Duty of Care under Swiss Law

The Duty of Care Maturity Model indicates what safety and security risk management processes Swiss NGOs have to put in place, so that they can improve their Duty of Care towards staff working outside of headquarters. The Maturity Model was developed by the Swiss Security Network in collaboration with the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) and cinfo.

The Maturity Model...

  • shows key Duty of Care processes
  • measures maturity across five levels
  • serves as a learning tool for Swiss NGOs
  • does not set Duty of Care standards

What is Duty of Care?

Under the Swiss legal framework an employer is obliged to take all necessary and feasible measures to safeguard the health, safety and integrity of his employees (Art. 328 OR). This includes 4 overarching Duties: 

Using the matrix organisations can assess their maturity for each of the four duties across five steps; from an initial, ad hoc approach to an optimised level where there is an organisational culture of learning and continuous improvement.

Why a Maturity Model?

Due to increasing fragile contexts worldwide safeguarding staff abroad is crucial for organisations active in international cooperation. Yet organisations are often unaware of their legal obligations towards safeguarding their staff abroad. Therefore the maturity model aims to serve as a learning tool for Swiss NGOs to understand and improve their maturity in safety and security risk management-related duty of care processes.


The model is based on a joint study by the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF), cinfo and the Swiss Security Network. Information was gathered through literature research, an online survey and key informant interviews with 26 security focal points of major European and American NGOs. The study collected good practice examples and identified key processes that support meeting each of the four duties. On the basis of the study’s findings, a working group of SSNPeter Aeberhard (formerly at Caritas), Phil Candy (Medair), Caroline Monin (Terre des Hommes), Patrick Schwärzler (HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation) with support from EISF, cinfo and the members of the Swiss Security Network @ cinfo developed the Duty of Care Maturity Model Matrix.


New online tool

Evaluate your maturity in regards to security in the field, and improve your duty of care towards your employees.

Swiss Security Network (SSN)

The Swiss Security Network @ cinfo (SSN) consists of security focal points of Swiss NGOs and government actors. It acts as a community of practice for safety and security issues.

Through the exchange of experience and inputs from experts, member organisations aim to ensure the security of employees in the field and workplace. 

Learn more about SSN and other Communities of Practice that are moderated by cinfo:

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