Swiss President Guy Parmelin calls for 63-hour working week
15-hour days and a 63-hour working week are part of new plans submitted by the Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education, Research and Swiss President Guy Parmelin, who wants to make extended working hours legal for different professions throughout Switzerland.
Extended working week for high earners in Switzerland
According to the new draft regulations, people working in legal, tax, corporate, management, communications, consulting and auditing services will in future have the opportunity to work a weekly maximum of 63 hours. This would only be allowed if the worker’s salary is more than 120.000 Swiss francs a year and the person has a high degree of “autonomy” in their working hours.
Currently, plans would also allow for more flexible work contracts, with a greater amount of freedom given to work overtime and on Sundays. However, workers will still have to make sure that the annual average hours worked does not exceed 45 hours a week.
More working hours planned for Swiss employees
President Guy Parmelin made the case that current labour laws do not give international companies enough flexibility with working hours, using the example of Google moving jobs from Switzerland to London. The new regulations are a result of a compromise between the Federal Council and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), who faced continued opposition from politicians and unions.
The plans have faced criticism from both sides of the debate, with some arguing that the regulations go “too far”, while others say they do not go far enough. The Swiss Trade Union Federation (SGB) said in a statement that the rules would “lead to more illnesses, more burnouts, more costs for the general public and less satisfied employees." They called on the government to think again, as they fear the rules will mean fewer jobs and the potential for poor business practices.
Business in Switzerland calls for more flexible working
From business, the mood is equally disappointed. The allianz denkplatz schweiz, a temporary organisation for business, argued that the new laws did not allow for “true flexible working” as they had hoped. They say that the new law changes would not give workers the opportunity to determine their hours and would simply allow for more work.
Dominik Bürgy from allianz denkplatz schweiz said that it should be up to workers to determine their own hours, and workers should be able to interrupt mandatory breaks and holidays. He said that other issues such as the prohibition of regular Sunday work and the mandatory recording of hours should be reformed instead, in order to keep a positive balance between work and family.