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Swiss parliament calls for more online purchases to be taxed

3 days ago

Since 1 January 2019, companies abroad making more than CHF 100,000 in revenue must charge Swiss VAT on sales made to anyone in Switzerland.
© Panuwat Dangsungnoen | Dreamstime.com
Now the Swiss government has decided to take aim at online platforms such as Aliexpress and Wish, according to the broadcaster RTS.
Rather than chasing foreign companies selling products in Switzerland, Beat Vonlanthen, an MP from Fribourg, wants online platforms to charge and collect Swiss VAT on all items sold through them. This would mean all items bought via these platforms would incur VAT rather than only those sold by companies with global annual revenue of more than CHF 100,000.
Recently, a parliamentary majority voted in favour of Vonlanthen’s motion to put such a system in place. The MP estimates an

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Swiss cities top expensiveness ranking

5 days ago

In this year’s Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore tied for the the position of the most expensive.
© David Prahl _ Dreamstime.com
The survey looks at 160 items including food, drink, rent, transport and utility bills, in 133 cities. New York, the base city, came in 7th, alongside Seoul and Copenhagen.
Zurich and Geneva were 4th and 5th.
The ten most expensive cities were:
1. Singapore (Singapore)1. Paris (France)1. Hong Kong (China)4. Zurich (Switzerland)5. Geneva (Switzerland)5. Osaka (Japan)7. Seoul (South Korea)7. Copenhagen (Denmark)7. New York (US)10. Tel Aviv (Israel)10. Los Angeles (US)
In the EIU survey, Zurich and Geneva, along with Tel Aviv, are the only cities in the top 10 that manage to be both small and expensive. All three have

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Swiss government wants a drone register

5 days ago

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has decided to further regulate drones by forcing owners to register them, according to the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.
© Williammacgregor | Dreamstime.com
The new requirement, which will probably start in 2020, was suggested in 2017. Drone registration would be done online by the owner. How the police would access the database is still being considered.
Currently, those flying drones weighing more than 30 kg require authorization. There are also laws that include no-fly zones, such as within 5 km of an airport or 100 m of a crowd.
The new drone register will be in addition to existing regulations.
There are an estimated 100,000 drones in Switzerland.
More on this:NZZ am Sonntag article (in German)
For more stories like this on

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Swiss health insurance deductibles to rise automatically

9 days ago

© Valeriya Potapova | Dreamstime.com Today, Switzerland’s parliament decided to bring in a system of regular increases in the deductibles for basic compulsory Swiss health insurance, according to the newspaper Le Matin. However, a plan to raise the the minimum deductible to CHF 500 was rejected by a clear majority. Between 1996 and 2004, the …

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Three Swiss cities ranked in world’s top 10 most livable

10 days ago

© Scanrail | Dreamstime.com Mercer’s 2019 livability ranking looks at 231 cities across the globe. Vienna comes top for the tenth year in a row, while Bagdad ranks last. Three Swiss cities are among the global top ten. Zurich is 2nd, Geneva 9th and Basel 10th. Bern, a fourth Swiss city, is not far behind …

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Three Swiss cities ranked in world’s top 10 most livable

10 days ago

Mercer’s 2019 livability ranking looks at 231 cities across the globe. Vienna comes top for the tenth year in a row, while Bagdad ranks last.
© Scanrail | Dreamstime.com
Three Swiss cities are among the global top ten. Zurich is 2nd, Geneva 9th and Basel 10th. Bern, a fourth Swiss city, is not far behind in 14th place.
No other Swiss cities were included in the survey so there is no way of knowing where Lausanne Winterthur, Luzern or St Gallen might have ranked.
The ranking is based on the price and availability of consumer goods, economic environment, housing, medical and health considerations, natural environment, political and social environment, public services and transport, recreation, schools and education and socio-cultural environment.
This year’s top 10 were:
1 Vienna2 Zürich3

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Swiss health insurance deductibles to rise automatically

11 days ago

Today, Switzerland’s parliament decided to bring in a system of regular increases in the deductibles for basic compulsory Swiss health insurance, according to the newspaper Le Matin.
© Valeriya Potapova | Dreamstime.com
However, a plan to raise the the minimum deductible to CHF 500 was rejected by a clear majority.
Between 1996 and 2004, the minimum deductible went from CHF 150 to CHF 300. Higher deductibles up to a maximum of CHF 2,500 can be selected in return for a premium discount.
The plan adopted will see the minimum deductible rise by CHF 50 francs whenever the average premium exceeds 13 times the minimum deductible amount. The next CHF 50 rise will occur when the average premium hits CHF 3,900.
Many of those supporting the plan argue that higher deductibles will reduce costs, not

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Why there is so much egg pasta in Switzerland

15 days ago

© Teo Lay Peng | Dreamstime.com Strolling through the pasta aisle of a Swiss supermarket, someone new to Switzerland might conclude that the locals prefer egg pasta over the eggless variety. And, while that might to some extent be true, there is another reason. Every year, Swiss egg producers produce too many eggs and turn …

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Why there is so much egg pasta in Switzerland

17 days ago

Strolling through the pasta aisle of a Swiss supermarket, someone new to Switzerland might conclude that the locals prefer egg pasta over the eggless variety. And, while that might to some extent be true, there is another reason.
© Teo Lay Peng | Dreamstime.com
Every year, Swiss egg producers produce too many eggs and turn to the government for help.
The Federal Office of Agriculture (OFAG) does three things. Firstly, it funds retail egg discounts and runs a “broken egg” programme, which subsidizes the use of eggs as an ingredient in other foods. In 2017, under the “broken egg” scheme the government contributed 9 cents each towards 16.9 million eggs, which were used as ingredients in other food products like pasta. In addition, the government paid 5 cents each towards discounts on 7.9

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Percentage of men in workforce declines in Switzerland

17 days ago

Recently published figures show a 7% decline in the percentage of men in Switzerland’s workforce between 1991 and 2018.
© Volker Husberg _ Dreamstime.com – Click to enlarge
The workforce figures, which include the unemployed, show a fall in male workforce participation from 81% to 74%, a 7% decline over 27 years.
At the same time, the percentage of women working rose 6% from 57% to 63% from 1991 to 2018. Across both genders workforce participation declined 0.5% from 1991 to 2018.
The largest drop for men was among those under 24 (-4.5%). The next biggest decline was among men older than 64 (-3.9%) and men aged 55-64 (-3.9%), with smaller drops for men aged 29-39 (-2.1%) and men aged 40-54 (-3.1%).
Despite living

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Percentage of men in workforce declines in Switzerland

18 days ago

Recently published figures show a 7% decline in the percentage of men in Switzerland’s workforce between 1991 and 2018.
© Volker Husberg _ Dreamstime.com
The workforce figures, which include the unemployed, show a fall in male workforce participation from 81% to 74%, a 7% decline over 27 years.
At the same time, the percentage of women working rose 6% from 57% to 63% between 1991 and 2018. Workforce participation for both genders combined declined 0.5% from 1991 to 2018.
The largest drop for men was among those under 24 (-4.5%). The next biggest decline was among men older than 64 (-3.9%) and men aged 55-64 (-3.9%), with smaller drops for men aged 29-39 (-2.1%) and men aged 40-54 (-3.1%).
Despite living longer, a smaller percentage of both men and women over 64 are in the workforce. The

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Decathlon to expand in Switzerland

29 days ago

© Björn Wylezich _ Dreamstime.com The low-cost French sports goods chain has plans to expand in Switzerland. 14 new stores, employing between 500 and 600 staff, are planned for 2019, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes. Many of the new stores will be refurbished Athleticum stores. Décathlon teamed up with Athleticum in 2018. In German-speaking …

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Drug makers paid Swiss doctors 12.5 million francs in 2017

29 days ago

© Pojoslaw | Dreamstime.com Since 2016, drug makers have voluntarily published the amounts they pay to Swiss doctors, who prescribe drugs to patients. In 2017 the sum was CHF 12.5 million, according to the association Science Industries. In 2016, the same figure was CHF 14 million. While drug makers publish the amounts paid, the information …

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Average Swiss rent barely rises over 7 years

February 23, 2019

© Sergey Novikov | Dreamstime.com Recently published data show that close to 60% of households in Switzerland rented their home at an average cost of CHF 1,329 per month in 2017. Average monthly rents ranged from CHF 752 for a studio up to CHF 2,323 for 6 rooms or more. The average household size in …

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Decathlon to expand in Switzerland

February 22, 2019

The low-cost French sports goods chain has plans to expand in Switzerland. 14 new stores, employing between 500 and 600 staff, are planned for 2019, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.
© Björn Wylezich _ Dreamstime.com
Many of the new stores will be refurbished Athleticum stores. Décathlon teamed up with Athleticum in 2018.
In German-speaking Switzerland, the first stores will open in Suhr (Aargau) and Baar (Zug) in March. These will be followed by stores in Bern, Winterthur and St. Gallen in April. The final store is scheduled to open in Zurich in August.
French-speaking Switzerland will get two stores opening in Avry, outside Fribourg, and Villeneuve, near Montreux, in April and October respectively.
Decathlon currently has nine stores in Switzerland in Marin-Epagnier, Geneva,

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Drug makers paid Swiss doctors 12.5 million francs in 2017

February 22, 2019

Since 2016, drug makers have voluntarily published the amounts they pay to Swiss doctors, who prescribe drugs to patients. In 2017 the sum was CHF 12.5 million, according to the association Science Industries.
© Pojoslaw | Dreamstime.com
In 2016, the same figure was CHF 14 million.
While drug makers publish the amounts paid, the information published does not always reveal the names of doctors receiving the money. Consumers of health services are therefore not always able to see how much money their doctor might have received and whether it might have influenced their choice of drugs.
In 2017, Bayer dished out CHF 865,000, the most anonymous money. 62% of the total CHF 1.4 million it paid to Swiss doctors made its way into the pockets of unnamed doctors. In 2018, Bayer announced that it

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Average Swiss rent barely rises over 7 years

February 22, 2019

Recently published data show that close to 60% of households in Switzerland rented their home at an average cost of CHF 1,329 per month in 2017.
© Sergey Novikov | Dreamstime.com
Average monthly rents ranged from CHF 752 for a studio up to CHF 2,323 for 6 rooms or more.
The average household size in Switzerland was 2.23 people in 2017. 35% lived alone and a further 33% were two people. Only 19% were comprised of four people or more.
The highest average monthly rent was in the canton of Zug (1,837) and the lowest in Jura (907). In Geneva and Vaud average monthly rent was CHF 1,416 and CHF 1,330. In Zurich and Basel it was CHF 1,550 and CHF 1,241 per month.
Average rent per square metre across the country in 2017 was CHF 15.9, with the highest rates charged in Zug (19.5), Geneva (18.7),

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Swiss unemployment rate rises

February 16, 2019

© Gunnar3000 | Dreamstime.com There are various ways to measure unemployment. Switzerland’s standard measure looks at the number of people registered with unemployment offices across the country. By this measure Switzerland’s unemployment recently reached a 10 year low of 2.6%. Today, another unemployment measure was published. It shows a 0.1% increase in unemployment over the fourth quarter …

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Switzerland an ideal environment for the sale and consumption of drugs

February 15, 2019

A recent report by Addiction Suisse says Switzerland has created the ideal environment for the sale and consumption of drugs.
© Jaymast | Dreamstime.com
The report points out the easy availability of drugs in Switzerland. It says illegal drugs can be found quickly, easily and cheaply in Swiss cities. In addition, legal drugs are available around the clock in shops, service stations, vending machines, kiosques, casinos and on the internet.
Among illegal drugs, cocaine is the biggest with around 5 tonnes of cut product consumed in Switzerland annually, most of it arriving via traffickers from West Africa. Next is heroin, with around 2 tonnes circulating in Switzerland every year. Sale and distribution of this drug is dominated by groups of Albanian speakers, according to the report.
The

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Swiss unemployment rate rises

February 14, 2019

There are various ways to measure unemployment. Switzerland’s standard measure looks at the number of people registered with unemployment offices across the country. By this measure Switzerland’s unemployment recently reached a 10 year low of 2.6%.
© Gunnar3000 | Dreamstime.com
Today, another unemployment measure was published. It shows a 0.1% increase in unemployment over the fourth quarter of 2018 to 4.6% or 227,000 people.
This measure, defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), casts the net wider. It includes anyone without paid work who is seeking paid work and available to start working, a measure that includes the long-term unemployed and under employed.
The ILO measure contains some interesting high level contradictions. In the last quarter of 2018, the number of

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Switzerland’s federal surplus even larger than expected

February 14, 2019

© Makasanaphoto | Dreamstime.com In October 2018, government number crunchers revised Switzerland’s federal forecast budget surplus up from CHF 0.3 billion to CHF 2.5 billion. Today, Bern announced that provisional calculations for 2018 now show a surplus of CHF 2.9 billion, CHF 0.4 billion more than last year’s revised figure. The increase was driven by …

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Switzerland’s federal surplus even larger than expected

February 13, 2019

In October 2018, government number crunchers revised Switzerland’s federal forecast budget surplus up from CHF 0.3 billion to CHF 2.5 billion.
© Makasanaphoto | Dreamstime.com
Today, Bern announced that provisional calculations for 2018 now show a surplus of CHF 2.9 billion, CHF 0.4 billion more than last year’s revised figure. The increase was driven by strict spending discipline and higher than expected receipts, according to the press release.
In 2017, Switzerland managed a surplus of CHF 2.8 billion.
At the end of 2017, total public debt1 in Switzerland’s was 29.5% of GDP or CHF 23,257 per inhabitant. Applying last year’s surplus of CHF 2.9 billion to Switzerland’s CHF 197 billion debt mountain would only reduce it by 1.5% or CHF 341 per person. Excluding interest payments, another 68

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Switzerland’s gender pay gap closes further

February 6, 2019

© Charlieaja | Dreamstime.com A recent survey by the Federal Statistical Office shows the overall median pay gap in Switzerland’s private sector shrunk to 12% in 2016, down from 12.5% in 2014 and 15.6% in 2010. In 2016, median pay for women was CHF 6,011 francs a month and median pay for men was CHF …

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Switzerland set to ban the grinding of live baby chickens

February 5, 2019

Only female hens can lay eggs. Many of the hens used to produce eggs come from hatcheries that sort and dispose of the male chicks.
© Emiralikokal | Dreamstime.com
One way some dispose of these unwanted chicks is by grinding them alive, a gruesome process known as maceration – this video shows how it’s done [WARNING: graphic footage].
Defenders of animal rights in Switzerland want this practice ended. A parliamentary commission recently voted 13 to 7 in favour of a motion to change the law to include a ban on maceration of chick in Switzerland, according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.
The move follows a petition by Switzerland’s vegan society entitled: chicks are not rubbish.
The petition calls for other changes, including bans on the importation of fur and hunting trophies. However, these

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Switzerland’s gender pay gap closes further

February 5, 2019

A recent survey by the Federal Statistical Office shows the overall median pay gap in Switzerland’s private sector shrunk to 12% in 2016, down from 12.5% in 2014 and 15.6% in 2010.
© Charlieaja | Dreamstime.com
In 2016, median pay for women was CHF 6,011 francs a month and median pay for men was CHF 6,830. The gap rose to 18.54% for the highest management positions. Here median pay for men was CHF 10,878 and CHF 8,861 for women. For those with no managerial responsibility the gap was only 8.4% – CHF 5,607 for women and CHF 6,121 for men.
However, because the study does not compare pay on a job for job basis, it is unable to reveal whether women were being paid less than men for the same job.
A report published by the head hunting firm Korn Ferry found pay differences between men and women

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Nearly Half of Swiss Admit to Stealing

January 31, 2019

© Industryviews Dreamstime.com – Click to enlarge Either at work, at a restaurant, on public transport or in a shop, nearly half of Swiss admit to stealing, according to a survey by moneyland.ch 49% of the 1,500 questioned in the survey admitted to pocketing something without paying. Young people admitted to being the most light …

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Nearly half of Swiss admit to stealing

January 29, 2019

Either at work, at a restaurant, on public transport or in a shop, nearly half of Swiss admit to stealing, according to a survey by moneyland.ch
© Industryviews | Dreamstime.com
49% of the 1,500 questioned in the survey admitted to pocketing something without paying.
Young people admitted to being the most light fingered. Around a fifth of those aged 18-25 had taken something from the supermarket Migros (20%) or Coop (18%). The rates for all adults were lower: Migros (12%) and Coop (11%). 1% admitted to stealing regularly from these supermarkets.
Failing to pay for public transport was common too. 34% of all adults admitted to doing this at least once, a figure that rose to 48% among 18-25 year olds.
Reported rates of theft from work or colleagues (18%) and restaurants and hotels (13%)

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Half of Swiss happy with their finances

January 26, 2019

© Pavalache Stelian | Dreamstime.com A recent survey suggests that half of Swiss residents are satisfied with their financial situation. 6% said they have trouble making ends meet. In addition, 28% expect their finances to improve in 2019. Fewer women (25%) are optimistic than men (33%). 18% expect their finances to worsen and 54% expect …

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Swiss organic farm output doubles

January 25, 2019

Between 1999 and 2017 the amount of organic food produced on Swiss farms more than doubled.
© Stefano Ember -Dreamstime.com_ – Click to enlarge
In 1999, 5.3% of Switzerland’s farm output was organic. By 2017 this figure had risen to 11.7%. In 1999, Swiss farms produced CHF 562 million worth of organic food. In 2017, they produced CHF 1.2 billion.
Consumers are spending more and more on organic produce. From 1998 to 2017, the average percentage of total food expenditure on organic food rose from 4% to 9%.
Based on food value, Swiss organic farming is only slightly more labour intensive than the non-organic sort. In 2017, organic farming employed 13.4% of farm labour while producing 11.7% of what ended up in consumer

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Switzerland scores well on youth job market conditions but suffers from skills mismatch

January 24, 2019

A recent report places Switzerland second in a ranking of 33 european countries on conditions in the youth labour market in 2016 – youth are those between 15 and 24.
©-Tea-_-Dreamstime.com_ – Click to enlarge
Switzerland’s overall score of 5.67 out of 7.00 is close to Denmark’s 5.72. Switzerland’s highest scores are for employment rate (6.01) and working conditions (5.77), with education (5.36) and smoothness of transition to work (5.52) coming in lower.
This version of the report is focused on the skills mismatch, a measure of how much worker qualifications fail to fit what employers are seeking. The report uses the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition, which compares the share of people employed with

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