The Swiss Federal Act on Employment in Trade and Industry and the corresponding federal Ordinances are the core source of regulations governing the matter. While the Act tends to apply to a large proportion of employment relationships, there are however numerous exemptions. For instance, working contracts concluded with federal, cantonal and local governments are usually not subject to the Act, nor are private working contracts concerning employees in management positions, scientists or teachers in private schools. In other words, the applicability of the Act has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
According to the Act, the maximum weekly number of working hours for employees is 50 hours. However, for employees occupied in industrial enterprises, for offices, technical and sales personnel in large retail enterprises, the maximum workweek is 45 hours.
If the performance of overtime work becomes necessary for the enterprise, the employee can be forced to perform such work limited to feasibility and to what can be expected in good faith.
Overtime work has to be remunerated at a surcharge of at least 25%, unless it is compensated in the form of vacation time.