The last few weeks have been very busy. On the one hand, I was able to conduct the newly introduced seminars on employee share schemes and withholding tax, teach at training institutes and complete a large project in payroll consulting and, in addition to many individual questions, provide support to some companies in the area of mobile working, home office and workation regulations.
Which topics have been published and are relevant for companies in Payroll /HR?
Changes in the payroll software:
Swissdec has published a Swiss Wage Standard (ELM) 5.1 in relation to the AHV21 (OASI21) with effect from 1.1.2024 (available in German, French and Italian):
The software companies must now include this in their payroll programme. An update before the end of the year is therefore already certain.
On the topic of ELM: The standard does not stand still. Swissdec has published an overview (available in German, French and Italian) https://www.swissdec.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/Produktionsuebersicht_d.jpg
There are not yet many payroll programs ELM 5.0 certified but still ELM 4.0. Many certificates would expire soon. A small note in the footnote indicates that the certificate has been extended by 2 to 5 years.
Nevertheless: Based on a recent experience with a software (certification level 4.0), the functionalities QST21(tax at source revision 2021) were built in, but not user-friendly and with errors in special cases e.g. extrapolation above 100%.
My recommendation: Test the withholding tax functionalities in your software extensively*.
Need for action Telework agreement with France in the area of withholding taxes
The Swissdec standard ELM will probably have to be expanded in the near future to include a planned annual report for the new provisions on teleworking with France, in order to avoid information on paper as far as possible. This was discussed in March 2023 in an ad hoc group under the invitation of the FTA, in which I was allowed to participate and give input. But for the time being, some open questions still need to be clarified. I will report on this when the opportunity arises and, depending on the outcome, hold a short webinar (in German).
My input to all companies that allow teleworking for their cross-border workers and international weekly commuters from France since January 2023: It is up to the companies to prove that the key data are respected. According to various exchanges, some companies have not even started to think about how they will collect the necessary information. From my point of view, the easiest way is to record the necessary information in the time recording.
Depending on the canton, these are:
- Exact recording of the hours where one has physically worked in order to record the up to 40% for one year –> addition of the country (this is also recommended for the control regarding social security subordination)
- Addition of whether it is telework or not –> Yes/No field (it is only telework if it takes place in France and it is work that is normally carried out in the office, i.e. no customer visits, sales activity etc. with customers or work in the sense of personnel leasing)
- Adding travel days outside Switzerland to count the 10 days that must not be exceeded in order to benefit from the telework regulations
- Counting of work-related non-return days (maximum 45 days) in order to know when the full withholding tax rate must be applied when applying the cross-border commuter agreement in the cantons BE, BL, BS, JU, NE, SO, VD, VS
- Recording of the days worked abroad to be left (mainly worked abroad is a day that counts) if the telework provisions with France cannot be applied
Adjustments to the BVG (occupational benefit scheme)
The reform of the occupational benefit scheme (BVG) has been approved in the spring session of 2023. It must be assumed that the referendum will be submitted. The topic is being dealt with by many different institutions. I will deal with the possible impact on Payroll when it is clear when and if this reform will come into force.
The fact that the AHV21 (OASI) already provides for adjustments in the BVG is not on the radar of all companies. In the consultation on the amendment of the AHV ordinance, the other ordinances are attached. Among them is also the proposal for the BVG section: (not available in English) https://www.newsd.admin.ch/newsd/message/attachments/74327.pdf
As a result, there is a need for adjustments in the pension fund regulations and possibly also in the staff regulations. The year 2023 is fast approaching. The recommendation is to plan and adapt now.
We wish you all Happy Easter Days
* I conduct so-called withholding tax reviews.
If you would like to gain confidence yourself, you can find the next seminars on withholding tax and others in German here: https://www.zulaufgmbh.ch/veranstaltungen-workshops/