April 20, 2024

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The Swiss vote on pensions and retirement ages

The Swiss vote on pensions and retirement ages

With an aging population and the cost of living continuing to rise, Switzerland has held a referendum that could reshape the lives of retirees.


Swiss citizens voted in favor of increasing pension payments in a referendum held on Sunday, according to preliminary forecasts published by Swiss public broadcaster SRF.

This is despite warnings from the government and companies that the rise is unsustainable.

The referendum also included a separate proposal to raise the retirement age from 65 to 66, which is likely to be comfortably rejected.

Opinion polls showed that more than 60% of voters would reject the increase, which also sought to link the retirement age “flexibly” to life expectancy.

The outcome of the vote to increase pension payments was not clear, although preliminary results published by the SFR show that 58% support the introduction of an additional thirteenth monthly pension payment every year.

Only 42% opposed it, indicating a stronger victory than indicated by opinion polls.

The measure, promoted by the Swiss Trade Union Confederation, still needs the support of a majority of Switzerland's 26 cantons.

Critics of the pension payout increase claim it would be costly for the state and could lead to tax increases, especially for young people and workers.

Swiss voters have previously been reluctant to support measures deemed fiscally unsound.

Monthly social security payments in Switzerland can rise to 2,450 Swiss francs (2,553 euros) for individuals and 3,675 francs (3,830 euros) for married couples.

Concern about the cost of living was one of the factors driving the vote, with Switzerland consistently ranked as one of the most expensive countries in the world.

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On average, a kilo of chicken costs about 25 euros, and a loaf of bread costs more than 3.20 euros, according to the cost of living tracker. Numbeo.

Voters against increasing the retirement age claim that older people already face problems finding work, and the rise is likely to worsen the situation.

Swiss citizens have repeatedly rejected initiatives to raise the retirement age, which has remained unchanged since the introduction of state pensions in 1948.

Life expectancy in Switzerland is currently one of the highest in the world.

A Swiss man born in 2022 can expect to live 81.6 years, while 85.4 years for women, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office.