Company regulations


The purpose of company or personnel regulations is to specify the rights and duties of each person as well as the behavior to be adopted in the company. They are sometimes necessary to introduce certain obligations or procedures.

Customary days-off

The Code of Obligations stipulates that the employer must grant the employee the customary days off, for example in the event of the death of a relative or a wedding.

However, the Code of Obligations does not define the events that give rise to such leave, the duration of the leave or the entitlement to salary. It is useful to include a clause on this subject in the company regulations.

Mobbing/Sexual Harassment

Mobbing or sexual harassment can damage the health of the employee who is the victim.

The employer must include a clause in the company regulations prohibiting, as a matter of principle, any form of harassment at work. The employer must also provide for the procedure to be followed by the employee when he or she is a victim of harassment.

Drug and alcohol testing

Alcohol and drugs in the workplace can cause accidents and damage the company's economic interests and image. Employers who wish to conduct drug testing must include this in their company regulations or in a specific directive. In addition, strict conditions of validity must be observed.

Work attire

While most employees dress appropriately at work, some employees take the liberty of wearing extravagant, provocative or religious clothing or clothing that jeopardizes their safety.

Employers can and should, in certain situations, include a clause in their company regulations governing dress at work. Failure to do so may result in liability for workplace accidents or sexual harassment.

However, the employer must respect the freedom of expression and religion of his or her employees. A ban on wearing the veil or an overly detailed regulation that is not justified by the employer's overriding interests will be unlawful.

Accident prevention and health

The employer must take all necessary measures to prevent accidents in the workplace. In particular, he or she must issue safety rules concerning the use of machines within the company.

The employer must also take care of the health of his or her employees. In particular, the employer must lay down rules regarding smoking in the workplace.

Gifts from third parties and suppliers

Sometimes a customer or supplier of the company, who is particularly satisfied with the service of an employee, offers him or her a gift.

When an employee accepts or solicits gifts from a customer or supplier, this may constitute bribery or even corruption, as defined in the Criminal Code. It is in the employer's interest to establish clear rules.

Business travel

Some employees are required to travel within Switzerland or even abroad for their work. Should the employee be paid during the trip, during a business meal or during a weekend spent abroad without working?

Love at work

Around the coffee machine or during a meeting, the workplace is a place where lovers can meet.

The employer is tempted to regulate in detail the relationships between colleagues, in order to avoid tensions when the romantic relationship turns sour. However, there is a risk that the personalities of employees who are in a relationship may be harmed. The balance is sometimes difficult to find.

Social networks

Social networks are in principle part of the private life and freedom of expression of employees. The employer can regulate the use of social networks when it is likely to cause damage to the company. In particular, the employer may prohibit the employee from openly criticizing or psychologically harassing a colleague on social networks.

Medical certificate

If the employee is unable to work, the employer has a strong interest in knowing this as soon as possible. It is useful to regulate the employee's obligations with regard to incapacity for work and the medical certificate.

The employer must ensure that a procedure is in place to challenge the employee's medical certificate, particularly if the employee's behavior or circumstances give rise to doubts as to its validity.

Surveillance at work

The employer is sometimes tempted to install a surveillance system at work, in particular to combat theft, to check that the employee is doing his work properly or that he is not consulting private websites at work.

The information that may be collected is part of the employee's personal data. The employer can only set up a surveillance system if it follows a strict procedure, which should be set out in the company regulations or a specific directive.

Ancillary work

employees sometimes work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

This can be a delicate situation, especially when one of the employee's activities competes with that of the company, when it does not allow for the respect of the rest periods established by the Labor Law or when the employee is too tired to do his or her job properly. These are all aspects that should be regulated in advance.


The employer may decide to establish company holidays through the company regulations, under certain conditions.

Sometimes employees do not take all of their vacation time during the current year or do not make up for overtime. The diligent employer will need to provide rules so that they do not accumulate over the years.


Saving time and increasing productivity, working from home has many advantages. However, it raises many questions, particularly concerning the reimbursement of expenses or the protection of company data. These issues should be regulated in advance in a company regulation or a specific directive.

Loss of earnings insurance

The employer is obliged to pay the employee's salary during an incapacity to work for a limited period. Instead, the company regulations may provide for the conclusion of a loss of earnings insurance policy, which must have certain characteristics to be valid.

The employer must be particularly careful when drafting this clause. If it is not done correctly, the financial consequences can be severe.

Criminal offences

Theft in the workplace is a scourge that affects some companies. Money, but also files or toilet paper, everything goes. The recording of images or films by the employee in the workplace can constitute a criminal offence.

It is advisable for the employer to include a clause on this subject in the company regulations so that the employee is informed of his obligations and of the consequences if he commits a criminal offence. 

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon