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Human Resources

A-Z for External Instructors at UZH

Please find below all the relevant information regarding your employment as an external instructor at the University of Zurich.

Accident insurance

External instructors are insured against work-related accidents. Instructors whose equivalent weekly working hours exceed eight hours are also insured against non-work-related accidents (§ 1a para. 1 UVG, § 13 para. 1 UVV). External instructors whose course load puts them at under eight hours per week are advised to take out private insurance against non-work-related accidents.

Adjunct professors

Instructors with a sound academic track record (both with and without habilitation) can become adjunct professors. This title is granted for a period of six years and can be extended several times. The faculty must submit a new application for extension to the Extended Executive Board of the University each time. Adjunct professors also have the right to retain their title after reaching the legal retirement age. The faculties are responsible for monitoring the time limits and reporting changes to HR Teaching Staff. Being an adjunct professor entitles you to use the honorific “Professor”.

Age limit

As a rule, external instructors can teach until the end of the semester in which they reach the regular retirement age. Exceptions to this rule can only be made if the instructor's faculty approves their individual case. Employment can be extended on a temporary basis for more than one or two semesters. If an external instructor is set to retire in the near future, they should not receive a permanent teaching contract.

Change of personal data

Please use the employee change reporting form for the following:

  • Change of address
  • Change of bank account
  • Change of marital status

Employee Change Reporting Form (PDF, 176 KB)

Please complete the form and send it to HR Teaching Staff (E-Mail).

Combining public and private employment

It is generally not possible to combine public and private employment. Exceptions can be made in the following few cases:

  • You work part time in Central Services on a public law employment contract but teach at a faculty.
  • If a temporary substitute is required for a privately employed instructor due to illness or maternity leave, a publicly employed UZH employee can fill in for them under a separate private law employment contract.
  • A privately employed instructor can substitute for an instructor with a public law employment contract if the latter becomes unavailable.

Contact hours

UZH uses contact hours to measure the teaching load of external instructors. One contact hour means that a course meets once per week for 45 minutes for one semester (14 weeks). This calculation does not take individual lecture cancellations into account (for example due to official holidays).

Continued pay in the event of inability to work

If an instructor on a private law employment contract is unable to work due to illness or accident, they shall continue to receive pay according to Article 324a and 324b of the Code of Obligations. Any additional daily sick pay insurance is the responsibility of the instructor.

Course cancellations

If a course is not held, the entitlement to salary payments lapses in accordance with the employment contract. The responsible organizational unit defines the amount of remuneration to be paid for work already performed. If an instructor cannot hold a course as scheduled (either fully or in part), they should report the issue to their organizational unit. The entitlement to salary payments will be canceled or reduced proportionally.

Courses held

You can request an overview of all the courses you have taught from your faculty or from HR Teaching Staff (E-Mail).


The responsible organizational unit regularly reviews whether employment relationships with instructors should be extended. If this is not the case, the unit will file a request with the Human Resources Department for the permanent contract to be terminated.

If an external instructor receives a new employment contract under public law, is appointed to a professorship, or decides to leave UZH, they will need to terminate their existing contract themselves.

Employment relationship/duration

External instructors generally receive permanent private employment contracts with a variable teaching load. The teaching load can vary over the entire duration of the contract and in some cases drop to zero for one or more semesters.

In well-founded cases, for instance if short-term teaching is planned for only one or two semesters, it is possible to issue temporary contracts that can be extended a maximum of one time. If the instructor continues to be employed after that, they will receive a permanent contract.

External instructor remuneration by category

A Full professors from other universities 5,040.-
B Associate professors from other universities 4,200.-
B Adjunct professors 4,200.-
B Privatdozents 4,200.-
B Clinical instructors 4,200.-
C External instructors 3,960.-
C Senior physicians 3,960.-
C Medical specialists 3,960.-
C Senior teaching and research assistants 3,960.-
C Postdoctoral researchers 3,960.-
C Academic associates 3,960.-
C External conservators 3,960.-
C Subject-specific teachers 3,960.-
C Teacher for upper secondary and vocational school 3,960.-
D External teaching and research assistant 3,360.-
D Doctoral students 3,360.-

Familiy Allowances

You can apply to receive or extend family allowances using the application form linked below. Please send the signed and completed form along with the required documentation to HR Teaching Staff.

Fact Sheet on the Family Allowance Act (FamZG) (PDF, 42 KB)

Application for family allowances (PDF, 314 KB) (external SVA document in German)

Change notification for family allowances (PDF, 216 KB) (external SVA document in German)

Lunch Check card

External instructors can receive Lunch Check cards. The meal contribution is calculated based on the number of paid contact hours per semester. UZH shares half the cost of the credit on the Lunch Check card. The maximum amount of Lunch Checks that you can obtain is CHF 250 (for full-time employment). Please fill out the online application form on the Human Resources Department's website.

Order Lunch-Check Card

Contact hours per semester Contact hours equivalent to workload (in percent) Maximum Lunch Check amount per month
(in CHF)

Lunch Check amount per semester
(in CHF)

Contribution to Lunch Checks for instructors (CHF per semester)
1 7.50 18.75 112.50 56.25
2 15.00 37.50 225.00 112.50
3 22.50 56.25 337.50 168.75
4 30.00 75.00 450.00 225.00
5 37.50 93.75 562.50 281.25
6 45.00 112.50 675.00 337.50
7 52.50 131.25 787.50 393.75
8 60.00 150.00 900.00 450.00
9 67.50 168.75 1012.50 506.25
10 75.00 187.50 1125.00 562.50
11 82.50 206.25 1237.50 618.75
12 90.00 225.00 1350.00 675.00
13 97.50 243.75 1462.50 731.25
13.34 100.00 250.00 1500.00 750.00

Minimum number of students per course

The minimum number of students per course is defined by the relevant faculty.

Pension fund

External instructors whose salaries meet or exceed the threshold for mandatory pension fund contributions will be insured by the BVK pension fund. This provides insurance against the economic consequences of retirement, disability and death. The Human Resources Department will handle the registration.

Posting agreements

The relevant dean's office is responsible for external instructors appointed via posting agreements between two universities or between UZH and the instructor's main employer.

Proof of residence

Cross-border commuters need to submit proof of residence to HR Teaching Staff every calendar year. Without this documentation, the University is obligated to deduct the full withholding tax from any remuneration for teaching.


Successful academics with a habilitation receive the designation of privatdozent. Upon appointment, they are granted the authority to teach (venia legendi). The privatdozent title and the venia legendi are granted on a lifelong basis according to the University Statutes. There is no obligation to teach, and there is no periodic review of teaching and research performance.

Privatdozents do not have an automatic right to teach courses within study programs. However, according to the University Statutes, they are to be taken into appropriate consideration when assigning study program courses to teaching staff. In any case, privatdozents may hold courses outside of study programs until they reach the age of 65 as long as a sufficient number of matriculated students enroll.

Private law mandate

If a teaching appointment under the scope of the relevant regulations is proven to be impossible for legal or contractual reasons, the course may also be given as part of a private-law mandate in exceptional cases. This includes block courses given by instructors who reside abroad. External instructors who give pro bono courses receive a pro bono private-law mandate.

Reimbursement of expenses

External instructors’ expenses for travel to UZH, food and accommodation are usually not reimbursed. In special cases, the relevant faculty can agree in advance to reimburse expenses in line with the conditions and rates set out in the University's expense regulations.


Gross salaries are based on the remuneration rates set by the Board of the University, which differ based on the category that the instructor falls under. The salary is generally paid out at the end of the semester (in July for the Spring Semester and in January for the Fall Semester). If your salary exceeds the threshold for making mandatory public pension contributions as per Art. 7 BVG, or if you have already reached retirement age, your salary will be paid out monthly.

Self-employment and external instructors

If external instructors are engaged in self-employment activity outside of UZH, then their teaching duties at UZH are not classified as self-employment activity. For external instructors, teaching duties at UZH are always classified as regular employment.

Social insurance

The Schweizerische Versicherungsanstalt (SVA) requires the Human Resources Department to deduct social insurance contributions from salary payments, even for foreign external instructors and Swiss external instructors who reside abroad. Social security contributions (AHV/IV/EO and ALV) are deducted directly from the applicable salary.

External instructors with Swiss or EU/EFTA citizenship who do not reside in Switzerland can be exempted from these payments if they submit an exemption from the relevant foreign authorities to UZH (Form A1). This also applies to external instructors who are citizens of countries outside of the EU or EFTA (certificate of coverage).

Teaching as part of study programs

Courses given by external instructors are a component of the study programs offered by the respective faculty.

Teaching load

The responsible organizational units will discuss the course content and scope with external instructors at an early stage. Before the start of each semester, HR Teaching Staff will notify the instructor in writing of the agreed on teaching load. The instructor's employment relationship is only updated for that semester once the teaching load agreement is signed by both parties.

Teaching outside of study programs

This refers to courses that grant ECTS points to participating students but do not count towards a degree from the University of Zurich. These courses are also listed in the course catalogue and receive classroom space in the University.

Withholding tax for foreign employees

Foreign external instructors residing in Switzerland or abroad are subject to withholding tax. UZH deducts withholding tax via your pay slip each month.

Fact Sheet on Wittholding Tax (PDF, 67 KB)

Please fill out the “Additional Information for Employees Subject to Withholding Tax” form and send it along with your private law employment contract to HR Teaching Staff.

Form – Additional Information for Employees Subject to Withholding Tax (PDF, 133 KB)

Instructors subject to withholding tax are obligated to provide UZH with all the information the University needs in order to deduct the tax. Any changes to this information must be reported without delay.

As of 1 January 2021, instructors are also obligated to inform the University via an online form about the commencement or cessation of any self-employment or regular employment activity outside of UZH as well as the receipt or discontinuation of any replacement income. Replacement income includes daily allowances, partial disability pensions, maternity benefits and third-party indemnities. This obligation applies to self-employment and regular employment activity both in Switzerland and abroad.

Working hours

External instructors will deliver courses according to the agreed scope and at the agreed times. Courses may take place over one or several time blocks depending on what is required or agreed on with the instructor's organizational unit.

Work permits

HR Teaching Staff will apply for residency and work permits on the behalf of external instructors at the Immigration Office and the Office for Economy and Labor. The approval process can take up to six weeks for third-country nationals.

Further information:

Fact Sheet on Work Permit (PDF, 163 KB)(German only)

Fact Sheet on Work Permit for Third-Country Nationals (PDF, 177 KB) (German only)

Applications for entry and work permits (external website in German)

Office for Economy and Labor (external website in German)

Immigration Office (external website in German)

State Secretariat for Migration (external website in German)

Weiterführende Informationen


If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please contact HR Teaching Staff.