Salary portage, a growing employment practice, offers independent workers the benefits of employment while maintaining autonomy. It’s a practical solution for businesses seeking independent workers without handling administrative formalities.
This tripartite collaboration involves an independent worker, a salary portage company, and a client. The portage company acts as an employer, paying the worker a salary, and billing the client for services rendered.
While popular in France, salary portage in Switzerland can sometimes misrepresent independent workers as employees in social insurance contexts, violating Swiss law. This can lead workers to be denied certain social insurance benefits despite paying contributions.
Advantages of salary portage
Security for Independent Workers: Salary portage allows independent workers to access unemployment insurance, mandatory occupational pension, and accident insurance. This is achieved by transforming fees into a salary and handling regular administrative tasks like client billing, offering social security for professional activities.
Benefits of Employee Status: Independent workers enjoy employee benefits like social security, paid vacations, health insurance, and professional credibility.
Convenience for Businesses: Companies can engage independent workers without dealing with direct employment formalities, outsourcing tasks for greater HR flexibility.
In Switzerland, salary portage isn’t recognized as a legitimate form of employment due to conflict with social insurance law. Thus, independent workers engaged in salary portage risk being denied benefits in case of unemployment or accidents. Problems may also arise in professional pension provisions.
Note: Using salary portage in Switzerland involves legal risks for independent workers, potentially leading to denied social insurance benefits and legal issues in pension planning.
Salary portage functioning in Switzerland
Service Leasing (Payrolling): This legal model in Switzerland involves a service provider (employer) handling salary, social insurance contributions, and declarations to tax and migration authorities for foreign workers. The provider leases the worker’s services to a tenant company. Companies using this model must be authorized.
Legalities: Unlike salary portage, service leasing in Switzerland allows independent workers to enjoy employment-related social benefits. However, legal and contractual provisions must be adhered to avoid legal or financial risks.
The Federal Social Insurance Office (OFAS) has issued an information sheet to highlight the risks of “fictitious employment.” It’s advised to research and verify if the accounting company is a fiduciary company, a service leasing company, or a salary portage company (the latter not permitted in Switzerland).