ up to 75% of total employees in Switzerland.

Job mobility is easier for EU / EFTA citizens than it is for Third state citizens. EU / EFTA citizens are given equal opportunity as Swiss jobseekers for employment in Switzerland. All foreign citizens who are living and working legally in Switzerland are subject to the same employment law provisions as Swiss employees. These provisions will be highlighted in your work contract. Some American expatriates find the terms of the work contract more precise than the typical American ones – working hours, for example, are spelt out.

For accompanying spouses of Third-state citizens (non EU / EFTA), it can be very difficult to find work and obtain permits, but it is not impossible. If you intend to be self-employed, take note that this is usually reserved for C-Residence Permit holders. There is a useful job search engine service that not only lists job vacancies, but also permits employers to register vacancies online. Click here.

There are nine Public Holidays and two half-day local holidays that are observed in Zurich. New Year's Day (January 1st), Berchtold's Day (January 2nd), Good Friday and Easter Monday (usually in March / April), May Day (1st May), Whitmonday (usually in June), Founding of the Swiss Confederation (August 1st), Christmas Day (December 25th) and St. Stephen's Day (December 26th). The two local half-day holidays are Secselaeuten / Spring Festival (usually in April) and Knabenschiessen (usually in September). There are also bank holidays observed in Zurich.

According to Swiss law, all employees are entitled to 4 weeks of holidays per year for employees above 20 years of age. Employees below the age of 20 are entitled to 5 weeks of holidays. Some employment contracts or collective labor agreements may make provisions for more, but not less. In some European companies, a portion of the holidays is taken collectively by all employees in summer. This practice varies from company to company. The holidays are meant to allow rest, and should not be substituted by monetary compensation. There are no minimum wages stipulated under Swiss law. The weekly maximum working hours is 45 hours for industrial workers, office workers, technical staff and other sales and marketing staff / assistants. For other types of employees, the maximum working hours is 50 hours per week. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the average working hours in Swiss companies was 41.7 hours per week in 2007.

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