In 2001, the workforce numbered approximately four million. The service sector employed 69%, with 26% engaged in industry, and 5% in agriculture. Foreign workers account for about 30% of the workforce, and 40% of the total unemployed; they now have long-term residence rights, which entitle them to the same unemployment benefits as jobless Swiss workers. In 2002 unemployment was only 1.9%.
About one quarter of the labor force was unionized in 2002. Swiss law provides for and regulates union organization and collective bargaining. Most labor disputes are settled on the basis of a so-called peace agreement existing since 1937 between the head organizations of employers and employees. Other collective disputes are dealt with by the various cantonal courts of conciliation. Strikes are rare and Switzerland generally records the lowest number of days lost to strikes in the OECD. There have been fewer than 10 strikes per year since 1975.
The legally mandated maximum workweek is set at 45 hours for most employees. Minors as young as 13 may perform light work for up to nine hours per week. There are severe restrictions on the hours and conditions of employment of workers until the age of 20. There is no government mandated minimum wage. The Federal Labor Act and the Code of Obligations mandate various other workplace requirements.