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Plans for Swiss paternity leave being discussed

2 days ago

A government commission has come out in favour of paid paternity leave and has until 2 March 2019 to discuss a plan to offer new fathers two weeks of paid leave, according to RTS.
© Pojoslaw | Dreamstime.com
The aim is to come up with a compromise between the 20 days in a referendum being put to voters at some point in the future, and the Federal Council’s rejection of any paid paternity leave.
The commission said it is important to encourage changes that allow parents to share family responsibilities more equally.
Any paid paternity leave would need to conform to rules applied to maternity pay. It would need to be no more than 80% of average pay and be calculated on a daily basis. The father would need to have paid social security taxes for nine months leading up to the birth, be working

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Minimum return on Swiss pensions unchanged

2 days ago

A government commission looking at the rate, called for a reduction to 0.75%, while unions demanded a rise to 1.25%. In the end the Federal Council decided to take the middle road and leave the rate at 1% for 2019.
© Andrey Popov | Dreamstime.com
The rate is the minimum pension funds must apply to employment related 2nd pillar pension assets in 2019.
Some pension funds are concerned about the long term effect imposed rates of return are having on the financial health of pension fund balance sheets.
Rates of return on some asset classes funds invest in are very low in Switzerland. This month, the Swiss government issued 14-year bonds at a rate of 0.5% and the Swiss National Bank continues to charge banks negative interest on money held there.
The Federal Council argued that while the rates

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Children as young as 11 can be held responsible for phone debts at Swisscom

2 days ago

Before the advent of mobile phones few children had phone contracts. Now, many young children have them. So what happens when payments are missed?
© Sebnem Ragiboglu | Dreamstime.com
If the contract is with Swisscom, then children as young as 11 could have debt collectors pursuing them, according to a case reported by RTS.
According to RTS, a 22 year-old woman ran into trouble renting a home after discovering she had a debt registered against her. When she was 13 her mother entered into a phone contract in her name and failed to keep up with the payments, racking up a debt of 1,000 francs.
Contacted by RTS, a Swisscom spokesperson explained that a minor can have a contract in their name if a parent or guardian agrees and signs. These contracts are available for children from the age of

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Switzerland’s rising rate of farm suicide

2 days ago

© Leonid Eremeychuk | Dreamstime.com The high and rising suicide rate among Switzerland’s male farmers stands in contrast to the declining rate among rural men working in other professions, according to a new study by the University of Bern published by the newspaper SonntagsZeitung. The rate among rural men working outside farming is 33 per …

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Switzerland’s rising rate of farm suicide

3 days ago

The high and rising suicide rate among Switzerland’s male farmers stands in contrast to the declining rate among rural men working in other professions, according to a new study by the University of Bern published by the newspaper SonntagsZeitung.
© Leonid Eremeychuk | Dreamstime.com
The suicide rate among male farmers was 38 per 100,000, a rate that has been rising since 2003. Between 1991 and 2014, 447 farmers in Switzerland took their lives.
The rate among all rural men was 33 per 100,000 over the same period. The latest figures (2015) from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office put the male suicide rate across all of Switzerland at 16.6 per 100,000.
Concern for the future, worries about money and succession plans were the main reasons cited for why more Swiss farmers are reaching the

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New Swiss broadcasting fee starts next year

10 days ago

© Scyther5 | Dreamstime.com After a referendum in March 2018 threatened to axe Switzerland’s costly broadcasting fee, the government put forward a counter proposal, which was adopted when 71.6% of voters voted to keep the fee. On 1 January 2019, the lower fee contained in the government’s plan will come into force. Next year, instead …

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New Swiss broadcasting fee starts next year

11 days ago

After a referendum in March 2018 threatened to axe Switzerland’s costly broadcasting fee, the government put forward a counter proposal, which was adopted when 71.6% of voters voted to keep the fee.
© Scyther5 | Dreamstime.com
On 1 January 2019, the lower fee contained in the government’s plan will come into force. Next year, instead of CHF 451, each household will need to cough up CHF 365.
Virtually every household must pay the fee. The range of possibilities for opting out is very narrow. Only those who receive certain kinds of welfare, diplomats and their assistants, and those with no receiving devices qualify. Receiving devices include smartphones, car radios and computers with internet access. Those opting out must apply every year after they receive their first bill.
The new fee will

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Geneva Aims for a New Company Tax Rate of 13.79 percent

14 days ago

According to bilan.ch, Geneva’s Council of State, or executive, has put forward a proposed corporate tax rate of 13.79% as part of its tax reform project, work triggered by international pressure on Switzerland and its cantons to remove preferential tax treatment for certain international companies.
©-Sam74100-_-Dreamstime.com_ – Click to enlarge
This rate is the same as the rate already accepted by the government and voters in the canton of Vaud.
The new lower rate would apply to all companies operating in Geneva instead of the current rate of 24.2%. Companies currently enjoying preferential rates would see their their tax rise a bit while others would pay significantly less.
The aim of the reform is to retain as

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Geneva aims for a new company tax rate of 13.79%

16 days ago

According to bilan.ch, Geneva’s Council of State, or executive, has put forward a proposed corporate tax rate of 13.79% as part of its tax reform project, work triggered by international pressure on Switzerland and its cantons to remove preferential tax treatment for certain international companies.
© Sam74100 | Dreamstime.com
This rate is the same as the rate already accepted by the government and voters in the canton of Vaud.
The new lower rate would apply to all companies operating in Geneva instead of the current rate of 24.2%. Companies currently enjoying preferential rates would see their their tax rise a bit while others would pay significantly less.
The aim of the reform is to retain as many international companies as possible along with the local jobs they create.
Shifting to this

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How to Run a Swiss Business – a Guide to 7 Essential Tasks

16 days ago

Once a business is established, there are many ongoing administrative tasks required by law. The main ones are covered in this article.
The first few relate to employees and the rest to taxation and other essential administrative tasks.
1. Social insurance taxes
Businesses that employ people, including independents, must pay social insurance taxes. These are administered by compensation funds and rates vary slightly by fund and canton, but are around 15% of salaries. The rate for independents is lower.
Once employers are registered with a compensation fund the administration begins.
While there are many elements, such as contributions to the basic old age pension, invalidity insurance, income compensation and

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How to run a Swiss business – a guide to 7 essential tasks

17 days ago

Once a business is established, there are many ongoing administrative tasks required by law. The main ones are covered in this article.
© Lightpoet | Dreamstime.com
The first few relate to employees and the rest to taxation and other essential administrative tasks.
1. Social insurance taxes
Businesses that employ people, including independents, must pay social insurance taxes. These are administered by compensation funds and rates vary slightly by fund and canton, but are around 15% of salaries. The rate for independents is lower.
Once employers are registered with a compensation fund the administration begins.
While there are many elements, such as contributions to the basic old age pension, invalidity insurance, income compensation and unemployment insurance, businesses only need to make

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Investigating suspected welfare cheats – where to draw the line

21 days ago

On 25 November 2018, Swiss will vote on whether to accept laws allowing detectives to uncover welfare fraud.
©-Dan-Grytsku-_-Dreamstime.com_ – Click to enlarge
Currently, there is nothing specific in Swiss law covering the practice. In the past, investigators have been used to gather evidence on disability and accident beneficiaries. Between 2009 and 2016, detectives were used on around 220 investigations a year, of which around two thirds were found guilty of fraud.
In 2016, the European court of human rights ruled that accident beneficiaries should not be tracked because there was no defined Swiss legal framework covering the practice. Then in 2017, the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, ruled against

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Switzerland expecting a 2.5 billion franc federal surplus for 2018

21 days ago

© Marekusz | Dreamstime.com The latest figures forecast Switzerland’s federal spending for 2018 will be CHF 0.9 billion less than expected. This and higher than expected receipts of CHF 1.3 billion add up to an extra CHF 2.2 billion on top of an original budget surplus of CHF 0.3 billion, bringing the total forecast federal …

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Self-Employment declining in Switzerland

22 days ago

The percentage of Switzerland’s workers working for themselves has been slowly declining. In 2010, 13.7% of workers were self-employed. By 2017, the figure was 12.8% – self-employed includes those working as independents and those working for companies they own.
Swiss (14.5%) are far more likely to be self-employed than foreigners (7.9%). This is partly explained by the low number of foreign farmers – farming is the Swiss industry with the highest percentage of owner operators (46%).
©-Boarding1now-_-Dreamstime.com_ – Click to enlarge
The highest concentrations of self-employed are found among those over 65 (43.4%), 55-64 (19.7%) and 40-54 (15.5%). Far fewer young people opt to work for themselves. Only 1.4% of

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Switzerland expecting a 2.5 billion franc federal surplus for 2018

23 days ago

The latest figures forecast Switzerland’s federal spending for 2018 will be CHF 0.9 billion less than expected. This and higher than expected receipts of CHF 1.3 billion add up to an extra CHF 2.2 billion on top of an original budget surplus of CHF 0.3 billion, bringing the total forecast federal surplus to CHF 2.5 billion.
© Marekusz | Dreamstime.com
Switzerland’s federal government is now expecting to spend CHF 70.2 billion is 2018, around CHF 8,300 per resident.
The extra revenue is driven by better than expected growth in the economy, which has boosted VAT and tax receipts – predicted GDP growth of 2.3% is lower than the latest forecast of 3.6%.
The improvement in spending was partly due to lower than expected welfare spending on asylum seekers – 26,000 asylum requests were expected

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Swiss still World’s Richest

23 days ago

According to the annual wealth report produced by Credit Suisse, Switzerland leads on wealth per adult with US$ 530,240, comfortably ahead of second-placed Australia where the figure is US$ 411,060. The US is third with US$ 403,060.
© Sam74100 | Dreamstime.com – Click to enlarge
During the twelve months to mid-2018, aggregate global wealth rose by US$ 14.0 trillion to US$ 317 trillion, a growth rate of 4.6%. Wealth per adult grew by 3.2%, raising global mean wealth to USD 63,100 per adult, a record high. There are now 42 million millionaires worldwide.
Over 60% of Swiss adults have assets above US$ 100,000 and 11% are US$ millionaires.
Switzerland (US$ 183,340) slips behind Australia (US$191,450) on median wealth

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Swiss still world’s richest

23 days ago

According to the annual wealth report produced by Credit Suisse, Switzerland leads on wealth per adult with US$ 530,240, comfortably ahead of second-placed Australia where the figure is US$ 411,060. The US is third with US$ 403,060.
© Sam74100 | Dreamstime.com
During the twelve months to mid-2018, aggregate global wealth rose by US$ 14.0 trillion to US$ 317 trillion, a growth rate of 4.6%. Wealth per adult grew by 3.2%, raising global mean wealth to USD 63,100 per adult, a record high. There are now 42 million millionaires worldwide.
Over 60% of Swiss adults have assets above US$ 100,000 and 11% are US$ millionaires.
Switzerland (US$ 183,340) slips behind Australia (US$191,450) on median wealth per adult, a measure that favours countries with lower levels of wealth inequality. Anyone in

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Self-employment declining in Switzerland

23 days ago

The percentage of Switzerland’s workers working for themselves has been slowly declining. In 2010, 13.7% of workers were self-employed. By 2017, the figure was 12.8% – self-employed includes those working as independents and those working for companies they own.

Swiss (14.5%) are far more likely to be self-employed than foreigners (7.9%). This is partly explained by the low number of foreign farmers – farming is the Swiss industry with the highest percentage of owner operators (46%).
© Boarding1now | Dreamstime.com
The highest concentrations of self-employed are found among those over 65 (43.4%), 55-64 (19.7%) and 40-54 (15.5%). Far fewer young people opt to work for themselves. Only 1.4% of those under 25 and 7.1% of those between 24 and 40 do.
Tertiary qualified people (15.3%) are far

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Investigating suspected welfare cheats – where to draw the line

24 days ago

On 25 November 2018, Swiss will vote on whether to accept laws allowing detectives to uncover welfare fraud.
© Dan Grytsku | Dreamstime.com
Currently, there is nothing specific in Swiss law covering the practice. In the past, investigators have been used to gather evidence on disability and accident beneficiaries. Between 2009 and 2016, detectives were used on around 220 investigations a year, of which around two thirds were found guilty of fraud.
In 2016, the European court of human rights ruled that accident beneficiaries should not be tracked because there was no defined Swiss legal framework covering the practice. Then in 2017, the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, ruled against the practice for disability beneficiaries too.
Since then the government has produced new laws

Read More »

Swiss Rail plans to test free WiFi on trains

28 days ago

© Man Nok Ip | Dreamstime.com Swiss Rail announced on Thursday that it would test free WiFi, named FreeSurf, on certain routes next year with a plan to extend the offer to all major routes from 2020, according to RTS. Train passengers benefiting from the tests in 2019 will be those travelling on InterCity trains …

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Swiss arms exports rose almost 18percent in 2018

29 days ago

© Nwanda76 _ Dreamstime.com Switzerland exported close to 18% more arms over the first nine months of 2018 than it did in the first nine months of 2017, according to figures published by State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). According to the numbers, in the nine months to 30 September 2018, Swiss companies exported close …

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Swiss arms exports rose almost 18% in 2018

October 18, 2018

Switzerland exported close to 18% more arms over the first nine months of 2018 than it did in the first nine months of 2017, according to figures published by State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
© Nwanda76 _ Dreamstime.com
According to the numbers, in the nine months to 30 September 2018, Swiss companies exported close to CHF 300 million of arms, nearly CHF 45 million or 17.6% more than over the same period in 2017.
The largest customers were Germany (60 million), Denmark (51 million), the US (43 million) and France (10 million). These four nations together made up around 55% of the total.
Exports to a total of 61 countries were shown in the report. The Group for a Switzerland without an army (GSoA) claims that weapons were delivered to countries where they could quickly fall

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Swiss Rail plans to test free WiFi on trains

October 18, 2018

Swiss Rail announced on Thursday that it would test free WiFi, named FreeSurf, on certain routes next year with a plan to extend the offer to all major routes from 2020, according to RTS.
© Man Nok Ip | Dreamstime.com
Train passengers benefiting from the tests in 2019 will be those travelling on InterCity trains between Lausanne and St. Gallen, Geneva and Zurich, and Bienne and Basel.
Swiss Rail has not chosen Swisscom as its partner. So far only Salt and Sunrise are involved, however discussions are continuing with Swisscom.
Currently, connecting to the WiFi system requires a Swiss SIM. However, a solution is being sought to allow tourists to connect.
Those with unlimited Swiss data plans will gain nothing by connecting into the new WiFi. In addition, connection will be limited to mobile

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Cost of Swiss healthcare second highest in the world and rising

October 18, 2018

Swiss healthcare costs of 12.2% of GDP are the world’s second highest after the United States where healthcare consumes 17.1% of GDP, according to 2016 figures presented by the Federal Statistical Office on 18 October 2018.

© Victorrustle | Dreamstime.com
Switzerland spent CHF 80.5 billion on healthcare in 2016, the latest figures reveal. This comes out at around CHF 9,600 per resident per year across all age groups.
The percentage of GDP spent on healthcare in Switzerland was 5.2% in 1960, rising to 7.7% by 1980, then to 9.8% in 2000, before rising to 12.2% in 2016. Spending in 2016 was higher than in 2015 (11.9%).

In 2016, 27% more was spent per woman than per man, with big differences during child bearing age and after 75.

In addition, the chart above shows the high average cost of

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Swiss Divorce Rates Continue to Climb

October 12, 2018

By 2017, 40.5% of those married in 1987 were divorced, compared to 33.2% of those married in 1977 and 24.7% of those married in 1967.
©-Bacho12345-_-Dreamstime.com_ – Click to enlarge
Divorce in Switzerland starts early. 9.4% of those married in 1987 were divorced after five years, as were 8.1% of those married in 1977 and 4.8% of those who tied the knot in 1967.
However, rates of divorce among the more recently married have been on a bumpy decline since 1989. 10.5% of those married in 1989 were divorced after 5 years, far more than the 6.3% of those married in 2012.
How does Switzerland compare to other countries?
Divorce rates are higher in the UK. By 2017, 43.6% of those married in 1987 were divorced, 3.1% more

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Swiss divorce rates continue to climb

October 9, 2018

In 2017, 15,906 couples in Switzerland got divorced after an average of 15.1 years together. The majority (56%) split before their 15th anniversary.
© Bacho12345 | Dreamstime.com
In 2017, 40.5% of those married for more than 30 years were divorced, compared to 40.3% in 2016. Breaking up after 30 years of marriage has been rising since records began in 1920 and has risen from 24.7% to 40.5% over the last 20 years.

However, while the rate of divorce after 30 years of marriage has risen, the rate among the more recently married has been on a bumpy decline since 1989. 10.5% of those married in 1989 were divorced after 5 years, far more than the 6.3% of those married in 2012.

Another trend is the rise in average age at first marriage. In 1997 it was 29.8 for men and 27.4 for women. By 2017

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Swiss Health Insurance Costs to Rise Further in 2019

September 25, 2018

More bad news for Swiss household budgets was released today for residents of all but three Swiss cantons.
©-Hai-Huy-Ton-That-_-Dreamstime.com_ – Click to enlarge
Health insurance premiums in 2019 will be on average 1.2% higher than in 2018 across Switzerland as a whole. However, within this figure there are significant cantonal variations.
Hardest hit will be residents of Valais (+3.6%) and Neuchâtel (+3.1%), while those of Appenzell Inherrhoden (-1.5%), Uri (-1.5%) and Zug (+0%) will be spared a shock induced rise in blood pressure.
In addition, averages in cantons with moderate increases, such as Vaud (+1.2%), conceal nasty surprises.
Government rule changes and fiddling by insurers have conspired to leave some

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Swiss health insurance costs to rise further in 2019

September 24, 2018

More bad news for Swiss household budgets was released today for residents of all but three Swiss cantons.
© Hai Huy Ton That _ Dreamstime.com
Health insurance premiums in 2019 will be on average 1.2% higher than in 2018 across Switzerland as a whole. However, within this figure there are significant cantonal variations.
Hardest hit will be residents of Valais (+3.6%) and Neuchâtel (+3.1%), while those of Appenzell Inherrhoden (-1.5%), Uri (-1.5%) and Zug (+0%) will be spared a shock induced rise in blood pressure.

In addition, averages in cantons with moderate increases, such as Vaud (+1.2%), conceal nasty surprises.
Government rule changes and fiddling by insurers have conspired to leave some far poorer. The main change is federal government tinkering to reduce the burden on 19-25 year

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Swiss Housing – the hardest and easiest places to find a home

September 19, 2018

Recent government figures show a 13% rise in the number of vacant homes over the 12 months to June 2018.
The number has more than doubled since 2009 when there were close to 35,000 vacant dwellings. By 1 June 2018, there were more than 72,000, a vacancy rate of 1.62%1
This might sound like good news for home buyers and renters, however it depends on where you hope to live.
The municipality of Horw_© Laurentiu Iordache _ Dreamstime.com – Click to enlarge
Drilling down to a regional level, home-shortage hot spots begin to appear. Greater Geneva (0.6%) and Lausanne (0.7%) have the lowest vacancy rates, followed by greater Basel (1.0%), Zurich (1.0%) and Bern (1.2%).
Drilling down further to the 392 municipalities with

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The hardest and easiest places to find a home in Switzerland

September 18, 2018

Recent government figures show a 13% rise in the number of vacant homes over the 12 months to June 2018.

The number has more than doubled since 2009 when there were close to 35,000 vacant dwellings. By 1 June 2018, there were more than 72,000, a vacancy rate of 1.62%1
This might sound like good news for home buyers and renters, however it depends on where you hope to live.
Drilling down to a regional level, home-shortage hot spots begin to appear. Greater Geneva (0.6%) and Lausanne (0.7%) have the lowest vacancy rates, followed by greater Basel (1.0%), Zurich (1.0%) and Bern (1.2%).
Drilling down further to the 392 municipalities with populations over 5,000, reveals even greater differences.
Three towns (Horw, Hünenberg, Bourg-en-Lavaux) have no vacant properties, 37 places have rates

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