Holidays in Switzerland and Geneva in 2024

Holidays in Switzerland in 2024 vary considerably by canton, although some holidays are celebrated nationally or regionally. Here is an overview of the most common holidays and their cantonal distribution for 2024:

- January 1st (New Year's Day): All cantons.

- January 2nd (Berchtold Day): AG, BE, FR, GL, JU, LU, OW, SH, TG, VD.

- January 6th (Epiphany): GR, LU, SZ, TI, UR.

- March 1st (Republic Day): NE.

- March 19th (Saint Joseph's Day): GR, LU, NW, SZ, TI, UR, VS.

- March 29th (Good Friday): All except TI, VS.

- April 1st (Easter Monday): All except NE, SO, VS, ZG.

- May 1st (Labour Day): BL, BS, JU, LU, NE, SH, SO, TG, TI, ZH.

- May 9th (Ascension Day): All.

- May 20th (Whit Monday): All except NE, SO, VS, ZG.

- May 30th (Corpus Christi): All except AR, BL, BS, BE, GE, GL, NE, SH,SG, TG, VD, ZH.

- August 1st (Swiss National Day): All.

- August 15th (Assumption Day): AG, AI, FR, JU, LU, NW, OW, SO, SZ, TI,UR, VS, ZG.

- September 5th (Geneva Fast): GE.

- September 16th (Federal Fast Day): VD.

- September 22nd (Saint Maurice's Day): AI.

- September 25th (Saint Nicholas of Flüe Day): OW.

- November 1st (All Saints' Day): All except AR, BL, BS, BE, GE, GR, NE,SH, TG, VD, ZH.

- December 8th (Immaculate Conception): AG, AI, FR, GR, LU, NW, OW, SZ,TI, UR, VS, ZG.

- December 24th (Christmas Eve): GL.

- December 25th (Christmas Day): All.

- December 26th (Saint Stephen's Day): All except GE, JU, NE, SO, VS,VD, ZG.

- December 31st (New Year's Eve, Restoration of the Republic): GL, GE.


These holidays demonstrate a variety in Swiss celebrations and traditions, reflecting the cultural specifics of each canton.

Holidays in Geneva in 2024

 1. New Year (January 1st, 2024).

2. Good Friday (March 20th, 2024).

3. Easter Monday (April 1st, 2024).

4. Ascension Day (May 14th, 2024).

5. Whit Monday (May 20th, 2024).

6. Swiss National Day (August 1st).

7. Geneva Fast (September 5th, 2024).

8. Christmas (December 25th, 2024).

9. Restoration of the Republic (December 31st, 2024).

Certain celebrations, such as Federal Fast Day, and specific local events like Sechseläuten in Zurich or the Escalade Festival in Geneva, are highly characteristic and highlight Switzerland's cultural and regional diversity.

Sechseläuten in Zurich: Sechseläuten, which literally means "the end of the six hours," originates from medieval rules regulating working hours in Zurich. Historically, as winter ended, working hours were extended with the daylight ending around 6:00 PM, marking the transition to brighter, warmer months. This festival is celebrated with guild parades and the burning of the Böögg, a symbolic snowman whose swift burning is believed to predict summer weather.

Escalade Festival in Geneva: The Escalade Festival commemorates Geneva's victory over the troops of Duke Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy in 1602. According to legend, Mère Royaume helped repel the invaders by pouring a cauldron of hot soup over soldiers attempting to scale the city walls. Each year, Geneva's residents celebrate this event by parading in period costumes, singing traditional songs, and smashing chocolates shaped like cauldrons.

Due to Switzerland's federal structure, it is recommended to checks pecific cantonal holidays for effective planning, as even within the same country, holidays can vary considerably.


Legal Framework of Holidays and Employment Relations in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the legal framework regarding holidays and employment relations is largely determined by cantonal regulations. All Swiss cantons recognize August 1st as a national holiday, but each canton may declare additional holidays—up to nine per year, as stipulated by labor law. Holidays are generally treated like Sundays, meaning work is not allowed unless special legal permission is obtained.

Employment laws also stipulate that all employees are entitled to at least four weeks of vacation per year, with this entitlement increasing to five weeks for employees under 20 years old. Employers may offer more vacation time based on collective agreements or individual contracts.

In the realm of special leave, Swiss labor law provides for various scenarios, including personal events (such as doctor appointments or family deaths), public duties, or significant life events (such as marriage or moving), where employers must grant leave, usually without loss of pay. The exact duration and conditions may vary depending on employer policies and the specific employment contract.

For maternity and paternity leave, women are entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave at 80%, covered by federal loss of earnings insurance. Men receive two weeks of paternity leave, also paid at 80%. These provisions reflect Switzerland's approach to supporting families around the birth or adoption of a child.

Finally, any changes regarding holidays or leave conditions are strictly regulated and must adhere to both federal and cantonal laws, ensuring that employee rights are uniformly respected across different regions and sectors.For more detailed information, entrepreneurs and SMEs can seek assistance from RISTER, a fiduciary firm based in Geneva, which plays a crucial role for Swiss entrepreneurs and cross-border entrepreneurs navigating the complexities ofSwiss employment contracts. Here's how RISTER can assist its clients:

1. Interpretation of Swiss laws: RISTER helps you understand the various legal obligations arising from Swiss employment laws, which is essential for employers wishing to comply with Swiss labor standards.

2. Compliance with minimum salary / wages: Switzerland does not have a national minimum wage, but some cantons have instituted their own minimum wages, and many industries are governed by collective labor agreements(CLAs) that define minimum wages. RISTER assists companies in applying these cantonal regulations and CLAs to ensure that wages paid comply with legal requirements.

3. Management of employment contracts: We provide assistance in draft in employment contracts that meet all Swiss legal requirements, including clauses on working hours, leave, social insurance, and other important provisions.

4. Advice on CLAs: CLAs are common in many sectors in Switzerland and can complicate workforce management. RISTER can advise businesses establishing in Switzerland on the application of these agreements, which is crucial for companies operating in sectors regulated by CLAs.

5. Support for cross-border entrepreneurs: Cross-border entrepreneurs face unique challenges, especially regarding taxation and social security. RISTER helps these entrepreneurs understand their rights and obligations, particularly those who work in one canton but live in France, Spain, or other countries in Europe.

6. Regular consultations and updates: As laws and regulations can evolve, RISTER offers regular consultations to help businesses stay up-to-date with the latest legislative and regulatory changes.

For businesses and SMEs seeking to understand the nuances of Swiss labor law and ensure compliance with local laws, services like those offered by RISTER are essential. They not only help avoid potential disputes but also ensure effective personnel management that complies with the law.

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