Standard employment contract (SEC)

Despite their name, “standard employment contracts” (SECs) are not contracts. A standard employment contract is a set of rules, enacted by the State at federal or cantonal level, which govern the form of employment, working conditions for young people and the termination of employment within a given occupation.

By establishing SECs, the State intends to ensure minimum working conditions for all workers who are not subject to the Employment Act (EmpA, SR 822.11) or who, for a variety of reasons, do not have the possibility of organising themselves and signing collective employment agreements (CEAs).

The provisions of an SEC immediately come into force for all working relationships even if the contracting parties had no knowledge of the SEC when the contract was signed. Contracting parties are not prohibited from departing from the provisions of the SEC in their contract provided the said departure is mentioned in writing and does not run counter to applicable legislation.

If the scope of application of an SEC extends beyond a single canton, the Federal Council is competent to enact it; otherwise the canton itself is competent to enact it. Cantons are required to enact specific SECs for agricultural workers and domestic services.

Learners enrolled in a VET programme in agriculture are subject to the SEC of their canton.