Frequently asked questions

The Cantonal System

Taxes, shop opening hours and many other matters are subject to local Cantonal laws. The below information covers the general situation as the Cantonal diversity is too great to cover here.

The Healthcare System

Each individual residing in Switzerland must obtain basic health insurance. This is completely privately funded, but the good news is that the health care system works extremely well and doctors and dentists speak English. Dental treatment tends to be expensive and is usually not covered by standard health insurance packages.

Work Practices

The normal Swiss working week is 40 – 42 hours, with a minimum lunch break of half an hour. Working practices vary depending on the company, however flexible hours are common.

GCA’s Responsibilities

  • to provide a valid employment contract, complying with Swiss labour laws
  • to ensure a work permit application is made
  • if a visa is required: to obtain the correct visa for the duration of employment
  • to invoice the client appropriately at each month end
  • to administer monthly salary and allowable expenses payments
  • to issue monthly statements on salary and expenses
  • to register employees for social deductions and administer these correctly
  • to remit all salary deductions correctly to the appropriate authorities
  • to register and remit employees for child benefit payments (where applicable)
  • to register accident insurance claims to issue an annual statement of earnings (Lohnausweis)

Additionally, GCA provides:

  • detailed information about living and working in Switzerland
  • essential remuneration/taxation/deductions analysis before contracts are issued
  • help in locating initial hotel or hotel apartment accommodation (if requested)
  • assistance with completing registration and banking formalities (if requested)
  • on-going information support
  • assistance with registration for private health insurance and third party insurance

The Contractor’s (“Employee’s”) Responsibilities

  • to complete initial residency registration formalities to the satisfaction of the local authorities
  • to provide us with accurate and up to date personal information
  • to ensure we have copies of work/residency permits issued directly
  • to arrange private health insurance in accordance with Swiss law
  • to give us copies of all documents regarding work or residency status
  • to work according to the terms of the employment contract
  • to provide us with correctly signed timesheets promptly at each month end
  • on leaving Switzerland: to complete de-registration formalities
  • to keep GCA and the Client informed of absences from work
  • to accurately complete and submit business expenses as they are incurred

The Agent’s Responsibilities

  • to locate and reconcile suitable end clients and contractors
  • to arrange contractual terms with the client and the contractor
  • to maintain the client relationship, thus benefiting the contractor
  • to conduct all negotiation with regards to terms and conditions

A contractor can work through Great Central Advisorydirectly without the introduction services of an agency, if they have located a suitable opportunity without the involvement of an agent. Contractors coming to Great Central Advisory Services via the introduction of an agency are subject to non-poaching clauses.


Nationals of certain non-EU countries will be required to obtain a visa before entering Switzerland and commencing work. Once the permit has been processed and authorised GCA will be notified and the Employee can collect the visa from their local Swiss embassy or consulate; they can then enter Switzerland and start work.

Registration and De-registration

All residents new to Switzerland are required to register with their local authority within 8 days of arrival. In some cantons we can provide this service for the contractor, in other cantons the contractor will need to go in person. In all cases, we will advise the contractor which is necessary and where the office is located. If a contractor changes domicile, he/she will need to de-register and re-register and keep GCA informed of any relocation. Before leaving Switzerland residents need to de-register with the local authority to ensure that the elective pension capital can be paid out.

Quellensteuer: Source tax

Source tax is levied on all ‘L’ and ‘B’ and some ‘C’ permit holding employees working in Switzerland. The rate depends on income, marital status, number of dependents and location. Source tax means the employer must deduct tax at source before paying net salary to the employee, and the employer is legally liable for remitting this tax to the authorities. ‘C’ permit holders and Swiss nationals exempted from source tax are responsible for submitting their tax returns and remitting tax directly, as assessed by the authorities. If a contractor is leased by us to work in a country other than Switzerland they are responsible for assessing and remitting all local and national taxes due.

Rental Accommodation

High standards are usual as nearly everyone rents in Switzerland. When taking on a lease, signature of approval will be required in acceptance of the standard of the apartment or house – on leaving, the accommodation must be returned in the same state in which it was taken. It should be clean and in good repair – however, accidents do happen and to that end there is very good, reasonably priced third party insurance available which covers accidental damage during the period of tenancy. It is strongly advised to take out this third party liability (Haftpflicht) insurance when taking on a rental property.


French, German and Italian influences are clear in each of the three main regions. Alas, Swiss-German dialects vary from one community to the next but most Swiss people are very happy to speak English as their unofficial extra language.

Marital Status

If legally separated or divorced a person is taxed as ‘single’. If declared as ‘married’ the date of marriage must be supplied. If married and accompanied by a spouse to Switzerland, that person is taxed as ‘married’. If not accompanied by a spouse their tax status will be ‘single’ unless proof is provided from the tax authority of their home country that their spouse is either not working, or that he or she earns less than Euros 15,000 per annum.