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Payrolling or Freelancing for non-governmental or non-profit organisations in Switzerland

Do any of the following scenarios correspond to your situation?

  • You are seeking to work as a consultant for an NGO or a non-profit organisation:
    • You are a Swiss, EU or EFTA citizen, or a citizen of another country with a work permit for Switzerland
    • You can have the possibility to access a work permit in Switzerland for other reasons
    • You already have or could have access to a Ci permit because you live with a holder of a FDFA legitimation card
  • You are an NGO or a non-profit organisation looking to work with freelance consultants

Then you can use our payroll services to carry out the mandate.

Non-governmental and non-profit organisations in Switzerland

There are many non-governmental and non-profit organisations in Switzerland.

Many international or foreign NGOs are also located here because of the presence of the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva.

The most important of these are the United Nations (UN), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and many other charitable, cultural and educational organisations. 

In addition there are many associations and foundations in Switzerland. The exat number is not known as there is no legal obligation in Switzerland to register a non-profit organisation. They enjoy a high level of credibility.

These organisations play an important role in the promotion of:

  • Humanitarian law, human rights, migration
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Labour, economy, trade, science, telecommunications
  • Peace, security, disarmament
  • Health
  • Environmental preservation and sustainable development

Consultant profiles:

Non-governmental and non-profit organisations in Switzerland regularly recruit freelance consultants and they are in demand of many types of roles, including :

  • Organisational Development Consultant
  • Programme evaluation consultant
  • Project Management Consultant
  • Talent acquisition consultant
  • Communication and marketing consultant 
  • Financial Management Consultant
  • Recruitment and Talent Management Consultant 
  • HR systems and processes consultant
  • HR and Governance Consultant
  • Training and Development Consultant
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion consultant

NGOs, Foundations, Associations, some figures 

In Switzerland there are 45 international organisations, 42 of which are located in the lake Léman area and 39 in the Canton of Geneva. There are also 314 international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), of which 276 are in Geneva. Geneva also has 750 non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

More than 30 international sports federations have their headquarters in the canton of Vaud.

In Switzerland as a whole, there are more than 12,000 foundations and many more associations. 

As of March 2022, 28,740 people work in the canton of Geneva’s 39 international organisations. Taking into account the 4,183 people employed in the permanent missions accredited to the UN or other international organisations and the consulates, the international public sector numbers 32,923 people.

According to Federal Department of Foreign Affairs these NGOs in Geneva also represent :

  • More than 4,700 visits per year by heads of state and government, ministers and other dignitaries
  • More than 4,000 conferences per year, organised in person, by teleconference or in hybrid mode and attended by approximately 366,000 delegates from all over the world

Advantages for NGO or non-profit organisations of using a payroll company like Thalent

Organisations can face multiple obstacles when seeking to work with consultants. The most important of these are usually legal issues relating to contracts, work permits and even taxation.

The advantages for organisations:

  • Quick start without the need for a branch office: by working with a payrolling company like ours an NGO can hire consultants based in Switzerland or in border areas within 48-72 hours
  • Experts in payrolling, off payroll work for NGOs: you will be advised by our experts who have been working for many years with non-governmental, international and non-profit organisations
  • International contracts: we can work and set up all types of contracts between you and us for your consultants: mandates, task forces, fixed or indefinite missions, international mandates. All social charges and taxes are paid
  • Compliant with Swiss law: our contracts comply with Swiss law and guarantee you complete legality throughout their duration. We take care of the relations with the tax authorities or the population office for work permits 
  • Offices in Geneva and Zurich: our offices are located in Geneva, headquarters of many international organisations, but also in Zurich. We also offer coworking and office sharing

Advantages for consultants of working for an NGO using our payroll solutions 

Consultants who wish to work with an NGO, INGO, association or foundation without being employed by them can do so via our payroll company.

The advantages for consultants:

  • You work for the organisation in a perfectly legal and autonomous manner
  • You become an employee of Thalent and benefit from full social security coverage:
    • Unemployment, AVS pension, 2nd pillar LPP, accident insurance, maternity allowance
    • You benefit from paid holidays
    • We take care of the formalities for your work permit 
    • We take care of your deductible professional expenses
    • We advise you on your taxes
  • This leaves you free to concentrate on your mandate without having to worry about accounting, legal and administrative matters

Job boards, Swiss NGO, INGO, non-profit organisations

Job offers for mandates in this type of organisations are published on standard job sites but there are also specialised sites.

Here are the most important sites specialised in recruitment for NGOs in Switzerland:

Two examples of NGO consultant profiles:

Elisabeth, communication consultant

Elisabeth is a freelance communications consultant with a passion for independent and international media. 

She is single, Canadian, with a C permit and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. She is fluent in French, English and Spanish, and studied Italian for a few years.

After graduating from university with a degree in communication and international relations, Elizabeth started working for an NGO that supported independent media in developing countries. She has worked on many exciting projects that have contributed to strengthening press freedom and democracy.

Because of her experience and expertise in the field of international communication, Elizabeth was recruited to work as a freelance consultant for a Geneva-based NGO that supports social justice in African countries. In this role, she works with journalists, media organisations and NGOs around the world to promote press freedom and access to information.

As a single woman in her thirties with no children, Elizabeth is, thanks to payrolling, able to focus completely on her mission whilst managing her time flexibly. She travels for her work and outside of it enjoys exploring new places, discovering new cultures and meeting people involved in the press. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, and is very active in her local community.

Salah, organisational development consultant 

Salah is an organisational development consultant working as a freelance consultant for a large UN agency. 

Moroccan-Swiss, Salah grew up in Switzerland. He studied political science and business management at university in Paris and then started his career in the international field.

Salah worked for many years for a company specialising in financial services, before joining a UN agency as an organisational development consultant. In this role, he helps organisations to improve their effectiveness, sustainability and social impact.

He is married and has two children. His family is very important to him and he spends a lot of his free time with them. Thanks to his parents he has been able to keep a strong link with his culture and roots. 

As a Moroccan-Swiss, Salah is passionate about diversity and inclusion issues and works actively to promote these values within the organisation he works for. He is proud of his multicultural identity and feels that this is an asset in his work as an organisational development consultant.

Salah is an experienced and respected professional in his field. He chose to become a consultant four years ago in order to be able to work on a variety of projects and take on new challenges. He is convinced that organisational development is a key tool for building a more just and sustainable world.

Contact us for a free consultation!

Are you a consultant who wants to work with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or a non-profit organisation, or such an organisation that wants to work with a freelance consultant?

Contact us now for more information!

Besure to regularly check our homepage and follow us on our social networks for more information regarding payrolling and becoming an independent consultant. If you like our posts we would be thankful if you could give us a like on Linkedin or Facebook!

Author: Kamil Fetouni

The Thalent team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year 2023!

Dear clients, dear partners, dear consultants, dear future consultants!

On behalf of the entire Thalent team, we wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and much success for the year 2023.

We thank you for your trust and loyalty and we look forward to working with you in 2023.

We wish you all the best

The Thalent.com team

Besure to regularly check our homepage and follow us on our social networks for more information regarding payrolling and becoming an independent consultant. If you like our posts we would be thankful if you could give us a like on Linkedin or Facebook!

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Join us at the Salon RH at Palexpo, on October 5 and 6: All the information and our conference on Off-Payroll Working!

Thalent will be at the Salon RH on 5 and 6 October at stand C.04 in Hall 2: visit us and ask us all your questions !

Thalent.com, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has been offering Payroll solutions for over 20 years.

Our solutions help:

  • HR managers, companies wanting to work with independent consultants
  • Foreign companies without a branch in Switzerland, looking to expand by working with Swiss or cross-border consultants

And of course:

  • Swiss or cross-border freelance consultants who want to benefit from the advantages of freelance administration

Some of our advantages:

  • Multi-currency, multi-contract solutions
  • A company run by consultants
  • Premium service

Ask us all your questions and meet our team at stand C.04 in Hall 2.

You can also make an appointment in advance with one of our advisors on our website or call us directly at: +41 22 341 24 28

Book your ticket now !

Conference on Thursday 06.10 from 9h20 to 9h50 am: Off-Payroll Working and the future of work in a changing world

Presented in French by Michael Bender and Wanda Swetzer Bender, Managing Partners of Thalent Don't miss this conference which addresses the need for new contract models for the increasingly popular part-time jobs. Increasingly, companies need to find external recruitment solutions for flexible and hybrid working environments.

During the conference, use cases will be discussed on how our customers and consultants benefit from our solutions:

  • Complex international and multi-currency situations
  • Several parallel missions in Switzerland and abroad on a digital platform
  • Advice for the « Future of Work » and « Smart Office »
  • "Organisational resilience through professional risk management and business continuity"

Continuation of the conference with Jérémie Agboklu, Thalent consultant and the solution Siris+

In the second part of the conference, Jérémie Agboklu, Quality Safety Environment & IT Senior Consultant, will explain how he works with Thalent SA and describe the QSE Software service with the solution Siris+ that digitalises quality, safety and environment in your organisation.

Book your ticket for the conference here!

Besure to regularly check our homepage and follow us on our social networks for more information regarding payrolling and becoming an independent consultant. If you like our posts we would be thankful if you could give us a like on Linkedin or Facebook!

Author: KF

Which sectors are in need of personnel or consultants in Switzerland at the beginning of 2022?

To understand in which economic sectors and for which professions the need for qualified personnel is increasing, we can rely on several reliable sources.

SECO's monthly labour market report

SECO's monthly labour market report is a very good indicator of the demand for qualified personnel in the various sectors of the economy.

For the year 2021, the national unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, has decreased from 3.3% to 2.4%.

If we compare December 2021 and December 2020, it fell by 25.6%. In the same period, the number of unemployed persons aged 50-64 fell by 17.1% to 7'776 and the number of advertised vacancies rose by 88.4% to 47'531, of which 33'503 are subject to the obligation to advertise.

The instrument of compensation for reduced working hours (RHT) has done much to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on companies and workers, but hiring intentions are at a historically high level for this first quarter of 2022.

According to the SECO report, between December 2021 and December 2020, the sectors that saw the largest absolute positive changes excluding hotels, restaurants, trade and maintenance or repair of motor vehicles are:

  • Construction and civil engineering
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Health and social work
  • Financial and insurance activities
  • Electrical engineering, electronics, watches, optics
  • Information and communication

These are economic sectors for which companies will need employees but also freelance consultants.

Manpower's Employment Outlook Survey

A very good indicator of the demand for qualified personnel is also the Swiss Employment Outlook Survey published by Manpower.

According to the latest survey, employers expect to increase their headcount in the first quarter of 2022 with net employment hires of +30%.

Hiring intentions are strong across the country, with Central Switzerland reporting that 50% of employers surveyed will hire, Mittelland 33%, Eastern Switzerland 38%, Zurich 33% and the Lake Geneva region 28%.

The growth sectors with the highest demand for qualified personnel are:

  • IT
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Computer Sciences
  • Communications and Media
  • Education, Health, Social and Government
  • Industry
  • Non-profit organisations

The Swiss Skills Shortage Index of the University of Zürich

Another indicator is the Swiss Skills Shortage Index of the University of Zurich (In German only).

According to the University of Zürich, the shortage of qualified personnel has increased significantly in the year 2021. The reason for this is the increase in the supply of employment contracts and the fall in the unemployment rate. The easing of the pressure on the skilled labour shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 is almost not felt anymore.

The following occupations are particularly affected:

  • Engineering
  • IT and technology
  • Human medicine
  • Pharmacy
Ingénieur, IT, Information, Communication, Informatique, Technologie,

Engineering, IT, Information, Communication, Computing, Technology: these sectors need qualified Consultants

Here are some more details and figures on these sectors which are the most promising and which lend themselves well to off-payroll working, payrolling in Switzerland.

According to the latest Unesco report, "Engineering for Sustainable Development", Switzerland, which is already facing a shortage of engineers, will see this shortage increase. According to the report, there will be a shortage of at least 25’000 engineers in Switzerland in the upcoming years in this field.

Following several EPFL studies, there is a strong demand for engineers in the following fields:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Data science
  • Digitalisation, digital transformation
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Digitalisation of construction (BIM)

According to the ICT journal, ICT for information and communication technologies, the IT market, which has already rebounded in 2021, stimulated by strong trends and those related to the pandemic, will continue to grow.

Switzerland will need some 117’900 additional ICT specialists by 2028. New graduates and foreign skilled personnel will not be enough to fill the gap and if training capacities are not increased, there will be a shortfall of 35’800 professionals.

Online businesses also need staff and consultants with demand increasing by 55% in 2020 and online logistics and online marketing roles being the most sought after.

A Capgemini study on IT budgets in 2022 for the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) confirms that most companies and administrations are expected to invest a larger share of their IT budget in systems modernisation, while the share of spending on maintenance is decreasing.

The opportunity of off-payroll working, working with freelance consultants using our Umbrella Company

Payrolling, off-payroll working allows a company to work with people without having to formally recruit them. It allows consultants to find and work on mandates without having to become independent, while receiving a salary and being assured that all social charges, insurance and insurance cover is paid.

For the company seeking to work with one or more consultants for a short or medium term mission, payrolling allows:

  • Avoid hiring permanent staff by not tapping in the payroll budget
  • To establish contracts with highly qualified consultants
  • Free yourself from the tasks of managing salaries and personnel
  • Work with consultants based in Switzerland or across the border
  • Reduce the tax costs of your operations

The consultant is hired by Thalent who sends an invoice at the end of each month for the services provided, which you pay as you would when paying any other service company or supplier.

By using external service providers on a freelance basis, your company avoids numerous restrictive and time-consuming administrative procedures and can optimise its project outsourcing strategy.

The opportunity of payrolling, off-payroll working, for the Consultant

Thalent SA establishes, takes charge of, manages or offers :

  • A salaried employment contract (fixed-term, open-ended or hourly)
  • Contract with your client(s)
  • Invoicing, reminders, VAT management
  • Reimbursement of travel and related expenses
  • Free advice for customer contracts
  • Relations with the tax administration, the Cantonal Office of Population and Migration (OCPM) which also gives out the work permits in Switzerland
  • Paid holidays, the payment of the withholding tax
  • Full social security cover with a choice of options for the LPP pension fund, 2nd pillar :
    • AHV: Old-age and survivors’ insurance
    • AI: Disability insurance and income compensation benefits
    • AAP: Occupational Accident Insurance with SUVA and supplementary insurance
    • AANP: Non-occupational accident insurance at SUVA and supplementary insurance
    • RC: Adapted professional liability insurance
    • MUV/AMat/MUV: Maternity allowance
    • ALV, AC, ALV:Unemployment Insurance
    • OP/LPP/BVG: Pillar 2 pension fund with a full choice of options among the plans available from the CIEPP Fund of the Fédération des Entreprises Romandes (FER)

You already have, or would like to have, or are about to sign a contract with a client? Then contact us now for more information and execute the mandate as a Freelance Consultant at Thalent.com.

Besure to regularly check our homepage and follow us on our social networks for more information regarding payrolling and becoming an independent consultant. If you like our posts we would be thankful if you could give us a like on Linkedin or Facebook!

Author: KF

The Thalent team wishes you happy end of the year celebrations and a happy new year 2022!

Dear clients, dear partners, dear consultants, dear future consultants!

This second consecutive year of Covid-19 has required a lot of effort on both a private and professional level.

Nevertheless, the Thalent consultants and employees were able to rise to the challenges and adapt quickly to the situation in order to find constructive solutions for their customers.

We would like to thank you for the trust you have placed in Thalent, its know-how and its employees throughout the year 2021.

We wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and all the best for the year 2022. May this year bless you with health, happiness and success!

We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration in the New Year.

We wish you all the best,

The Thalent.com team

Working as a frontalier with a Swiss cross-border commuter status using our payroll company

Who can benefit from payrolling, off- payroll working in Switzerland?

You are an individual or a consultant living in a country bordering France, Germany, Italy, Austria or any other EU/EFTA state:

Payrolling, off payroll working with the Swiss cross-border commuter status is the ideal solution to develop your activity without having to acquire the status of an Independent/Self-Employed which is not easy to obtain, if you are in the following situations:

  • You have proposals for mandates in Switzerland or would like to find clients there to develop your business while being or becoming a Swiss border worker
  • You have already obtained a consulting mandate, a contract as a consultant
  • You wish to evaluate a business creation project, a start-up projetc before creating your own entity
  • You are prepared to return home at least once a week

You are a company based in Switzerland or abroad and you want to develop your business or engage independent Consultants:

For a company in Switzerland or abroad, to use a payroll or umbrella company is the ideal solution to get people with Swiss cross-border commuter status to work on a mandate or a mission they have just obtained or to develop their business quickly, without having to hire them themselves.

What is payrolling, also called off-payroll working or “wage portage” in a few words?

Payrolling is a hybrid form of work, halfway between self-employment and employment.

It allows an individual to carry out a mandate for a company in an autonomous way while benefiting from the social coverage provided by the status of employee.

Thalent SA signs a service contract with the client company that needs to work with the individual also called the consultant, and with the latter a Swiss employment contract.

At the end of each month, Thalent invoices the client company and pays a salary to the individual minus commission and employer and employee obligatory social charges.

As a consultant with Swiss cross-border commuter status working for one or more clients, the individual benefits from the full social security coverage available to all employees in Switzerland, including unemployment and full accident insurance to prevent any risks associated with business travel.

From a commercial point of view, they manage and prospect their clients in Switzerland independently. They negotiate alone or with the help of Thalent  their rates and the terms of the mandate with the client company.

On the contractual level, the person is autonomous. They manage and prospect their clients in Switzerland independently. They negotiate alone or with the help of Thalent their rates and the terms of the mandate with the client company.

Swiss cross-border commuter work permits, Swiss employment contracts, social security coverage and other administrative services

Thalent.com takes care of the following tasks:

  • Arrangements for a Swiss cross-border commuter work permit G
  • Employee working contract (definite, non definite period or hourly contract)
  • Drawing up of service contract with the client company
  • Invoicing, management of collections or reminders
  • Managing VAT, if you are concerned
  • Management and payment of employer and employee social security contributions and all accident insurance
  • Reimbursement of travel and other business expenses
  • Tax optimisation and advice

The status of cross-border commuters has changed

EU/EFTA nationals are no longer subject to border zones. They can live in any EU/EFTA state and work anywhere in Switzerland.

Citizens who live in an EU/EFTA country and work in Switzerland (employees or self-employed persons with their company headquarters in Switzerland) are considered to be border residents. The only rule is that these workers are required to return to their main residence (abroad) at least once a week.

The cross-border commuters work permit is issued by the cantonal authorities at the place of business.

Advantages for Swiss cross-border commuters

  • Be able to reside in the border area or in an EU/EFTA country but be able to work in Switzerland
  • Be fully insured for social security, compulsory labour insurance and pensions
  • Receive a salary paid at the end of the month based on the turnover and smoothed over a determined period of time
  • As Thalent performs the administrative and accounting tasks, the consultant can devote himself/herself to the execution of his/her mandate(s)

Advantages for companies

  • Establishing the relationship is quick and easy: the person only needs to be domiciled in an EU/EFTA country and to return home at least once a week
  • Compliance with the law. The Swiss or foreign company can be sure to work with a person who is in full compliance with Swiss law
  • You gain flexibility as you can cope with higher variations in workloads without having to increase the payroll
  • Cross-border consultants for the Swiss market are hired with a Swiss employment contract
  • We take care of the formalities for the G work permit
  • The employee works for your company
  • At the end of the month we send you an invoice containing a summary of the work done by the consultant for you
  • The consultant then receives a salary like any other employee
  • All charges are paid
  • You have no start-up or exit fees
  • There is no minimum contract duration
  • You benefit from the advice of our experts

Some figures on cross-border commuters in Switzerland, their number and occupation?

Number of Swiss cross-border commuters:

According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) publication «Cross-border commuters in Switzerland from 1996 to 2020» there are 343’000 cross-border commuters working in Switzerland at the end of 2020.

The largest number, 90’000 people, work in the Canton of Geneva.


Most of them come from neighbouring countries and work in a neighbouring canton, in the border regions where they make up a significant proportion of the workforce.

More than half of them live in France (55%), almost a quarter in Italy (23%) and almost a fifth in Germany (18%). Less than 3% of cross-border commuters come to work in Switzerland from Austria or Liechtenstein, while those from other countries accounted for 0.7% of the employed population.

% of active, working population:

Cross-border commuters account for 6.7% of the employed population, and their share of total employment was 29% in the canton of Ticino and 24% in the canton of Geneva. The proportion of cross-border commuters is also high in the cantons of Jura (19%), Basel-Stadt (18%), Basel-Land (14%) and Neuchâtel (12%).

Occupation of cross-border commuters by sector:

The majority of cross-border commuters, like the resident workforce, work in the service sector. 77% of the resident workforce and 67% of cross-border commuters work in the services sector.

Many consultants using off-payroll working are Swiss cross-border commuters

Would you like to become a Swiss cross-border payrolling consultant or are you a company that needs to hire external consultants using our umbrella company?

Contact us now for more information!

Besure to regularly check our homepage and follow us on our social networks for more information regarding payrolling and becoming an independent consultant. If you like our posts we would be thankful if you could give us a like on Linkedin or Facebook!

Author: KF

A comparison between Payrolling and the status of an Independent/Self-Employed

Payrolling or the status of an Independent/Self-Employed. What is better and why?

When someone chooses to become self-employed, the question of the legal status arises as one has to start invoicing one or more clients. Is it better to become self-employed or to work using a payroll or umbrella company?

In order to choose between payrolling and self-employed status, it is essential to be familiar with the specific characteristics of both statuses. In this article we summarise their main characteristics and provide an advanced comparison table which is also available in .pdf.

1. Independent or self-employed status in Switzerland

In Switzerland a person is obliged to have his status recognised by the cantonal compensation office.

The compensation office checks whether the status of self-employed person can be granted according to the criteria of the Federal Law on Old Age and Survivors' Insurance (OASI), the directives of the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) and the case law of the Federal Court (FC).

The AHV/IV Information Centre provides a list of compensation offices. In Geneva, for example, the main AHV compensation office is the OCAS. It is this office that can recognise your self-employed status.

The particularities and difficulties are as follows:

  • To obtain the status, you have to provide a whole set of documents and prove that you have at least 3 clients
  • One of the particularities in Switzerland is that you must have already started your activity
  • The process takes several weeks and the status is not necessarily granted
  • You cannot be insured for unemployment
  • If you are granted the status, you have to contract by yourself:
    • An accident insurance covering occupational and non-occupational accidents and occupational diseases
    • A loss of earnings insurance which allows you to receive your salary in the event of illness
    • A professional liability insurance, which covers material and physical damage caused to third parties in the course of professional activity
    • Depending on the activity carried out, some insurance policies are compulsory (civil liability, fire insurance), others optional (legal protection, theft, etc.)
  • You can use your 2nd pillar and withdraw it, but you must withdraw it in its entirety. If you are married, your spouse must approve the withdrawal
  • You must keep accounts for the annual tax return and are subject to VAT on sales over CHF 100,000

2. Payrolling over an umbrella company  in Switzerland

The particularities and advantages are as follows:

  • Payrolling involves a three-way contractual relationship:
    • You, the Consultant
    • Your client company
    • The payroll or umbrella company, such as Thalent SA
  • 2 contracts are established:
    • A permanent employment contract between you, the employee and the payroll company
    • A service contract between the client company and the payroll company

The big advantage of Thalent is that you receive a permanent contract, as opposed to other companies that establish payrolling contracts. Contact us to find out more.

  • You are fully covered by social security: unemployment, AVS pension, 2nd pillar LPP
  • All accident insurance, maternity allowance are included
  • You benefit from paid holidays
  • You can start your activity directly if you have only one client, for example, once you have signed the 2 contracts mentioned above
  • You do not have to worry about administrative tasks such as invoicing, reminders, work permits
  • You don't have to do any accounting
  • A company like Thalent will help you to optimise your tax returns
  • The payroll company charges you of course a fee for these services

Our opinion and our comparison table

If you don't know how to go about it and how the independent status works, payrolling is undoubtedly the most effective solution. Moreover, you can start directly and if you work with Thalent without any start-up costs.

In our opinion, it is better to start your activity as an independent, self-employed only once you have the necessary know-how and number of clients, to become so.

The fact that you cannot benefit from unemployment insurance will not change if you are self employed in Switzerland.

Our experience :

At Thalent some of our consultants who started out as payroll Consultants have gone on to become self-employed or have set up a company, only to return later again to payrolling  because it was not worth it for them. It all depends on your situation, your needs, the way you work, the type and number of your clients and whether you want to take care of the administration or not.

Now go straight to the:

Comparison table between Payrolling and the status of an Independent/Self-Employed

Or download the corresponding .pdf!

Besure to regularly check our homepage and follow us on our social networks for more information regarding payrolling and becoming an independent consultant. If you like our posts we would be thankful if you could give us a like on Linkedin or Facebook!

Author: KF

Interview of Pierre Strübin - Chairman of Thalent.com

Interview of Pierre Strübin – Chairman of Thalent

1. Pierre, you are a multi-entrepreneur and President of the Foundation Board of the Fondation Genevoise pour l’Innovation Technologique - Fongit which is Switzerland’s premier innovation incubator supporting innovative tech ventures in Geneva.​ Can you tell us a bit more about your career path?

I am married, with 4 children. I hold an engineering degree from the EPFL, have additional training in finance and also hold an MBA.

I worked in industrial companies such as Sécheron-ABB, LEME and an international organisation. Then I was appointed director of Fongit and created the company Thalent.com in 2001. Thalent is therefore 20 years old in 2021.

The company was created to respond to the demand of experienced consultants who had mandates but no company capable of managing the administrative part of the work, like client offers, client invoicing, payment of salaries and social charges.

2. Is payrolling aimed at senior executives?

We have to admit that most of our consultants are experienced people with the ability to execute mandates and who are considered by clients as experts.

It is true that they are often seniors, but we also have very competent people in their thirties.

3. Payrolling is a subject that is being talked about a lot at the moment. Can you tell us a little more about it in relation to the services of your company Thalent SA?

The consultant can concentrate on his job, which is to deliver high added value services. Thalent takes care of the administrative and invoicing part and makes sure that the consultant can work in an environment that complies with the legal framework concerning employment.

4. Your company also aims to help firms abroad looking to expand into Switzerland, how is this happening?

We would be more than happy to do so.  Often companies want to have a bridgehead in Switzerland or in Europe. Switzerland is a privileged place, especially Geneva and our company is located a few minutes from the Geneva airport. This makes it very easy to get to.

Often we employ a person, domiciled in Switzerland, who, through our company, works within a legally compliant framework and we invoice the foreign company for the services provided by this person, settling of course all the issues related to VAT if applicable.

After the first phase the company can then decide whether it wants to establish a subsidiary in Switzerland and in this case we can assist it in establishing a Société Anonyme SA or a Société à Responsabilité Limitée SARL thanks to the excellent connections we have with notaries or lawyers.

5. You have a company in neighbouring France, what is its function?

We do have a company that is completely independent of the Thalent structure in Geneva.

It is an SAS, a simplified joint stock company, with which we work closely and which allows us to carry out operations in the European community in the event that having a company in Switzerland is not optimal.

We use our French company when, for reasons mainly related to VAT, it is easier to work with a company established in France and another country of the European Community.

6. So you can work with companies all over Europe but also all over the world?

Yes, we can do this directly from Thalent SA, for customers located in Europe and outside Europe such as the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom. We work with the following 4 currencies: EUR, USD, GBP, CHF.

7. What do you think of the current situation of the Swiss labour market?

At the moment, we can see that for specialists, the current situation on the labour market is very favourable. As consultants are often very competent people, they have no difficulty in finding mandates.

This has been the case for several years now and perhaps the health crisis has made it even more so. The more specialised people are, the more in demand they are, and the more generalist skills people have, the more difficult it is for them to find work.

8. How does Thalent differ from other umbrella companies for the consultant?

We are one of the first companies active in this field in Switzerland with an experience of over 20 years. Our company is characterised by long-term relationships with consultants, as some of them have been working with Thalent for more than 15 years.

For these people, we have the advantage of being able to offer permanent contracts and not leasing contracts. The consultants can therefore present themselves to their clients as part of a team and a company with an excellent reputation.

9. Are there any values that you hold dear?

Of course there are. I would say the seriousness of our work, an extreme flexibility accompanied by a very high reactivity, a lot of care given to the service we provide and the personal contact with the consultants. There is a great deal of mutual trust between the company and the consultants.

10. What type of profiles does Thalent have among its ranks?

We have a technical focus, engineers or technicians, but we also have consultants active in business development, project management, human resources, translation, coaching, IT.  

11. You are an engineer, is there anything that an engineer will find in addition at Thalent because of that?

Very clearly a general understanding of the client and the fact that we can speak the same language with the client.

12. Entrepreneurship can be facilitated by an umbrella company. Can you explain this a little more?

The entrepreneur does not need to register as a freelancer, does not need to deal with all the administrative tasks and can concentrate on his core business. We also provide the necessary advice on drawing up offers and contracts with clients.

13. Can you give us 5 advantages of beeing a payrolling consultant?

  • Administrative simplification
  • Entitlement to unemployment benefits
  • Possibility of distribute the income as a salary over a long period
  • Quick start: no administrative procedures
  • Recognition by the market, which tends to give mandates to established companies rather than to self-employed people

14. Is there any advice you would give to a young entrepreneur?

The first advice I would give is to join us. This will give her or him the support they need to launch their business. It is up to him to decide whether he wants to register as a freelancer or create his own company. What is interesting to mention is that in the last ten years, none of our consultants have preferred to start their own company.

In some cases consultants have even set up their own company within Thalent, i.e. we have had several consultants working for the same client on the same project.

15. Do you have a success story that you have witnessed to share?

In addition to your previous question. One of our consultants who had achieved a significant turnover decided to set up her own company. After a few years she decided to put it on hold and to join Thalent again because she had noticed that the results were inferior both in terms of economics and management.

Interview by KF

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What is Payrolling, also called “Wage Portage” in Switzerland? Part 2/2

7. Consultant start and end of contract with Thalent

A. How does a start as a Consultant at Thalent.com go?

Many umbrella companies charge a registration or start-up fee, this is not the case at Thalent SA.

Our onboarding process consists of 3 steps:

  1. You leave us your contact details and we make an appointment by phone
  2. One of our experienced managers calls you back for a non-binding professional consultation
  3. You sign your contract with Thalent.com all digitally

During the consultation our manager will assess

  • Your project, your activity
  • The state of progress of your contracts
  • Your professional situation

He will then send you an email summarising the essential elements with a few documents that will enable Thalent to make you a contract proposal, all in electronic form or by post if you wish.

There are no start-up costs as such and no minimum contract amount.

B. What happens at the end of a contract as a Consultant at Thalent?

At the end of a service or a fixed-term assignment, your employment contract is terminated.

Within the framework of an open-ended assignment, you can resign or discuss the end of your contract with our company.

Everything is done 100% digitally and there are no end of contract fees as such.

Consultant Vertrag

8. Client company start and end of contract with Thalent, the solutions

A) How does a service contract to hire external Consultants using Thalent start?

You leave us your contact details and we will arrange a telephone appointment.

Typically we will contact you to discuss your staffing needs.

We define with you the conditions of employment of the consultant(s) chosen by you whether you are a Swiss or foreign company.

We can employ in Switzerland all Swiss and European nationals after having requested the necessary authorisations.

Example: you are a French, English or American company, we can employ the designated person(s) in Switzerland.

You sign a business-to-business contract with Thalent, without having to worry about labour law conditions, and all digitally.

B) What about the duration of the contract for a company?

The duration of the contract can be fixed when it is signed and can be extended very easily with an amendment.

9. How is payrolling, “Wage Portage”, regulated in Switzerland?

Payroll companies operate within a strictly controlled legal framework despite the fact that that there is no law as such that governs wage portage.

It’s a tripartite relationship: the payroll which is also called umbrella company signs an employment contract and a payroll agreement with the freelance Consultant as well a service contract with the "client" company.

The status, which is growing rapidly in Switzerland, is based jointly on the provisions of the Federal Act on Employment Services and the Hiring of Services (LSE/AVG) and the Swiss Code of Obligations (CO/OR).

The LSE/AVG stipulates that "companies that carry out employment service and service leasing activities in Switzerland must apply to the authority of the canton in which they are established for a permit. If they furthermore wish to engage in cross-border activities, they must also have a federal licence issued by the Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)".

Thalent has both a cantonal and a federal licence.

Some of the key elements of the status are as follows:

-The Consultant is looking himself for his clients and has them sign a contract with the payroll or umbrella company

-There is a subordination relationship between the Consultant and the "client" company

-The Consultant may be integrated or not in the "client" company for which the service is provided

-The umbrella company delegates a large part of the management to the "client" company

-The “client” gives instructions to the Consultant taking into account performance objectives

-The Consultant carries out tasks according to a scope of work  

-The Consultant is registered as an employee with the OASI (old-age and survivors' insurance).

-The payroll company does not have "know how" of the sector of the Consultant nor work premises for him

-The umbrella company bears the financial risk in the event of default by the Consultant

-The umbrella company may or may not bear the financial risk in the event of non-payment by the client.

-The payroll company assumes an obligation of means and not of result

-The umbrella company hosts the Consultant from an administrative point of view only.


10. A short history of payrolling or wage portage?

New forms of employment and in particular payrolling or wage portage are on the rise all over the world. In Switzerland the trend is also strong, even though standard work employment contracts   can be terminated much more easily than in other countries.

Wage portage improves the match between supply and demand.

It meets several of the Consultant's expectations:

  • To benefit from a very great autonomy in the "client" relationship
  • Provide them with social protection
  • Without the hassle of setting up a business

It meets several of the company's expectations:

  • It does not increase the wage bill since it involves the purchase of services
  • It enables performance and project-oriented work
  • For example, consultants can work on a project only for the duration of an assignment

A) In Switzerland

In Switzerland, Thalent SA was a pioneer in developing this new way of working.

The company was founded in 2001 by Pierre Strübin, who is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors, and two other co-founding partners, electrical engineers like himself.  The idea came to life after the dismissal of experienced colleagues who had been made redundant as a result of corporate restructuring. However, these people were highly valued and their former clients continued to entrust them with mandates.

Based on an idea already emerging in France, the idea emerged to create a company to serve these clients in Switzerland.

In the German-speaking part of Switzerland, where wage portage is also on the rise, it is called Payrolling, or also Lohnträgerschaft.

In Switzerland, payrolling or wage portage is based jointly on the Federal Act on Employment Services and the Hiring of Services (LSE/AVG) and the Swiss Code of Obligations (CO/OR).

In 2008, a member of the Geneva Grand Council (Grand Conseil) asked the Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) in a question whether it could consider using the tool in the fight against unemployment.

The latter replied that since it was used mainly by men between 35 and 50 years of age and only concerning certain types of jobs and sectors, “it concerned populations that are not representative of the mass of local job seekers. Consequently, although the Council of State is determined to closely monitor the evolution of this way of working, it intends to give priority to the instruments and means currently applied with as purpose the rapid and sustainable reintegration of the local unemployed.”

The Council of State therefore recognised the usefulness of payrolling or wage portage, but arguing that it is only used by a specific part of the population and types of jobs and sectors, refused to promote it in the fight against unemployment. This is still the case today.

B) In France

In France, this way of working was born in the 1980s and was set up by a non profit organisation whose aim was to reintegrate unemployed managers. The latter carried out fixed-term assignments, expertise or consultancy, with companies before being reintegrated into a permanent contract.

In the beginning, mainly senior executives were targeted, but nowadays payrolling has been extended to a large number of jobs and professions.

Accessibility to this way of working has been greatly facilitated by the arrival of new digital technologies.

In France, the system was finally introduced into the Labour Code by Law No. 2008-5s96 of 25th June 2008 on the modernisation of the labour market.

The following translated definition is included: "A set of organised contractual relations between a carrying (payroll, wage portage) company, a carried person (Consultant using the payrolls services, contractor) and client companies which comprises for the carried person (Consultant, contractor) the payroll and the payment of his service for the client by the carrying (payroll, wage portage) company".

In France, it is estimated that in 2020 more than 90,000 people are using this way of working. Source : Catherine Doleux, “Chômage, tous vos droits 2020”.

C) In the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the word Payrolling is used for this way of working. In other European countries the english sentence “Wage Portage” is also sometimes used. A Payroll Company is furthermore commonly called an Umbrella Company.

Since April 2001 when the UK government introduced the "IR35" legislation which creates tests to determine employment status and the ability to make use of small company tax relief, payroll or umbrella companies have become very common. The legislation aims to avoid the non-payment of taxes.

It is estimated that in the United Kingdom in 2020, out of 4'355'000 self-employed people, 400’000 are using an umbrella company. Sources : IPSE, The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, bbc.co.uk

Besure to regularly check our homepage and follow us on our social networks for more information regarding payrolling and becoming an independent consultant. If you like our posts we would be thankful if you could give us a like on Linkedin or Facebook!

Author : Kamil Fetouni