Having a cleaner or gardener or nanny etc.

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Do not take this quick guide as a definitive reference. Always refer to official cantonal and/or federal information:


Having a cleaner or gardener or nanny etc.

This doesn't sound too difficult, does it? You find someone advertising their services (cleaning, ironing, washing whathaveyou) on the noticeboard in your local supermarket, you call them up, and you agree on times and fees. They come to your home for a couple of hours per week, do the job, and you pay them in cash, maybe SFr30/hour.

No, it's not difficult at all, but depending on the details, you may end up violating Swiss legislation. If you're found out, it could be costly.

There is always an employer

The key thing is – when someone is being paid to do some work, i.e. be an employee, there's always an employer somewhere. The employer is typically one of these:

  • an agency or a company
  • the employee him- or herself
  • you

An agency

Your cleaner works for a company or an agency that sends you regular invoices which you pay. One of the better known examples is probably www.putzfrau.ch.

It's perfectly straightforward, and you need not worry about anything.

The employee him- or herself

Virtually anyone can set up as an Einzelfirma/Entreprise Individuelle/Ditta Individuale (in English: a sole trader), and it is quite commonly done. Your cleaner will send you invoices clearly identifying the name of the company (which is supposed to include the name of the individual, as in “Per Jessen IT-support”, but this isn't always the case).

It is virtually the same as hiring someone from an agency - in this case the agency is just very small.


If none of the above apply, you are the employer.

Being an employer

When you are an employer, you have a few extra obligations:

  • you are required to have accident insurance covering your employee(s) whilst at work.
  • you are required to deduct and pay AHV/IV/EO/ALV (calculated as a percentage of salaries paid).
  • you are required to deduct and pay tax-at-source for employees with B- and L-permits.

Accident insurance

Virtually any regular insurance company will help you with this. See www.bag.admin.ch for a list of insurers.

The cost will depend on the salaries of your employees, although I don't know if there is a minimum. The insurance is typically paid annually in advance, and the end of the year you report how much you've actually paid out in salaries, and you are given a refund if necessary.

AHV etc.

The AHV/IV/EO/ALV contribution is a percentage of the salary, and it is shared 50/50 by you and the employee. To pay this contribution, you sign up with your local SVA organisation, e.g. www.svazurich.ch for Kanton Zürich.

You inform them how much you expect to pay in salaries, and they will send you quarterly bills. At the end of the year, you report exactly how much you have paid in salaries, and you are either given a refund or asked to pay the remainder.

The regular percentage is 10.1%, half of which you deduct from each salary payment.


This works in a way similar to the above, but as I have not personally gone through the motions, I'll leave this section for someone else to complete.

Being an employer as a private individual

If you are a private household/individual and you wish to have cleaner come to do your cleaning for e.g. a couple of hours per week, this may sound a little overwhelming.

However, provided you fulfil certain requirements, you have the option to use the so-called "Vereinfachtes Abrechnungsverfahren" (trans: Simplified Accounting Procedure).


  • maximum annual salary per employee = SFr19,890.00.
  • maximum total annual salaries paid = SFr53,040.00.

Vereinfachtes Abrechnungsverfahren

This is the simplified version of the procedures "regular" employers use to make the required deductions from salary. Instead of quarterly payments of AHV and tax-at-source, you pay annually. The AHV/EO/IV/ALV percentage is set at 12.1% and the tax-at-source at 5%.

Work permits

The people you employ or wish to employ are obviously required to have valid work permits. That you are willing to offer them a job does not automatically entitle them to a work-permit.

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