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Swiss rents set to rise as much as 15 percent

4 days ago

Close to half of renters is Switzerland could face significant increases in rent, estimates Zürich Kantonalbank (ZKB), with rents potentially rising as much as 15% over the next five years, reported the newspaper Blick.

© Beriliu | Dreamstime.comThe reference mortgage rate used to set rents, which was has been 1.25% since March 2020 could rise as high as 2.5% between now and 2027, said the bank in a recently published real estate report.

This means that any leases with a clause linking rents to the reference mortgage rate could rise. These contracts grant landlords the right to raise rents when the rate rises. At the same time renters can demand rent reductions when the rate falls.

In addition, low and declining home vacancy rates in Switzerland are giving landlords the upper

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Switzerland’s 2023 motorway vignette unveiled

4 days ago

Every year Switzerland’s motorway vignette is a different colour. Next year it’s yellow.

Valid from 1 December 2022 until 31 January 2024, the new stickers must be displayed by anyone using Switzerland’s motorway network.

The price remains the same. The motorway stickers have cost CHF 40 for 28 years. Introduced after a referendum in 1985, the sticker originally cost CHF 30 before increasing to CHF 40 in 1995. Inflation since 1995 means the sticker costs in real terms around 15% less than it did in 1995.

To be valid the vignette must be stuck directly to the inside of the windscreen in specified places. Once peeled off vignettes cannot be reused.

2022 stickers remains valid until 31 January 2023. Cars, motorcycles and trailers all need a valid sticker to be used on

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Switzerland adopts EU’s eighth package of sanctions

5 days ago

On 23 November 2022, Switzerland’s Federal Council adopted the latest round of EU sanctions against Russia.

© Petr Pohudka | Dreamstime.comIn response to Russia’s ongoing military aggression against Ukraine, as well as Russia’s continued efforts to destabilise and undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and security, the European Union (EU) adopted new measures against Russia on 6 October as part of the eighth package of sanctions, said the Swiss government.

Following further sanctions by the EU, On 12 October 2022, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) made certain amendments and sanctioned around 30 additional persons and entities.

Effective from 23 November 2022, the Federal Council will adopted the remaining

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Inter-cantonal tax transfers to rise 5 percent in 2023

11 days ago

© Eugenesergeev | Dreamstime.com On 16 November 2022, Switzerland’s federal government announced the sums that will be transferred between the nation’s statelets or cantons in 2023, a mechanism aimed at ensuring wealthy cantons support those with weaker economies. In 2023, CHF 5.6 billion will be transferred, a sum CHF 290 million greater than in 2022 (+5%). The total …

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Inter-cantonal tax transfers to rise 5 percent in 2023

11 days ago

On 16 November 2022, Switzerland’s federal government announced the sums that will be transferred between the nation’s statelets or cantons in 2023, a mechanism aimed at ensuring wealthy cantons support those with weaker economies.

© Eugenesergeev | Dreamstime.comIn 2023, CHF 5.6 billion will be transferred, a sum CHF 290 million greater than in 2022 (+5%). The total sum is equivalent to less than 1% of Swiss GDP.

Under the national financial equalisation mechanism, six cantons will transfer some of their tax revenue to Switzerland’s 20 other cantons in 2023.

Switzerland’s cantons have very different tax bases, costs and tax rates. Taxes in Switzerland are comprised of federal taxes, cantonal taxes and municipal taxes. Federal taxes are the same across all of Switzerland.

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Confidential drug deals push up cost of Swiss healthcare, claims association

11 days ago

Around CHF 8 billion is spent annually on medicines prescribed for specific diseases in Switzerland. 20 drugs account for about a fifth of this cost, many of them sold at prices negotiated in secret. These confidential drug price negotiations are one of the reasons the cost of Swiss healthcare is rising so fast, claims Curafutura, an association representing Swiss health insurance companies.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.comAccording to Curafutura drugs aimed at specific diseases cost patients and taxpayers in Switzerland CHF 8 billion for the year up to the end of September 2022. This represents close to CHF 1,000 per person. The most expensive 20 of these medicines cost CHF 1.7 billion. In addition, the cost of the seven drugs among the top 20 that are priced based on

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Swiss hotels soon allowed to undercut platforms on price

11 days ago

Many agencies and online platforms get hotels to sign contracts that stop them offering prices lower than those offered by the agency or platform. From 1 December 2022, it will no longer possible to legally enforce these arrangements as they will be deemed an unfair trading practice.

© BiancoBlue | Dreamstime.comOn 16 November 2022, the Federal Council brought new regulations into effect aimed at ensuring that Swiss hotels are able to freely set their prices and offers regardless of any contracts they may have signed.

The new ban enables hotels to promote direct sales via their own websites and lower prices to strengthen their competitiveness. Platforms charge commissions so hotels can generate higher margins on direct sales.

In addition, consumers planning holidays in

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Swiss fondu gets its own trademark

11 days ago

The Swiss cheese fondu “moitié-moitié”, which means half-half in English, will soon have its own figurative trademark, reports RTS.

On 16 November 2022, the cheese producers’ association in the canton of Fribourg announced that it had applied for a trademark for the well-known “moitié-moitié” cheese fondu, which is made up of a 50/50 mix of Gruyere AOP and Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP cheeses made in the canton of Fribourg.

According to the association, the trademark is needed because the term “moitié-moitié” is being applied to fondus that do not follow the correct recipe, a practice that is confusing for consumers and detrimental to the canton’s farmers and cheese producers.

It is hoped the new brand will boost the product and improve traceability.

Gruyere AOP cheese is well

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Vote on pension reform most divisive in Swiss history

18 days ago

Switzerland’s recent vote on state pension reform on 25 September 2022, divided men and women, reported RTS.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.comThe vote was split into two parts. The first asked whether the state pension age for women should rise from 64 to 65 to bring it into line with the pension age for men. The second part asked whether VAT should rise from 7.7% to 8.1% to fund a looming pension funding shortfall.
According to an analysis by the survey firm gfs.bern, 64% of men voted in favour of increasing the pension age compared to only 38% of women. On the question of higher VAT to better fund pensions, 66% of men voted in favour compared to 45% of women.
The difference of 26 percentage points between men and women on the first question is a record

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Vote on pension reform most divisive in Swiss history

18 days ago

Switzerland’s recent vote on state pension reform on 25 September 2022, divided men and women, reported RTS.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.comThe vote was split into two parts. The first asked whether the state pension age for women should rise from 64 to 65 to bring it into line with the pension age for men. The second part asked whether VAT should rise from 7.7% to 8.1% to fund a looming pension funding shortfall.

According to an analysis by the survey firm gfs.bern, 64% of men voted in favour of increasing the pension age compared to only 38% of women. On the question of higher VAT to better fund pensions, 66% of men voted in favour compared to 45% of women.

The difference of 26 percentage points between men and women on the first question is a record according to the

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Swiss construction workers protest over hours and pay

18 days ago

After construction workers went out on strike for two days in French-speaking Switzerland, construction workers protested in Zurich over hours and pay on 11 November 2022, reported RTS.

Photo by Rodolfo Quirós on Pexels.comWith inflation in Switzerland running at 3%, construction workers are demanding higher pay. However, the construction industry has responded with an offer of better pay tied to higher maximum hours. The industry would like maximum weekly hours to rise to 58 and the maximum number of daily hours to 12. Employers are also asking for changes that would make it easier to layoff older workers. The industry is asking for these concessions in return for a pay increase.

Workers are unhappy with higher maximum hours and argue they should get a pay increase to compensate

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Swiss construction workers protest over hours and pay

18 days ago

After construction workers went out on strike for two days in French-speaking Switzerland, construction workers protested in Zurich over hours and pay on 11 November 2022, reported RTS.
Photo by Rodolfo Quirós on Pexels.comWith inflation in Switzerland running at 3%, construction workers are demanding higher pay. However, the construction industry has responded with an offer of better pay tied to higher maximum hours. The industry would like maximum weekly hours to rise to 58 and the maximum number of daily hours to 12. Employers are also asking for changes that would make it easier to layoff older workers. The industry is asking for these concessions in return for a pay increase.
Workers are unhappy with higher maximum hours and argue they should get a pay

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Bank predicts home rent rises in Switzerland

18 days ago

© Jan Gajdosik | Dreamstime.com According to the bank Raiffeisen, a future rental housing crisis is likely in Switzerland as the home vacancy rate moves below 1% in 2024, reported 20 Minutes. The combined forces of higher construction costs and higher interest rates have reduced the number of homes being built, said the bank. This combined with the …

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Bank predicts home rent rises in Switzerland

18 days ago

According to the bank Raiffeisen, a future rental housing crisis is likely in Switzerland as the home vacancy rate moves below 1% in 2024, reported 20 Minutes.

© Jan Gajdosik | Dreamstime.comThe combined forces of higher construction costs and higher interest rates have reduced the number of homes being built, said the bank. This combined with the continued growth of the population and a trend towards more living space is expected to create a squeeze as growth in demand outstrips the rise in supply.

Raiffeisen described the situation as an unavoidable crisis, primarily driven by a rental housing shortage. Since the beginning of this year home vacancy rates have fallen from 1.54% to 1.31% across the country. In the cantons of Geneva, Zug and Zurich vacancy rates are already below 1%.

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Qatar 2022: Swiss broadcaster reveals evidence suggesting vote buying

18 days ago

An inquiry presented this week by RTS reveals evidence of likely vote buying related to the choice of Qatar for the 2022 Football World Cup due to start on 20 November 2022.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.comA cloud of corruption has hung over FIFA since 2010 when Qatar was chosen by 14 votes to 8 as the place for the 2022 World Cup. The US was the front runner, however, tiny Qatar, a nation with little in the way of football culture and infrastructure, was chosen. Suspicion has abounded ever since, something FIFA has brushed off by claiming there is no proof of wrong doing.

Sepp Blatter, the head of FIFA at the time, said publicly this week that choosing Qatar was a mistake. Blatter told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that “Qatar is a mistake,” and “the choice was bad.” “It is too

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Switzerland and UK strike science deal

18 days ago

On 10 November 2022, Switzerland and the UK, two nations outside the EU, signed an agreement deepening the relationship between the two nations’ research and innovation communities.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.comThe agreement was signed by UK Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, George Freeman MP, alongside Federal Councillor Parmelin, Head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, at a ceremony in London.

According to the UK government, the two nations together have 10 or Europe’s top 20 research universities. In addition, Switzerland has a number of world class research laboratories and companies such as Roche and Novartis, and commercial space and satellite technology companies, making it a natural partner for the UK, it

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Swiss inflation stable in October

23 days ago

Switzerland’s consumer price index (CPI) remained stable in October 2022 compared with the previous month, reported Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) this week.
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.comThis left year-on-year inflation at the end of October 2022 at 3%, the same level that it was at the end of September 2022.
The stability of the index compared with the previous month is due to opposing trends that counterbalanced each other overall. Prices for gas, heating oil and mobile communication increased, as well as prices for clothing and footwear. In contrast, prices for combined offers for fixed-line and mobile communication, fuels and new cars decreased.
The strong Swiss franc, which has soaked up some of the rising costs of imported goods

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Huge Covid test fraud potentially uncovered in Switzerland

25 days ago

While checking statements from health insurers a number of people have noticed Covid tests that were never administered. One individual in St. Gallen discovered 30 Covid tests billed by a doctor in Vaud on their statement, reported RTS.

© Yauhen Akulich | Dreamstime.comA spokesperson for Santésuisse, a health insurance association, said the organisation estimates that 1% of Covid tests have not been billed correctly and could be fraudulent. The total value of these potentially fraudulent tests could reach CHF 20 million, he said.

The role played by the different parties in the false billing of these tests, a process dubbed factoring, has not yet been established. The way it works is someone buys invoices for thousands of tests from a test centre. But because only medical

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Swiss inflation stable in October

25 days ago

Switzerland’s consumer price index (CPI) remained stable in October 2022 compared with the previous month, reported Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) this week.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.comThis left year-on-year inflation at the end of October 2022 at 3%, the same level that it was at the end of September 2022.

The stability of the index compared with the previous month is due to opposing trends that counterbalanced each other overall. Prices for gas, heating oil and mobile communication increased, as well as prices for clothing and footwear. In contrast, prices for combined offers for fixed-line and mobile communication, fuels and new cars decreased.

The strong Swiss franc, which has soaked up some of the rising costs of imported goods and services,

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Swiss pay rises don’t keep up with inflation

25 days ago

Recent data from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO) show recent collective pay rises fall short of inflation.

© Gfadel | Dreamstime.comSwitzerland’s key labour agreements between employers and unions included a nominal pay rise of 0.8% for 2022 and a 0.6% nominal rise in minimum wages, wrote the FSO on 31 October 2022.

However, set against inflation of 3% over the year to 31 October 2022, pay is 2.2% lower in real terms.

Sectors getting the biggest pay rises include construction (+1.1%), administration (+1.0%), IT (+0.9%), finance and insurance (+0.9) and car and motorcycle repair (+0.9%). Pay rose less for those in manufacturing (+0.8%), transport (+0.8%) and care (+0.7%).

For inflation hawks these small pay rises will be welcomed as they mean there is less extra

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No price rises for Swiss public transport in 2023

29 days ago

© Hai Huy Ton That | Dreamstime.com For the seventh consecutive year, the price of tickets on Swiss public transport will remain unchanged. It will also become easier to buy tickets for bicycles and canine companions, reported RTS. News of no price increases is likely to be welcomed given the relatively high price of Swiss public transport. A …

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No price rises for Swiss public transport in 2023

October 29, 2022

For the seventh consecutive year, the price of tickets on Swiss public transport will remain unchanged. It will also become easier to buy tickets for bicycles and canine companions, reported RTS.

© Hai Huy Ton That | Dreamstime.comNews of no price increases is likely to be welcomed given the relatively high price of Swiss public transport. A survey several years ago put the cost of travelling 100km on public transport in Switzerland at CHF 52, far above France (CHF 19.28), Austria (CHF 14.46), Germany (CHF 14.14) and Italy (CHF 13.46) – prices will have moved since then but then the Swiss franc has also strengthen significantly likely cancelling out any differences.

From 11 December 2022, it will become easier to buy add-on tickets for bikes and dogs. The annual dog pass will also

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Federal commission takes aim at minimum wages

October 28, 2022

Across most of Switzerland there is no minimum wage. However, the cantons of Neuchâtel (CHF 20 per hour), Geneva (CHF 23 per hour), Jura, Ticino and Basel-City have them. This week, a federal parliamentary commission voted in favour of challenging the applicability of these minimum wages, reported RTS.

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.comIf a national negotiation between employers and unions reaches a national deal on wages that is lower than the cantonal minimum it creates a disconnect.

A federal parliamentary motion, endorsed this week by a commission, aims to give pay rates reached in national wage agreements precedence over cantonal minimum wages.

The commission voted 11 to 10 in favour of the plan this week, arguing that current situation regarding cantonal minimum salaries

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Swiss pension funds hit hard by markets

October 28, 2022

At the end of 2021, Swiss employment-based pensions fund in aggregate held assets worth 18.5% more than what they owed. By 30 September 2022, they owed 0.5% more than they held in assets, according to government data published recently.

Switzerland has a three layered pension system. The first layer is a state pension, known as AVS/AHV, which is funded by social security taxes on earnings. The second, known as the second pillar, is a private pension pot funded by compulsory salary deductions. Second pillar pension deductions are invested by regulated pension funds that operate within rules specified by government. However, most are not guaranteed by the government. The third and final layer is an optional tax deductible sum that can be invested more flexibly by its owner.

Data

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Two votes launched against Swiss tax and pension mariage penalty

October 23, 2022

In Switzerland, it pays not to be married. Married couples pay higher taxes and receive lower state pensions than unmarried couples. Two referenda were launched this week to change this, reported RTS.

[caption id="attachment_948338" align="alignleft" width="400"] Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com[/caption]
Across much of the world, individuals and couples pay the same tax and receive the same welfare payments regardless of whether they are married or not. However, Switzerland makes a distinction that penalises married people. This has been dubbed the mariage penalty.

Married couples have their income taxed together so progressive tax rates hurt them more. And they receive 150% of a state pension, compared to two unmarried people who get 100% each. Tax

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European court rules against Swiss gender discrimination

October 22, 2022

Recently, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of Max Beeler, a man who challenged Switzerland on gender based discrimination related to widowers pension payments.

Under current rules widows receive pension payments related to their children for their entire life. Widowers on the other hand receive them only until their children reach the age of 18.

Mr. Beeler lost his wife in an accident in 1994 and stopped receiving pension payments when his youngest child reached 18. If he had been the children’s mother he would have continued to receive the payments.

He argued his case with the Swiss government but failed to achieve equality of treatment. The government said that the presumption that husbands should financially provide for their wives was still valid,

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Swiss state employee pay and numbers should be cut, argues party

October 21, 2022
[caption id="attachment_949458" align="alignleft" width="400"] © Guenter Purin | Dreamstime.com[/caption]

The Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) argued this week that the CHF 6 billion spent on state employees should be cut, reported 20 Minutes.

Since 2007, the amount spent on state employees has risen by around a third from CHF 4.5 billion to more than CHF 6 billion. In 2021, there were close to 40,000 people working for the Swiss state, a number the UDC/SVP would like to see cut by 9%. It would also like to see pay cuts to bring the total cost down to CHF 5 billion, said Thomas Aeschi, a member of the UDC/SVP. In 2020, median pay for state employees was 26% higher than median private sector pay.

However, according to Thomas Schmutz from the Federal Office

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Swiss state employee pay and numbers should be cut, argues party

October 21, 2022

The Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) argued this week that the CHF 6 billion spent on state employees should be cut, reported 20 Minutes.

© Guenter Purin | Dreamstime.comSince 2007, the amount spent on state employees has risen by around a third from CHF 4.5 billion to more than CHF 6 billion. In 2021, there were close to 40,000 people working for the Swiss state, a number the UDC/SVP would like to see cut by 9%. It would also like to see pay cuts to bring the total cost down to CHF 5 billion, said Thomas Aeschi, a member of the UDC/SVP. In 2020, median pay for state employees was 26% higher than median private sector pay.

However, according to Thomas Schmutz from the Federal Office for Human Resources, positions have been eliminated over the years at the same time as number have been

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Swiss electricity consumption down 13 percent

October 21, 2022

The consumption of electricity in Switzerland in September 2022 was 13% lower the the same month last year, according to grid manager Swissgrid, reported RTS.

Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.comThe combined electricity consumption of Swiss businesses and households in September 2022 was lower that the 7-year average for the month, suggesting that the federal government campaign to encourage lower consumption was working. However, another explanation is the unusually warm weather experienced during the month.

Another factor is the way the calculation was done. The electricity is lost in storage and transmission was not included.

More on this:RTS article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now

For more stories like this on Switzerland follow us

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Two votes launched against Swiss tax and pension marriage penalty

October 20, 2022

In Switzerland, it pays not to be married. Married couples pay higher taxes and receive lower state pensions than unmarried couples. Two referenda were launched this week to change this, reported RTS.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.comAcross much of the world, individuals and couples pay the same tax and receive the same welfare payments regardless of whether they are married or not. However, Switzerland makes a distinction that penalises married people. This has been dubbed the marriage penalty.

Married couples have their income taxed together so progressive tax rates hurt them more. And they receive 150% of a state pension, compared to two unmarried people who get 100% each. Tax discrimination affects 450,000 married couples and pension payment differences affect 250,000 retired

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