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Discover everything you need to know about Liechtenstein

Hire in Liechtenstein at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Liechtenstein

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42.5 hours/week

Overview in Liechtenstein

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Liechtenstein, a small, landlocked country in Western Europe, is bordered by Switzerland and Austria. It is the sixth-smallest nation globally, with a mountainous terrain and a population of about 39,900. Historically, it became a sovereign state in 1806 and has maintained neutrality in global conflicts, including the World Wars. Economically, Liechtenstein is one of the wealthiest countries, with a strong financial sector, precision manufacturing, and tourism contributing significantly to its GDP. The country operates as a constitutional monarchy with a unicameral parliament.

The population is primarily Alemannic, but about two-thirds are foreign nationals, creating a diverse and multilingual workforce. The economy benefits from a highly skilled workforce, with a focus on education and vocational training. Key economic sectors include services, particularly financial services, and high-value manufacturing industries like pharmaceuticals and electronics. Liechtenstein also emphasizes work-life balance, with a culture that values leisure and family time.

Communication styles in Liechtenstein are direct, and workplace hierarchies tend to be flatter, with a high respect for qualifications and expertise. The country is influenced by German-speaking cultures, particularly Swiss and Austrian norms. Liechtenstein is also investing in innovation and technology, renewable energy, and healthcare, aiming to diversify and strengthen its economic landscape further.

Taxes in Liechtenstein

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  • Employer Contributions: Employers in Liechtenstein are required to contribute to several social security funds, including:

    • Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (AHV/IV/FAK): 4.9% of an employee's gross salary.
    • Family Compensation Fund (FAK): 1.9% of gross salary.
    • Unemployment Insurance (ALV): 0.5% of gross salary.
    • Occupational Accident Insurance: Approximately 0.1% of gross salary, fully borne by the employer.
  • Occupational Pension Scheme (2nd Pillar): Employers must contribute to this scheme, with rates varying by the chosen pension plan.

  • Employee Contributions: Employees also contribute to the AHV/IV/FAK (4.7% of gross salary) and ALV (0.5%).

  • VAT Details:

    • Standard Rate: 7.7%.
    • Reduced Rates: 3.7% for hotel services and 2.5% for necessities like food and medicine.
    • Exemptions: Healthcare, education, financial and insurance services, cultural services, and social care are exempt.
    • Registration and Compliance: Businesses exceeding a turnover threshold must register for VAT, charge it on sales, file returns, and remit VAT to tax authorities.
  • Corporate Taxation:

    • Rate: 12.5% with a minimum of CHF 1,800 annually.
    • Dividend and Capital Gains Exemptions: Generally exempt, beneficial for holding companies.
    • Notional Interest Deduction (NID): Deduction on adjusted equity (about 4%).
    • Tax Incentives for Innovation: Reduced taxation on income from qualifying IP assets.
    • Private Asset Structures (PAS): Offer income tax exemption under certain conditions.
    • Double Taxation Treaties: Help prevent double taxation and may reduce withholding taxes on dividends, interest, and royalties.
  • Additional Considerations: Businesses may face cantonal and communal taxes and should seek professional tax advice for optimal structuring in Liechtenstein.

Leave in Liechtenstein

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  • Annual Leave: In Liechtenstein, employees working a 5-day week are entitled to a minimum of 20 working days of paid annual leave, increasing to 24 days for those on a 6-day week. Employees under 20 years old receive 25 working days. Leave accrues monthly and can usually be carried over to the following year until March 31st.

  • Youth and Disabled Workers: Additional vacation days are provided for employees under 20 and those with disabilities, as specified in relevant agreements.

  • Scheduling Leave: Employees can request specific vacation dates, but employers have the right to deny requests based on operational needs. The country also observes various religious and secular public holidays.

  • Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to up to 720 days of paid sick leave within a 900-day period, receiving at least 80% of their salary.

  • Maternity and Paternity Leave: Women receive 20 weeks of paid maternity leave, with 16 weeks post-childbirth, paid at 80% of their salary. Fathers are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave within six months of a child's birth.

  • Parental and Caregiver Leave: Unpaid parental leave is commonly available, and employees are entitled to three days of paid leave annually to care for sick family members.

  • Public Holidays: Liechtenstein celebrates a mix of Christian and national holidays, including New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, National Day on August 15th, and Christmas Day among others.

  • Employment Contracts: Individual contracts or collective agreements may offer more generous leave benefits than the statutory minimums.

Benefits in Liechtenstein

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Liechtenstein provides a comprehensive range of mandatory employee benefits, including a robust social security system that supports workers in various life situations such as old age, disability, maternity, and unemployment. The social security system is funded by mandatory contributions from both employers and employees, with specific benefits provided through the Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHV) and a mandatory occupational pension scheme for higher earners.

Employees in Liechtenstein are entitled to several forms of paid leave, including a minimum of four weeks of annual leave, paid public holidays, 20 weeks of maternity leave with substantial wage compensation, and sickness benefits.

Additionally, there is no mandated minimum wage, but employers often offer extra salary benefits like performance bonuses, relocation allowances, and meal vouchers. Flexible work arrangements and family-friendly benefits are also common, enhancing work-life balance and supporting those with childcare or eldercare responsibilities.

Health insurance is compulsory for all residents, with costs typically shared between employers and employees. The healthcare system covers a wide range of medical services, though some out-of-pocket costs may apply.

The retirement system in Liechtenstein includes the state pension (AHV) and the occupational pension scheme (BVG), both of which require contributions from employees and employers. The retirement age is set at 64, with options for early or deferred retirement. Additional private pension contributions are also possible for further financial security in retirement.

Workers Rights in Liechtenstein

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  • Employment Termination: In Liechtenstein, employment can be lawfully terminated for economic reasons (like restructuring or financial difficulties), disciplinary reasons (such as serious misconduct or repeated minor misconduct), or due to an employee's inability to perform their job (owing to prolonged illness, disability, or lack of necessary skills).

  • Notice Requirements: The notice period for termination varies with the length of service: 1 month during the first year, 2 months from the second to the ninth year, and 3 months from the tenth year onwards. These periods can be altered by collective bargaining agreements or individual contracts.

  • Severance Pay: Generally, severance pay is not mandatory unless the dismissal is through no fault of the employee, with courts potentially awarding severance based on factors like employment duration and age. Some collective agreements and contracts might stipulate severance pay.

  • Discrimination Laws: The Gender Equality Act prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, focusing on equal pay and working conditions. However, there are no specific laws against discrimination based on race, disability, age, or religion, although constitutional protections for human dignity and equality exist.

  • Redress Mechanisms: Gender-based discrimination complaints can be filed with the Office for Gender Equality or the Commission for Equal Treatment between Women and Men. Other forms of discrimination might be addressed through broader constitutional rights.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers must ensure a discrimination-free workplace, uphold equal treatment, and establish procedures to handle discrimination complaints. They are also responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, adhering to regulations on working hours, rest periods, and occupational safety.

  • Health and Safety Regulations: The Occupational Safety and Health Act outlines employer obligations to provide a safe workplace, conduct risk assessments, supply necessary personal protective equipment, and offer relevant training and information to employees.

  • Employee Rights: Employees are entitled to a safe work environment, can refuse unsafe work, and have the right to be informed about workplace hazards and safety measures.

  • Enforcement and Resources: The Occupational Safety Unit within the Office of Economic Affairs is the primary enforcement body for health and safety regulations. For more detailed information, resources like the International Labour Organization or updates from local news can be consulted.

Agreements in Liechtenstein

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In Liechtenstein, employment law includes individual and collective employment agreements, with the possibility of additional influence from collective agreements.

Individual Employment Agreements:

  • These agreements between an employer and an employee can be oral or written, though written is recommended.
  • They detail employment terms such as personal details, job title, type of employment, working hours, workplace, wages, termination terms, and leave entitlements.
  • Contracts can be fixed-term or indefinite, with indefinite being more common after a successful probationary period.

Collective Employment Agreements (Gesamtarbeitsverträge):

  • These set industry-wide employment standards and are negotiated between employer associations and employee unions.
  • They cover aspects like working hours, minimum wage, and holiday entitlements, and can be made binding for all industry employers and employees by the government.

Key Clauses in Employment Contracts:

  • Basic employment details, work and compensation, leave and entitlements, and termination conditions should be clearly defined.
  • Additional clauses may include confidentiality and non-compete clauses, which protect the employer's business interests but must be reasonable in scope and duration.

Probation Periods:

  • Typically one month, extendable to three months, with a shorter notice period for termination.
  • Employers should set clear objectives and provide feedback, while employees should ensure they understand performance expectations.

Confidentiality and Non-Compete Clauses:

  • Confidentiality clauses protect business-sensitive information and are enforceable if they are reasonable and clearly defined.
  • Non-compete clauses are scrutinized for reasonableness and typically cannot exceed one year or extend beyond necessary geographical limits.

Employers are advised to consult legal counsel when drafting clauses that could restrict an employee's future employment opportunities.

Remote Work in Liechtenstein

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Liechtenstein has not established specific legislation for remote work, but relies on existing labor laws and agreements between employers and employees to manage such arrangements. The Employment Act (Arbeitsgesetz - ArG) is central, emphasizing safe and ergonomic working conditions at home and mandating employer responsibility for accident insurance. Clear agreements are crucial for outlining remote work specifics like eligibility, schedules, and data security.

The country benefits from a robust telecommunications infrastructure, supporting effective remote work. Employers are tasked with ensuring data security, work-life balance, and maintaining communication. Cross-border remote work may involve tax and social security implications.

Flexible work options like part-time work, flexitime, and job sharing are supported under the Act on the Protection of Workers' Rights, though not mandated. Employers may offer equipment and cover expenses on a discretionary basis.

Under GDPR, employers must protect employee data, ensuring lawful processing, transparency, and implementing security measures. Employees have rights to access, rectify, or erase their data. Best practices for data security include using secure communication tools, implementing remote access controls, encrypting data, providing employee training on cybersecurity, and having an incident response plan.

Working Hours in Liechtenstein

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  • Workweek Limits: In Liechtenstein, the standard workweek is capped at 45 hours for most employees, but can extend to 48 hours for certain categories, averaged over specific periods.
  • Youth Work Limits: Employees aged 15 to 18 are restricted to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
  • Daily Work Hours: Work is generally restricted between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM, with possible extensions from 5:00 AM to midnight under certain conditions.
  • Overtime Regulations: Overtime is permissible under specific circumstances such as urgent work or extraordinary workload, with a cap of two extra hours per day, and must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week over four months.
  • Overtime Compensation: Employers must compensate for overtime at a minimum of 25% above the regular pay, or offer compensatory time off, with restrictions on total overtime hours.
  • Rest Periods and Breaks: Employees must receive a minimum of 11 consecutive hours of rest daily, with mandated breaks ranging from 15 minutes to one hour based on the length of the workday.
  • Weekly Rest Day: A weekly rest day, typically Sunday, is mandated to ensure a work-life balance.
  • Night and Weekend Work: Strict regulations limit night work to essential cases with stringent hourly caps, while weekend work is generally reserved for exceptional circumstances, both subject to specific approvals and conditions.

Salary in Liechtenstein

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Understanding market competitive salaries in Liechtenstein is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. The country's strong economy is reflected in its salary ranges, typically between CHF 3,016 and CHF 9,235 per month, though actual salaries can vary based on job title, industry, experience, qualifications, company size, location, and language skills.

Key factors influencing salaries include:

  • Job Title and Industry: Higher salaries in sectors like finance, healthcare, and engineering.
  • Experience and Qualifications: More experienced and qualified individuals earn higher wages.
  • Company Size and Location: Larger and multinational companies tend to offer higher salaries.
  • Foreign Language Skills: Fluency in German is highly valued.

Liechtenstein does not have a statutory minimum wage; instead, wages are often determined through Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or individual negotiations. CBAs play a crucial role in setting industry-specific minimum wages and other employment conditions.

Employers in Liechtenstein also offer various bonuses and allowances, including performance-based bonuses, year-end bonuses, profit-sharing schemes, and allowances for relocation, housing, transportation, meals, and family support.

For a comprehensive understanding of competitive salaries, resources like salary surveys and platforms detailing compensation by job category and industry are recommended. Employers should aim to establish competitive compensation packages to maintain a motivated and dedicated workforce in Liechtenstein's dynamic job market.

Termination in Liechtenstein

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In Liechtenstein, the law mandates specific minimum notice periods for terminating indefinite employment contracts based on the employee's length of service. During the probationary period, a seven-day notice is required. Post-probation, the notice period extends to one month for the first year of service, two months from the second to the ninth year, and three months from the tenth year onwards. These periods can be extended via employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements but not reduced.

There is no legal requirement for severance pay unless specified in employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements. Termination can be ordinary, without notice for "good cause," or by mutual agreement. Written notice is necessary for termination, and employees enjoy protection against dismissal during illness, accidents, pregnancy, military service, and other legally protected periods. Employers are advised to consult legal experts to ensure compliance with all regulations when terminating an employee.

Freelancing in Liechtenstein

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In Liechtenstein, distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is essential due to legal and financial implications. Employees are under direct employer control and integrated into the company, receiving benefits and protections like minimum wage and social security contributions. Independent contractors, however, operate with more autonomy, are not integrated into the company's structure, and handle their own tools and benefits.

Misclassification of workers can lead to legal issues and financial penalties. For independent contractors, having a well-defined contract is crucial, covering aspects like scope of work, payment terms, and confidentiality. Contracts should be in German to ensure legal validity.

Negotiation practices for contractors include researching market rates, defining scope and deliverables clearly, and maintaining professionalism. Key industries for independent contractors in Liechtenstein include IT, financial services, engineering, and marketing.

Freelancers must also manage their intellectual property rights, ensuring contracts specify IP ownership, and might consider registering copyrights for additional protection. Understanding tax obligations and exploring insurance options, such as health and liability insurance, are also vital for freelancers in Liechtenstein.

Health & Safety in Liechtenstein

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Overview of Employee Health and Safety Laws in Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein's employee health and safety regulations are governed by three main laws: the Labor Law, the Employment Act, and the Act on Equal Treatment. These laws cover everything from safe working conditions and anti-discrimination measures to specific industry regulations and employee training requirements.

Employer Obligations

Employers are required to conduct risk assessments, provide safety equipment, maintain safe working environments, and involve employees in safety planning. They must also keep records of work-related injuries and ensure some employees are trained in first aid.

Employee Rights and Responsibilities

Employees have the right to refuse unsafe work, be informed about workplace hazards, and must cooperate with safety measures. They are also expected to report any accidents or unsafe conditions immediately.

Specific Regulations and Enforcement

Liechtenstein has detailed regulations for specific hazards and industries, such as construction and chemical handling. The Office of Economic Affairs oversees compliance, conducting inspections and imposing fines or sanctions for non-compliance.

Workplace Design and Safety Equipment

Guidelines are provided for workplace design to ensure ergonomic and safe environments. Employers must provide personal protective equipment and ensure machinery and buildings meet safety standards.

Training and Industry-Specific Regulations

Employers are responsible for providing safety training and ensuring employees are informed about workplace risks. Specific industries, like construction and healthcare, have additional safety regulations.

Employee Involvement and Monitoring

Larger companies may need to establish health and safety committees. The Office of Economic Affairs uses inspections to monitor compliance, with the frequency of inspections based on risk assessments.

Inspections can lead to improvement notices, fines, or even prosecution for severe violations. Employers must cooperate with inspectors and are legally required to report serious accidents.

Compensation and Accident Investigation

Liechtenstein mandates occupational accident insurance, which covers injuries and illnesses. Employers must investigate accidents to identify causes and prevent future incidents, with oversight from the Office of Economic Affairs.


Liechtenstein's comprehensive approach to workplace health and safety includes stringent employer obligations, employee rights, specific industry regulations, and robust enforcement mechanisms to ensure a safe working environment.

Dispute Resolution in Liechtenstein

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Labor courts and arbitration panels are essential in resolving labor disputes in Liechtenstein, with the Employment Court being the primary body for adjudicating individual labor disputes. This court, part of the Court of First Instance, handles cases related to employment contracts, wage disputes, discrimination, and more, with the possibility of appealing decisions to higher courts. Arbitration is less common and used mainly when agreed upon by parties, often in collective bargaining contexts.

The Employment Court process starts with a lawsuit and often attempts mediation before moving to a formal hearing if necessary. Arbitration involves a similar process but is generally less formal and results in a binding decision by the arbitrators.

Labor inspections are crucial for enforcing labor laws, conducted by the Office of Economic Affairs and other regulatory bodies, focusing on compliance with working hours, health and safety regulations, and other labor standards. Inspections can be scheduled, complaint-triggered, targeted, or follow-up, with penalties for non-compliance ranging from warnings to criminal liability.

Whistleblower protections in Liechtenstein are limited, with some safeguards against retaliation but no comprehensive law specifically for whistleblower protection. Enhancements could include a dedicated law, secure reporting mechanisms, and increased public awareness.

Liechtenstein has ratified several key ILO conventions, impacting its domestic legislation on forced labor, child labor, discrimination, and collective bargaining. However, challenges remain in fully complying with international labor standards, with ongoing efforts to improve legislative alignment and enforcement.

Cultural Considerations in Liechtenstein

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Liechtenstein's workplace communication is formal and indirect, reflecting its cultural values and business practices. Key aspects include:

  • Indirectness: Communication is often subtle, using body language, tone, and context to convey messages. Direct criticism is avoided to maintain harmony and decisions are reached through consensus.

  • Formality: Formal titles are used consistently, meetings are structured with clear agendas, and presentations are expected to be professional. Written documentation is common to avoid misunderstandings.

  • Non-Verbal Cues: Eye contact, firm handshakes, and proper posture are important. Subtle facial expressions and silence are also significant in conveying messages.

  • Cultural Influences: High scores on Hofstede's Context dimension indicate a reliance on shared cultural understanding and indirect communication. Formality and hierarchy are emphasized, aligning with broader Germanic practices.

  • Effective Communication Strategies: Patience is crucial, as is thorough preparation for meetings. Understanding and respecting hierarchy and being attentive to non-verbal cues are important for successful communication.

In negotiations, Liechtensteiners prefer a win-win approach, value thorough preparation, and emphasize building long-term relationships. Decision-making often involves higher management with a preference for consensus within teams, reflecting a hierarchical yet collaborative approach. Leadership tends to be directive, with a focus on competence and sometimes paternalistic traits.

Understanding local holidays and observances is also crucial for businesses to plan and minimize disruptions. Major holidays like New Year's Day, National Day, and Christmas see widespread business closures, while other observances might lead to reduced hours.

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