Daily rest

Protection of the personality

A lack of sleep or rest can have serious consequences in the workplace. A tired employee is more likely to cause accidents or to perform his work poorly, which can lead to accident risks as well as damage to the company's image.

For this reason, the Labor Act imposes a minimum daily rest period between two working days for employees. The employer, because of his duty to protect the health of his employees, must ensure that his employees benefit from these rest periods.

While this obligation poses few problems when the employee has a fixed work schedule, it may be more difficult in certain specific situations.


When there is extra work, companies often require employees to work overtime at the end of the day. The employer must be vigilant. They are still required to respect the daily rest period of their employees.

In addition, certain employees whose health is more fragile, such as pregnant women or young workers, benefit from special protection.

Business travel

Many employees are required to travel within Switzerland and even abroad in the course of their duties. These business trips raise many questions, particularly with regard to working hours.

For example, an employee may have to take a transatlantic flight, attend a business meal in the evening and then return to work at 8:00 a.m. the next day. The question of whether travel time or time spent at a business meal constitutes working time is of particular importance because the employer is still obliged to respect the employee's minimum daily rest period.

Flexible working hours

Many companies have opted for more or less flexible working hours. The employee can, outside the hours when he must be in the company, manage his schedule independently. While this flexibility is often welcomed by employees, it is not without risks. The employer must ensure that the employee has sufficient rest and, in particular, that he or she does not work at all hours of the day and night.

Out of office hours

Thanks to new technologies, it is increasingly easy to work outside the office, via a laptop or smartphone.

Some employees, particularly zealous or put under pressure by their employer, consult their e-mails or work on files outside office hours in the evening or even on weekends, with the consequence of reduced rest time. The employer may be held liable in such a situation.


Telecommuting is popular with employees who often avoid traffic jams and overcrowded public transportation. However, it is not easy to set up.

In particular, the employer must ensure that employees respect daily rest periods. The situation of an employee who takes advantage of telecommuting to look after his children and then makes up for lost time until 2 a.m. is unacceptable.

Shift work

Shift work occurs when several groups of employees take turns at the same work stations according to a set schedule. In three-shift work, employees are divided into day, evening and night shifts. In principle, each employee participates in each of these shifts on a rotating basis.

This type of organization is particularly restrictive for the employee. The latter benefits from specific rest periods.

Secondary activity

For economic reasons, it has become essential for some employees to hold several jobs. The law does not prohibit the exercise of a secondary activity. However, it is important to be vigilant. The legal daily rest period will not always be respected, in particular if the employee works for his second job in the evening or at night. 

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon