The government has approved an accord between trade unions and employers to ease regulations on registering the working hours of employees, in a move that could affect about one in six employees in Switzerland.
Under the new rules, companies can be exempted from the obligation to have employees fill in time sheets if there is a written agreement between the two parties. Up to 700,000 staff could benefit from the amended rules, according to officials.
Employers and trade unions have been at loggerheads over the issue for years amid changing work conditions.
Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said the agreement reflects the increasing flexibility seen in workplaces, and also creates legal certainty while guaranteeing the protection of workers’ rights and limiting bureaucracy.
“It is a significant step ahead, notably for small and medium-sized enterprises and for sectors of the industry where the majority of employees earn more than CHF120,000 ($121,400) annually,” Schneider-Ammann told journalists on Wednesday.
He said the current situation is unsatisfactory, as many companies have been flouting legal obligations to introduce time sheets.
Last February, the economics ministry, trade unions and employers’ organisations reached agreement to end a long-standing stalemate.
The Trade Union Federation says it is crucial that companies implement the new regulations and that the authorities regularly carry out inspections.
For its part, the Association of Employees has described the new regulation as “a compromise of a compromise”.
It said there are no longer any excuses for inspectors to turn a blind eye to violations of the law. But the group also warns of additional bureaucracy for companies which have to implement the rules with the next two months.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch