Hospitals In Constant Violation Of Mandatory Labour Laws

Author:Dr. Thomas Rihm
Profession:Rihm Attorneys

In many Swiss hospitals, mandatory labour laws are a 'dead letter': 52% of doctors do not adhere to the maximum weekly working time of 50 hours, which has been in force since 2005. This information was provided by a study carried out by a doctors' union, the Association of Swiss Medical Assistants (ASMA). On average, physicians who work full time (100% pensum) work 55 hours per week. This is true regardless of whether they are employed by a university, cantonal or regional hospital. In particular, the self-declared workload of assistant doctors and surgeons is exceptionally high. A high-ranking hospital manager recently reported in the media that a 90-hour working week is not uncommon.

Around 3,300 out of ASMA's 13,000 members participated in a 2016 online survey conducted by the association. It is important to consider that doctors who are dissatisfied with their work are more likely to be outspoken. That said, ASMA spokesman Marcel Marti stated that the results reflect the realities of the situation, and that the numbers are corroborated by feedback from ASMA members.

The doctors' union carried out an earlier analogous survey in 2013, but little has changed since then. Doctors still do not report a portion of their working hours - an average of 2.6 hours per week. A small improvement is that a majority of the interviewed doctors are no longer working more than...

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