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Old 04.02.2011, 10:41
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Leaving notice etiquette

Hello everyone. Iíve been lurking on English Forum for a while, but I could not find an answer to my question so I have decided to join and ask for your help. Please be kind to me! I hope this question has not been asked that much before... I did search.

I am thinking of leaving my current job and would like to know how long a notice period I am obligated to give. Every year my temporary contract is renewed and the only thing it mentions about ending my job is that if they donít give me notice by the end of the contract then I have no job.

I have read in Swiss law that you are supposed to give 1 week notice if you are in your probationary period, 1 month notice if you work under a year at a place, 2 months notice if you have worked between 1-9 years at a job and after that it is 3 months for people over 9 years. My question is, if I am always on a new contract that beings at XX.XX.XXXX and goes for 12 months does it count that I have been at the position longer than one year or is my count reset? If itís a contract from date X to date Y, am I obligated to fill the whole term and would I face legal obligations if I decide to break the contract?

Thank you for any help. I donít really know of lawyers to contact here, especially without charging a big fee, so I would like to know if anyone on the forum knows the proper etiquette. If I find the right job, I would like to be able to accept a position without causing too much upset in my current place.
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Old 04.02.2011, 10:50
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

Welcome to the forum.

I don't know the legal position, but I think it would be correct to give notice based on the sum of your contracts, i.e. the total length of your employment with the company, rather than the terms for your current contract.

I would be extremely surprised if there were any obligations beyond the notice period.

It would also be worth checking your rights for paid leave. This may also be based on your total length of employment.
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Old 04.02.2011, 11:10
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

You have had several working contracts, and each one except the last one has expired. So unless your present contract refers to the earlier contracts, you still only have one active contract which needs to be cancelled with the appropriate notice or allowed to timely finish. This is the point of temporary contracts: a long notice period is not required and consequently you are paid a bit more money.
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Old 04.02.2011, 11:38
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

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You have had several working contracts, and each one except the last one has expired. So unless your present contract refers to the earlier contracts, you still only have one active contract which needs to be cancelled with the appropriate notice or allowed to timely finish. This is the point of temporary contracts: a long notice period is not required and consequently you are paid a bit more money.
Thanks for your response Ittigen. I seem to have missed out on the "better pay for a temporary contract". My current contract has always never referred to a previous contract. The only thing different is that they do not have probationary periods each time as the very first one did.

What is the "appropriate" notice period for a temporary contract then? I was hoping maybe it would be less than the 2 months of open contracts, because often times I see jobs and they would like someone to start working immediately.

I would not like to give a long notice period if it's not necessary.
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Old 28.02.2011, 17:52
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

Hello everyone. I am being told that I must fulfill the entire length of the employee agreement (a year) without any opportunity to give a notice period and change jobs.

My new contract just started, can they really make me stay a whole year? My contract refers to Swiss Code of Obligations Contract Law, articles 319-362. In these articles it states I must give 2 months notice. Nowhere in the articles (or my contract) does it state that I must absolutely fulfill the whole contract period.

Does anyone know some good legal places that could advise me? I will do a search on the forums, but I wanted to know if anyone has experience in ending short term contracts. Thank you.
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Old 28.02.2011, 18:04
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

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Hello everyone. I am being told that I must fulfill the entire length of the employee agreement (a year) without any opportunity to give a notice period and change jobs.

My new contract just started, can they really make me stay a whole year? My contract refers to Swiss Code of Obligations Contract Law, articles 319-362. In these articles it states I must give 2 months notice. Nowhere in the articles (or my contract) does it state that I must absolutely fulfill the whole contract period.

Does anyone know some good legal places that could advise me? I will do a search on the forums, but I wanted to know if anyone has experience in ending short term contracts. Thank you.
Then I think they are taking you for a ride. No-one can be forced to complete an employment contract if they have fulfilled the necessary notice obligations, as stated in the contract itself. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 28.02.2011, 18:41
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

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Then I think they are taking you for a ride. No-one can be forced to complete an employment contract if they have fulfilled the necessary notice obligations, as stated in the contract itself. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
What he said. As long as you meet the minimum notice period described in your contract (i.e. the two months referenced in the Swiss Code of Obligations) you do not need to work for the full year.

However, I would review Ittigen's point more closely; he may well have the right of it, as the increasing notice periods are probably only relevant for permanent contracts.
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Old 28.02.2011, 19:09
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

Temp contracts are different from full time contracts. They are for a specific period, without seeing the contract difficult to say more apart from as usual, it works both ways, for employee and employeur....
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Old 28.02.2011, 19:32
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

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Then I think they are taking you for a ride. No-one can be forced to complete an employment contract if they have fulfilled the necessary notice obligations, as stated in the contract itself. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Since you were asking....

Under Swiss law you can have fixed term employment contracts and you can have open-ended employment contracts. Only in open-ended employment contracts do you have termination notices.

Article in the Beobachter on fixed term employment contracts here.

If you walk out on a fixed term contract, your employer can hold you liable for damages.

This being said there are ways and means to get out of a fixed term contract, depending on the circumstances, but you'll need a lawyer to be on the safe side.
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Old 28.02.2011, 22:20
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

Thank you for those links Mica. They were very helpful.

My New contract says there is no probationary period, however I have turned my notice within the first month of starting the new contract hoping at a long shot that this would mean I could get out of it... but if they are sticking to fixed term contracts meaning the "whole period" then I'm screwed.

Kind of sucks because if I want to get out of this job I have to finish a contract and then hope I can line a new job up for the end date. It took me 6 months to find the job I want to switch to, so this would really be awful to be out of pay!

I am contacting a lawyer in the mean time. They are going to see if my employer is illegally chaining my contracts together as short term to avoid giving me normal rights of open contracts. I need to know how many contracts back to back is enough to protect my dimissal rights.
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Old 28.02.2011, 23:48
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

Are you working directly for a client or is there an agent involved?

Have you actually talked to the client about leaving? And if so what did the say?

Over the past 20 years I worked with lots of people on fixed length contracts and with out exception, anyone that wanted to leave went on one month notice.

Jim.
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Old 01.03.2011, 09:15
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

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Are you working directly for a client or is there an agent involved?

Have you actually talked to the client about leaving? And if so what did the say?

Over the past 20 years I worked with lots of people on fixed length contracts and with out exception, anyone that wanted to leave went on one month notice.

Jim.
Hi Jim. I am not working for a client. I am working for a Swiss company. Both times my contract neared the end date, they have always provided me a new almost identical contract within a month of the closing date. If they were to not do this, I would of course have very short (only a couple weeks) notice that I must find a new job. We work under the assumption that I am a full time employee with all the normal benefits of other employees. Until now...
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Old 01.03.2011, 09:37
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Re: Leaving notice etiquette

A series of repeated fixed term contracts is possible and legal. However, if the employer is "chaining" the contracts ("Kettenvertršge") with a view of depriving the employee of particular rights, then the employee can claim that he is in fact in an open-ended contract. Your lawyer will be able to inform you about the particulars.
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