Vacation, public holidays, working hours


Employers in Switzerland must allow their employees to have a minimum of four weeks of vacation each year, and at least five weeks in the case of employees who have not yet reached the age of 20 (cf. article 329 a of the Swiss Code of Obligations - CO).

Public holidays

The following are considered as public holidays in the canton of Geneva: January 1st, Holy Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Swiss national holiday (August 1st), “Jeûne genevois”, Christmas (December 25th) and New Year’s Eve, totalling nine days in the year (cf. article 1 of the Geneva Law on public holidays - RSG J 1 45).

These public holidays can be modified by means of a written agreement between the parties, taking national and religious considerations into account, but their number may not be less than nine.

Maximum length of working week

The working week for office staff, technicians and other employees is limited to a maximum of 45 hours (cf. article 9 of the Law on employment in trade and industry - LTr). Generally speaking, the length of the working week in the canton of Geneva is 40 hours.

The maximum length of the working week for chauffeurs is 48 hours (cf. article 5 of the Federal Ordinance on the length of the working and rest periods for professional drivers of light vehicles used to transport persons and for heavy vehicles used for tourism - OTR2).

Days off (absences justified by wedding, death, ...)

The employers grants employees hours and days off (in addition to vacations and holidays) for events generally accepted as being of special importance. The most common include:

  • For a wedding: 1 day + 1/2 day on the preceding day and 1/2 day on the following day, i.e. between 2 and 3 days,
  • For a death: between 1 and 3 days (depending on the closeness of the relationship).

Specialist Contact

Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG
Office of Privileges & immunities
Rue de Varembé 9-11
P.O. Box 194
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37