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For a thorough understanding of labour law in Switzerland two characteristics of the Swiss political system must be mentioned: federalism and direct democracy. The division of powers between the federal state and the cantons, the latter of which have generally had the most influence with respect to labour law and other law areas until quite recently. This...
For a thorough understanding of labour law in Switzerland two characteristics of the Swiss political system must be mentioned: federalism and direct democracy. The division of powers between the federal state and the cantons, the latter of which have generally had the most influence with respect to labour law and other law areas until quite recently. This has resulted in situations in which the distribution of powers between the federal government and the cantonal governments was unclear. Fortunately this state of affairs has improved the last couple of years with the extension of federal powers in the sphere of labour law. Besides federalism the system of direct democracy has had a delaying influence on the development of labour law in Switzerland. Public opinion, generally not a very progressive force in Switzerland, is strongly influenced by pressure groups and citizens opposing popular reforms. As a result the popular vote has been an important delaying factor in the evolvement of new laws and regulations in the area of social and labour law. These two hindering factors should be kept in mind when reading Berenstein's Labour Law in Switzerland in which the past and current situation of labour law in Switzerland is described covering basic themes such as working time, incapacity to work, termination of contract, protection of young persons and women, collective bargaining, trade union freedom and the settlement of industrial disputes by arbitration or conciliation.
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