10 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in July 2023

10 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in July 2023

As 2023 passes its midway point, the residents of Switzerland have a number of important things to keep in mind. From new rules for workers and learner drivers to festivals and holidays, here are 10 important things to know about July 2023.

1. Last chance for many to appeal rental cost rises

On June 1, it was announced that the reference interest rate would rise from 1,25 to 1,5 percent. As a result, around half of those who rent a house or apartment in Switzerland will face higher rents, even if they are already signed on to a rental contract.

Landlords looking to raise rents have to inform their tenants in June before the new rate begins to apply in October. Once they are informed of the rise, tenants have up to 30 days to appeal the decision, according to the Zurich Tenants’ Association. For more information about the reference rate rise, check out our guide.

2. Longer, more flexible hours applied to some Swiss jobs

From the beginning of July, many employees will have the option of working longer hours as a result of new reforms brought about by the Swiss Federal Council. This will allow those working on “projects and time-critical orders” in the information and communication technology (ICT) sectors to work for 17 hours straight instead of 14. The daily mandatory rest period for these workers will also be shortened from 11 to nine hours.

In addition, the updated rules give those in the auditing, tax advisor and fiduciary industries the right to offer new managers and specialists work contracts that disregard some rules on maximum working time, overtime and working on Sundays. For more information, check out the official press release (in German).

3. Switzerland and France agree on cross-border remote working deal

On June 27, the Swiss and French governments finally shook hands on a new agreement for cross-border workers, specifically regarding whether they are able to work from home. The announcement will likely be a relief for many cross-border employees, as the previous temporary deal was due to expire at the end of July.

As of the end of 2022, 380.000 people were recorded as living in France, Italy, Germany or Austria, but having a job in Switzerland - quite a lucrative gig, given the lower cost of living in the EU, the disparity between EU and Swiss salaries and the fact that these workers are subject to lower Swiss taxes, despite living abroad.

During the pandemic, many cross-border employees switched to working from home - facilitated by a temporary agreement between Switzerland and its neighbours. However, since COVID restrictions were lifted, authorities have been debating how long these workers can work from home before they have to switch to paying taxes in the country in which they reside. This debate has now been solved by an official agreement.

Anyone who lives in Germany, Austria or France and works in the alpine nation will be subject to Swiss taxes, so long as they don’t work from home for more than 40 percent of total working hours. While the terms are the same as the temporary deal already struck between Switzerland and EU nations, unlike the previous agreement this one will not expire.

However, the plan still needs to be ratified by parliaments in all countries, and an agreement is yet to be reached between Switzerland and Italy.

4. Federal Palace in Bern opens to the public

On July 1 and 2, everyone in Switzerland will be able to see inside the seat of government: the Federal Palace in Bern. The free event, designed to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the signing of the first modern Swiss constitution, will be packed to the brim with talks, lectures, concerts and other engaging activities.

What’s more, SBB has offered a cut-price ticket so that everyone is able to get to the de-facto capital and see inside the halls of power. For more information, check out our guide.

5. New rules for learner drivers in Switzerland

From July 15, the government will begin to change a number of regulations related to learning to drive in Switzerland. Most of these changes concern how learners are trained, how elderly learner drivers are vetted and under what conditions a learner or driver's licence can be withdrawn.

For more information, check out the official press release (in German).

6. Züri Fäscht returns!

After the traditional three-year absence, the largest festival in Switzerland, Züri Fäscht, will return to the streets of Zurich from July 7 to the evening of July 9, 2023. During these days, most of the busy old town of Zurich and the banks of the lake will transform into a massive fairground of rides, concert stages and fun activities.

150 food stalls, 70 fairground rides, 300 shops and 50 music stages will be dotted around the city - most of the city centre will be closed to drivers for the duration of the festival. If you want to see the largest city in Switzerland at its joyful best, Züri Fäscht is a must-see - hurry too, as the next time it will occur will be in 2026!

7. Montreux Jazz Festival gets underway

From a city letting loose to an event steeped in music folklore, the Montreux Jazz Festival is set to get underway from June 30 to July 15, 2023. This year is expected to be truly special, with artists like Sam Smith, Lionel Richie, Lil Nas X, Bob Dylan, Tom Odell and Jacob Collier slated to perform.

Founded in 1967 by Claude Nobs, Montreux has welcomed star-studded talent ever since the festival's inception - perhaps no wonder that it's been named the best festival in Europe for 2023.

8. TGV Lyria to offer direct train from Lausanne to Marseille

From July 1 to 23, people in Lausanne will be able to make use of a new direct train between the city and the French seaside resort of Marseille. The train, offered by TGV Lyria, will leave Lausanne at 7.45am every morning (arriving in Marseille at 12.10pm) and leave Marseille for the return leg at 1.46pm (arriving back at 6.48pm).

However, Vaudois who want their dose of the Mediterranean will have to be quick as the company plans to stop the service before the end of July - unless it proves to be popular. The train from Geneva to Marseille will be in operation for a little longer, running from July 1 to August 27.

9. Swiss schools out for summer

While the end of June saw international schools and one Swiss canton break for the summer, July will see the majority of schools in Switzerland close up for the holidays. Staggered to avoid excessive traffic on the motorways, most school holidays will begin between June 30 and July 15.

Despite the precautions, drivers have been told to prepare for delays on the roads during the next few weekends, especially at pinch points like the Gubrist Tunnel in Zurich, San Bernadino Pass and, of course, the Gotthard Road Tunnel.

10. Swiss families jet off for the holidays

While the hot weather has already allowed many people to kick back, sunbathe and take the plunge into Swiss lakes, many families have said that they want to fly abroad for holidays this summer. Whether you are planning the trip of a lifetime overseas or an adventure doing things in Switzerland, we hope you have fun!

Thumb image credit: RukiMedia /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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