A collective redundancy occurs when the employer dismisses more than ten employees within 30 days, if the employer employs fewer than 100 but more than 20 employees. If it employs at least 100 but fewer than 300 employees, termination of at least 10% of the workforce is considered a collective redundancy. If the employer employs at least 300 employees, then termination of 30 employees is considered a collective redundancy. At least one month prior to commencement of collective redundancies, the employer must negotiate measures to avoid or limit collective redundancies, and measures designed to mitigate the unfavorable consequences of collective redundancies with employee representatives. If there are no employee representatives, the employer must negotiate directly with the employees.
The employer must provide employee representatives, or employees directly, with all the information necessary to facilitate these negotiations in writing. A transcript of the written information must also be provided to the respective Office of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family. Following the negotiations, the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family, as well as the employee representatives, or directly employees, must be provided with written information on the results of the negotiations.
The statutory provisions regarding mass dismissals apply where the employer – within a time period of 30 days – gives notice for reasons unrelated to any particular employee and affecting:
- at least ten employees at a business normally employing between 21 and 99 employees; or
- at least 10% of the employees at a business normally employing between 100 and 300 employees; or
- at least 30 employees at a business normally employing more than 300 employees.
The provisions governing mass redundancies do not apply in the event that business operations have ceased by court order or mass redundancies have occurred due to bankruptcy or a composition agreement with assignment of assets.
Prior to giving notice, the employer must consult the employee’s representative body or the employees, and at the same time notify the cantonal labour office in writing of the planned mass dismissal. these bodies have consultation rights only. Neither the employees nor the cantonal office are able to block a mass dismissal.
The employer is obliged to enter into social-plan negotiations if it (i) usually employs at least 250 employees and (ii) intends to terminate at least 30 employees within 30 days for reasons that are unrelated to an individual employee. Notices given over a longer period but based on the same operational decision must be added together.
The employer negotiates:
- with the employee associations that are party to the collective employment contract if a party to this collective employment contract;
- with the organisation representing the employees; or
- directly with the employees if they have no representive organisation.
An arbitral tribunal will establish a social plan by way of an arbitral award if such negotiations fail.