The first WWZ decisions, first breach of the notice period

On May 13, 2015 two court decisions regarding the new Work and Security Act (WWZ) have been published. Both decisions involve the obligation of the employer to observe a one-month notice period, which applies as per 1 January 2015. The employer must inform the employee in writing not later than one month before the fixed term employment agreement terminates by operation of law whether the employment will be continued and, if so, under what terms and conditions. Employers who do not comply with this provision risk being held liable for up to one month’s salary.

The cantonal court divisions both ruled that, until 1 July 2015,  claims against the notice period must be submitted by means of a summons. As of 1 July 2015, the second tranche of the WWZ will become effective, due to which this procedure must be commenced by means of a request procedure, within two months after the termination of the employment contract.

In one decision the cantonal court decided that the employer did not comply with this provision and was held liable for one month’s salary since the employment contract was terminated on February 28, 2015 and the employee has not been informed in advance about the continuation or termination of the contract. In the other decision it was decided that the compensation was not owed since the employer was not required to give the employee advance notice since the employment contract terminated on 31 January 2015. In accordance with transitional law (article XXIId), the compensation is only due if the employment contract terminates on or after 1 February 2015.