Apprenticeship contract

The apprenticeship contract must be signed before or at the latest at the beginning of a VET programme. It is a particular form of private law contract governed by Art. 344-346a of the Swiss Code of Obligations (CO, SR 220). This document governs the contractual relationships between the parties. The apprenticeship contract must be prepared in writing and approved by the cantonal authority.

The employer undertakes to train the apprentice in a given occupation or to ensure that a qualified person gives such training. At the same time, the learner undertakes to work for the employer.

The apprenticeship contract must at least stipulate the type and duration of apprenticeship training, the salary, the trial period, the working hours and the holidays. The same form is used throughout Switzerland. Numerous clauses of the apprenticeship contract are governed by compulsory public and private law provisions. The parties can therefore not freely modify such clauses. Claims concerning the performance of the apprenticeship contract are, where required, brought before civil courts (i.?e. employment tribunals) in numerous cantons.

The provisions concerning the apprenticeship contract also concern two-year VET programmes for the Federal VET Certificate. Transfers between two-year VET programmes and three- or four-year VET programmes are possible. Because such circumstances give rise to a new working relationship, a new apprenticeship contract must be signed.

If apprenticeship training is carried out successively in several companies, a contract must be signed for each portion of the apprenticeship. All the contracts must be signed at the start of the VET programme. As far as agriculture is concerned, the apprentices traditionally spend one portion of their apprenticeship in another linguistic region. The signing of several contracts is also possible in other branches.

The “apprenticeship contract” form is available in four national languages. It can be obtained online (at or in a printed version.

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