By signing an apprenticeship contract, the employer undertakes to take on an apprentice for a certain number of years and to train him or her. This contract is concluded between the apprentice, the employer and the competent cantonal authorities. It must be in the form laid down by law and cannot be concluded orally.
De facto apprenticeship
Despite the requirement of a written form, the Federal Court has sometimes held that there is a de facto apprenticeship contract. The distinction between an apprenticeship contract, a traineeship contract and a teaching contract is sometimes not easy to make.
What happens when a young untrained person follows the teams in the field and trains "on the job"? If a school trains and employs a student in its hairdressing salon without paying her a salary, is this an apprenticeship or a teaching contract?
Apprentices are often young, even underage. Young workers are more sensitive to overtime. For this reason, the length of their working day is strictly limited.
Protection of personality
The employer has a greater duty to protect the personality of his youngest employees. This protection concerns both the physical and mental health of apprentices.
It extends from the recruitment interview to the dismissal. Employers must be particularly careful when asking questions relating to their private lives during the interview. If they go too far, the authorities may withdraw their permission to train apprentices.
The employer should take into account the obligation of the trainees to prepare their theoretical courses when arranging their working hours. They are not allowed to do certain arduous or dangerous work. Except for specific exceptions which are subject to limitations, Sunday and night work are prohibited.
Apprentices are often minors and therefore particularly susceptible to influence. The employer must ensure that they are not exposed to bad influences within the company. Specific measures must be taken to this end.
After the end of the probationary period, the apprenticeship contract can only be terminated under special circumstances. Immediate dismissal will only be allowed in a limited way. The seriousness of the apprentice's misconduct will be examined taking into account his youth and lack of experience.