Absenteeism situations are many and varied. In some situations, the employer has an obligation to pay the employee wages, in others, the worker must bear the consequences of his or her absence.

Weather delay 

The worker may be absent or late for reasons that are entirely beyond his or her control. This is particularly the case when the employee is absent or late due to traffic jams, weather disruptions or cancelled flights. What can the employer do to make up for lost time?

Illness does not necessarily mean being bedridden and staying home in pajamas. However, certain activities on the part of the incapacitated worker cannot be tolerated. What if you see an employee in town drinking coffee while absent from work due to a torn ligament? Can the employee leave the country to seek treatment elsewhere during his or her inability to work? When does the absence become abusive?

Medical certificate

The employee who is the victim of an accident or illness must provide proof of his incapacity to work. This is done by means of a medical certificate. When an employer receives a medical certificate, he or she may have doubts as to whether it is a genuine medical certificate or a medical certificate of convenience. Such doubts may arise when an employee is absent due to a sprained ankle, publishes photos of her last night out at a nightclub, or when the same employee regularly falls ill on Mondays and Fridays. Naturally, these cases raise legitimate suspicions. What can the employer do when he thinks he is dealing with a false certificate? How do they verify what their employees are saying? Does any health impairment certified by a doctor justify an employee's absence and entitle him/her to salary?

Sick child

What happens when the employee's child is sick? In practice, daycare centers and schools often do not accept sick children. This requires the parents to reorganize quickly and urgently. Can the worker be absent because of the child's illness and stay at the child's bedside? And if so, for how long can the employee be absent? What are the justifications to be provided to the employer in a situation of a sick child? Is he/she entitled to his/her salary in any case?

Vacations illness accident

The purpose of taking vacations is to rest and relax the employee. Illness or an accident can occur during the vacation. Can the sick or injured employee ask for a postponement of the vacation days and receive his salary? And what happens in case of incapacity that occurs during a sabbatical or a holiday?

Vacations An employee, disappointed that he or she did not get a vacation on the dates he or she wanted, goes on vacation anyway or calls in sick. Another employee wants to extend his vacation and does not return to work. What can the employer do?


Strikes, whether they are union, political or climatic, are appearing on the Swiss scene. How should the employer manage these absences? Do employees always have the right to be absent from work to participate in a strike?

Thirteenth salary

Can an employee who is frequently absent from work have his or her right to the thirteenth salary cancelled or reduced?

Inability to work

It is possible that the employee is no longer able to perform his work. For example, a crane operator who is suddenly and permanently afraid of heights. Does the employer have to continue to pay the salary of the employee who is permanently unable to perform his work?

Sexual harassment/Mobbing

Conflicting situations at work, and in particular sexual harassment and mobbing, can have a serious impact on an employee's mental health. Such behavior is unacceptable and often results in a long-term disability for the victim. The employer has the obligation to take all necessary measures to prevent and put an end to harassment situations. These measures help to protect the employee's personality, to create a healthy work climate and to fight against absenteeism.

Health and sport

Back pain and burn-out are increasingly present in the working world. Employers must take care of the physical and mental health of their employees and prevent such situations. To this end, investing in sport at work is a good way to reduce the risk of work incapacity and absenteeism.

Dismissal due to illness

After being dismissed, an employee calls in sick. Is the employment relationship automatically extended?

If the employee is on sick leave, the employer cannot terminate the contract for 30 days during the first year of service, 90 days from the second to the fifth year of service and 180 days from the sixth year of service.

Employment certificate

At the end of the employment relationship, the employer is obliged to draw up an employment certificate at the employee's request. This certificate must contain the important elements and incidents that occurred during the employment relationship. The employer must, however, draft the work certificate in a considerate manner. Since the purpose of the work certificate is to enable the employee to return to work, should absenteeism or incapacity to work be mentioned? The situation is delicate.


The employer is obliged to respect and protect the personality and religious freedom of its employees. Under certain conditions, they must allow employees to attend religious holidays that do not fall on a public holiday.

Daily absences to go and pray, willingness to attend a worship service every week on a working day... This absenteeism risks damaging the company's interests. These interests can sometimes take precedence over the religious freedom of the employee. 

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon