Information intended to members of permanent missions (PM) and international organisations (IO) who reside in Switzerland and wish to benefit from domestic help for a few hours a week of housework, gardening or childcare
Undeclared work is forbidden in Switzerland
'Undeclared work' is any activity carried out by non-Swiss citizens without a work permit and which has not been declared (Swiss compulsory social insurances and taxation).
Undeclared work deprives the employee of social security coverage (pension, disability, unemployment and maternity benefits). Where necessary, the employer have to pay with retroactive effect the social contributions (employer's and employee's parts). In addition, they are liable to administrative and even criminal sanctions. If they benefit from diplomatic status, their immunity must first be waived to allow proceedings against them to take place.
It is reminded that, in accordance with the rules, persons enjoying privileges and immunities must respect the laws and regulations of the host State.
- «La loi sur le travail au noir» (in Swiss official languages), State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
- «Salaires et assurances sociales: comment se mettre en conformité?» (in French), canton of Geneva
Taking on household staff means becoming an employer
Domestic work is a gainful activity that must be remunerated and declared to Swiss compulsory social security and to the tax authorities.
When hiring a non-Swiss worker, ensure they have a valid Swiss residence/work permit
It is the employer's responsibility to check in advance that the person they wish to employ is authorised to work in Switzerland (either a Swiss national or a foreign national with a valid authorisaton, B/L permit with gainful activity or C permit).
The family of members of a PM or OI who hold a legitimation card of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) may be authorised to work in a private household if they request a Ci permit or an authorisation to engage in incidental gainful activity (for up to 10 hours a week) to the cantonal population office in their place of residence.
The following persons may under no circumstances be hired:
- members of a PM or OI who hold an FDFA legitimation card;
- private household employees holding a type “F” FDFA legitimation card who are not authorised to work for persons other than their employer (cf. Private Household Employees Ordinance, PHEO);
- persons in an irregular status or without a valid Swiss residence permit – this includes holders of a permit issued by a European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member state, which allows them to travel within the Schengen area but not to work there.
Minimum wage and working conditions
The working conditions of persons performing domestic duties such as cleaning, cooking, gardening and childcare are regulated by the standard employment contract (CTT) in force in the employer's canton of residence.
The standard employment contracts in force for the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Basel-Stadt and Bern, which include the mandatory minimum wages, are available online (see below).