What Is Employee Representation?

The employee representation represents the interests of the employees vis-à-vis the management of a company.

The employee representation is an organ of co-determination within the company.

Employee representation is typically used in:

  • Internal salary negotiations
  • Mass redundancy and consultation procedures
  • The drafting of internal regulations
  • Conflicts in the workplace

Conditions for the Existence of Employee Representation

Employee representation bodies are elected on the basis of the Law on Employee Participation. The following conditions apply to the existence of employee representation:

  • Employee representation can be established in companies with at least 50 employees.
  • It must be set up for the first time in companies if at least one fifth of the employees request it. In companies with more than 500 employees, if at least 100 employees so request.

Procedure for Electing an Employee Representative Body

  • Employees shall elect their representatives by a free ballot, unless one-fifth of them request a secret ballot.
  • The employer and the employees shall determine the representation according to the size and structure of the enterprise, but it must consist of at least 3 persons.


  • The employee representation shall represent all common interests of the employees vis-à-vis the employer and inform the employees regularly.


  • The employee representatives are entitled to timely and comprehensive information from the employer.
  • It has consultation, co-determination and co-decision rights.
  • The rights may vary depending on the collective employment agreement. The Law on Employee Participation regulates the minimum rights.

Affiliation with an Employee Organization

Employee representatives can be members of an employee organization such as Employees Switzerland and run for office as their candidate. However, they can also be completely independent.


Hansjörg Schmid

Hansjörg Schmid