Swiss employment law: Fired on sick leave?

Employee Rightsby Stefanie Rohr
Lawyer

The Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) regulates when an employer can fire or lay off an employee.

Art. 336c OR states that an employee may not be fired after his probationary period (a) for four weeks during the employees leave due to obligational military service, (b) during sick leave for a period of 30 days in his first year of employment, for 90 days in his second to fifth year of employment and for 180 days in his six or more year of employment, (c) for 16 weeks after giving birth.

Therefore if an employer gives notice of termination during sick leave, this is forbidden under the Swiss Code of Obligations. If an employer still gives notice of termination during this time the notice of termination is automatically void.

However if an employee is fired and then becomes sick during the period of notice, the period of notice will be halted and will be extended as long as the employee is sick but not longer than stated in Art. 336c OR. After the employee is healthy again and can return to work or once the period mentioned in Art. 336c OR is expired, the period of notice will continue and then expire.

It is important to be aware of these forbidden periods of notice as an extended period of notice may also entitle the employee to a longer period of employee leave benefits or wages.

If your notice of termination was given to you during or around sick leave, it is advisable to let the termination be checked by a lawyer. SLP will gladly answer your queries.

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