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Majority of Swiss in favour of compulsory vaccination, according to poll

5 days ago

© Wolfgang Spitzbart _ Dreamstime.com According to poll results published over the weekend, 53% of those surveyed in Switzerland were in favour of making Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory, a percentage that rose to 69% for those working in the health sector, reported 20 Minutes. Overall, the percentage supporting compulsory vaccination was higher in German-speaking Switzerland (53.4%) …

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Average Swiss household income reaches nearly 115,000 francs

7 days ago

© Petrina Calabalic | Dreamstime.com The gross mean household income in Switzerland was CHF 114,984 (US$ 125,000) in 2019, according to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). Overall, 40% of households in Switzerland had income over this mean while 60% brought in less. 73% of this income came from working, 23% came from pensions, welfare and …

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Swiss Federal Council rejects two votes on pension reform

8 days ago

© Marlon Trottmann _ Dreamstime.com This week, the Federal Council rejected two very different initiatives aimed at changing the state pension system. In common with much of the developed world, Switzerland is facing a large gap between the money required to fund state pensions and the money flowing in to pay for them, a challenge …

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Average Swiss household income reaches nearly 115,000 francs

9 days ago

The gross mean household income in Switzerland was CHF 114,984 (US$ 125,000) in 2019, according to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

© Petrina Calabalic | Dreamstime.comOverall, 40% of households in Switzerland had income over this mean while 60% brought in less.

73% of this income came from working, 23% came from pensions, welfare and household transfers such as alimony, and 4% from investment income.

In many places an income this high would offer a life of mild extravagance. However, in Switzerland, it disappears fairly fast.

37% went on taxes, compulsory health insurance, other unavoidable insurance and household transfers such as alimony. A further 14% went on housing and energy, 6% on food and 7% on transport, bringing the total consumed to 65%.

At this point

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Swiss Federal Council rejects two votes on pension reform

11 days ago

This week, the Federal Council rejected two very different initiatives aimed at changing the state pension system.

© Marlon Trottmann _ Dreamstime.comIn common with much of the developed world, Switzerland is facing a large gap between the money required to fund state pensions and the money flowing in to pay for them, a challenge driven by increasing life expectancy, a rise in the number of pensioners as the population ages and the way the system is funded.

Switzerland’s government is busy working on pension reform. However, some see it doing too little too slowly and have launched initiatives to spur greater action.

The first referendum is aimed at linking the state retirement age to life expectancy. Increasing the pension age in line with life expectancy puts a cap on the

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Swiss franc highest against Euro since July 2015

14 days ago

© Skovalsky | Dreamstime.com On 19 November 2021, the Euro went below 1.05 Swiss francs, the lowest it has been since July 2015. The Swiss franc is viewed as a safe haven currency and tends to rise when markets are bearish. However, this week the shift in exchange rate may have had more to do …

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Swiss franc highest against Euro since July 2015

16 days ago

On 19 November 2021, the Euro went below 1.05 Swiss francs, the lowest it has been since July 2015.

© Skovalsky | Dreamstime.comThe Swiss franc is viewed as a safe haven currency and tends to rise when markets are bearish. However, this week the shift in exchange rate may have had more to do with the situation in Euro zone than a shift to safety.

The Euro has recently weakened against a number of currencies including the Yen, US dollar and Pound. Currency traders appear to be concerned about the accommodative stance of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the recent rapid rise in cases of Covid-19 across the zone.

One question in the minds of some is whether the Swiss National Bank (SNB) will respond. A rate of 1.05 Swiss francs to the Euro is an unofficial minimum rate that the

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Lights out – Geneva to cut lights to save electricity

16 days ago

This week, the government of the canton of Geneva changed a law to require non residential buildings, with some exceptions, to switch off their lights at night between 1am and 6am.
Thursday’s parliamentary vote in favour of the move is expected to cut the canton’s electricity consumption by at least 1%. During parts of winter, Switzerland imports electricity to keep its lights on. In November 2021, Switzerland’s president warned the nation to prepare for electricity shortages.
Lighting that will be exempted from Geneva’s new rules includes emergency services lighting and lighting in prominent tourist areas. After much debate and less consensus, it was decided that shop windows would also be exempted.
In addition to making it difficult to see stars, artificial

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Cyber-bullying and stalking on the rise in Switzerland

16 days ago

Online harassment and cyberstalking are increasingly widespread in Switzerland, according to a recent survey. And the problem is no longer confined young people, reported RTS.

© Katie Nesling | Dreamstime.comThe survey, which questioned 4,000 18-65 year olds in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland between 2 and 11 August 2021, found that the number of cases of harassment had increased by 10.6% since 2018. 39% of those surveyed said they had been harassed at least once.

Among those aged 18 to 24, almost a half reported being harassed and 21% being cyber-stalked. Nearly half of cases occurred at work. The rates were of bullying reported were 1.4 times higher for women than for men. Jealousy and physical appearance were the most common causes of harassement.

Half of the

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Deadline for changing Swiss health insurance approaching

17 days ago

Once a year it is possible to (easily) change your health insurance in Switzerland. To do so you must cancel your existing policy by 30 November, a date fast approaching.

© Tero Vesalainen | Dreamstime.comDeadline for annual changes is 30 NovemberInsurers must tell their members what next year’s premiums will be by 31 October. Members then have until 30 November to cancel their insurance contract for the following year. All basic insurance contracts offer this possibility. This means if you want to change to a different provider in 2022 you need to cancel you existing policy by 30 November 2021.

What is basic health insurance?Basic insurance is compulsory and breaks down into two elements: cover for illness and cover for accidents. By default policies cover both. Those with accident

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People working less in Switzerland

17 days ago

The amount of time spent working in Switzerland has been steadily declining since 2010, according to recent statistics from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

© Andrey Armyagov | Dreamstime.comIn 2020, an employed person worked an average of 1,495 hours a year in Switzerland, 7.2% or 13.8 days less than in 2010.

To reveal the sharp drop in work hours in 2020 due to interruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic the data is split into the periods between 2010-2019 and 2019-2020.

Between 2010 and 2019, the effective annual working time per employed person in Switzerland fell by 3.9%, or 7.4 days. The main drivers behind this fall were more part time work, less overtime and increased holidays.

Over the decade from 2010, holidays have risen by an average of 0.8 days to 5.2

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Levelling up – the cantons giving and taking in 2022

17 days ago

In 2022, under the national financial equalisation mechanism, 6 cantons will transfer some of their tax revenue to Switzerland’s 20 other cantons.

© Swisshippo | Dreamstime.comSwitzerland’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. However, cantonal and municipal taxes range significantly.

Before 2008, all of the cantonal taxes raised by a canton were spent there. In 2008, this changed. Now every year rich cantons have to give some of their tax revenue to poorer cantons under a system know as the péréquation financière nationale or Finanzausgleich.

In 2022, a total of CHF 5.3 billion will be paid to 20 cantons. CHF 3.6

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Lights out – Geneva to cut lights to save electricity

17 days ago

This week, the government of the canton of Geneva changed a law to require non residential buildings, with some exceptions, to switch off their lights at night between 1am and 6am.

Thursday’s parliamentary vote in favour of the move is expected to cut the canton’s electricity consumption by at least 1%. During parts of winter, Switzerland imports electricity to keep its lights on. In November 2021, Switzerland’s president warned the nation to prepare for electricity shortages.

Lighting that will be exempted from Geneva’s new rules includes emergency services lighting and lighting in prominent tourist areas. After much debate and less consensus, it was decided that shop windows would also be exempted.

In addition to making it difficult to see stars, artificial light has a negative

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Switzerland’s fastest and slowest growth cantons

21 days ago

© Eva Bocek | Dreamstime.com This week, Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office published the latest cantonal GDP figures. Switzerland’s overall GDP growth in 2019 was 1.2%. However there were wide cantonal differences. The six fastest growing cantons in 2019 were Obwalden (+3.5%), Glarus (+3.2%), Zug (+2.7%), Basel-City (+2.6%), Luzern (+2.6%) and Valais (+2.5%). At the other …

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After 95 years, Migros set to sell alcohol

24 days ago

Last weekend the management of one of Switzerland’s two largest supermarkets voted in favour of selling alcohol in its stores, reported the company.

© Tea | Dreamstime.comCompany founder Gottlieb Duttweiler, who passed away in 1962, did not want the business to sell alcohol, something that was prevented by the cooperative’s constitution. Duttweiler did not want to fuel alcohol addiction with cut-price beer or other alcoholic beverages sold by the business he founded in 1925. However, on 7 November 2021, those in charge voted in favour of modifying the document clearing the way for sales of alcohol in its 630 stores.

The ban on booze sales at Migros stores is contradictory. The company is already selling alcohol via its Denner, Voi and Migrolino stores and via its online store.

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Switzerland’s fastest and slowest growth cantons

24 days ago

This week, Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office published the latest cantonal GDP figures. Switzerland’s overall GDP growth in 2019 was 1.2%. However there were wide cantonal differences.

© Eva Bocek | Dreamstime.comThe six fastest growing cantons in 2019 were Obwalden (+3.5%), Glarus (+3.2%), Zug (+2.7%), Basel-City (+2.6%), Luzern (+2.6%) and Valais (+2.5%). At the other end of the spectrum were the cantons of Basel-Landschaft (-0.1%), Nidwalden (-0.3%) and Zurich (-0.5%).

To some degree these regional patterns are reflected in differences in industry performances. Pharmaceuticals (+10.4%), banking (+3.1%) and healthcare (+3.0%) all performed well in 2019. By contrast machine production (-6.2%), wholesale trade (-2.4%) and head office activity (-4.5%) performed poorly.

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Initiative launched for vote to agree Swiss deal with EU

November 5, 2021

A group called Opération Libero and the Green party plan to come together to launch a referendum to require Switzerland’s federal government to sign new deal with the EU.

© VanderWolfImages | Dreamstime.comAt a meeting on 26 May 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Council evaluated the results of Switzerland’s negotiations with the EU around the institutional framework agreement, an agreement aimed at replacing the country’s current patchwork of agreements with the bloc, and decided not to sign, unilaterally ending discussions with Brussels.

Since then very little has happened. Those behind the planned referendum are concerned that Switzerland is being progressively sidelined by the EU, something that is happening without any input from parliament or voters, reported 20 Minutes.

The

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Inflation continues to rise in Switzerland reaching 3-year high

November 4, 2021

At the end of October 2021, annual inflation in Switzerland reached 1.2% after rising 0.3% over the month, according to the Federal Statistical Office. This is the highest the annual rate has been since August 2018 when it reached 1.2%.

© Cameracraft8 | Dreamstime.comThe price rises hitting Swiss pockets the hardest over the last 12 months include rent (+1.4%), heating (+12.0%) and transport (+7.3%). Rising fuel prices are behind the jumps in heating and transport costs. On the other hand, food prices have declined (-2.0%). These items have an outsized impact on household budgets because of the high proportion of spending that is dedicated to them.

In recent years in Switzerland prices have fallen more than they have risen. Since the end of 2010 cumulative inflation in Switzerland

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Zermatt restaurant operators in prison after defying Covid rules

November 2, 2021

Source: Twitter
Over the weekend the owners of a family-run restaurant were taken into police custody for defiantly operating their restaurant in contravention of Switzerland’s Covid rules, reported 20 Minutes.
On Saturday 30 October 2021, the police arrested the operators of the Walliserkanne restaurant in Zermatt. Three family members, a mother, father and son were arrested on Saturday morning and taken into custody.
The restaurant operators had refused to check whether their diners had valid Covid certificates, something that has been a legal requirement in Switzerland since 13 September 2021.
The arrest followed repeated defiance of police requests. On Friday, the police closed the restaurant at the behest of the cantonal government because the operator was

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Covid: new cases up 30 percent this week in Switzerland

October 31, 2021

© Sergey Timofeev | Dreamstime.com This week, 10,148 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Switzerland, up 30% from the 7,818 recorded the week before. On a 7-day moving average basis, the number of daily new cases was 1,450. The number entering hospital with Covid-19 was stable. Over the last 7 days, 119 Covid-19 patients were admitted to …

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Swiss government deficit for 2021 revised down

October 29, 2021

© Ginasanders | Dreamstime.com The latest forecast for 2021 shows a deficit of CHF 14.8 billion, down CHF 2.6 billion from an earlier forecast shortfall of CHF 17.4 billion. The deficit is driven mainly by the extraordinary cost of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. The federal government expects to spend CHF 4.1 billion on vaccines …

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Swiss government deficit for 2021 revised down

October 28, 2021

The latest forecast for 2021 shows a deficit of CHF 14.8 billion, down CHF 2.6 billion from an earlier forecast shortfall of CHF 17.4 billion. The deficit is driven mainly by the extraordinary cost of responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

© Ginasanders | Dreamstime.comThe federal government expects to spend CHF 4.1 billion on vaccines (1.2) and tests (2.5) in 2021. However, the largest share of extra spending is on full and partial unemployment benefits (6.9). Another CHF 4.8 billion has been spent supporting businesses and cultural organisations and CHF 0.6 billion on transport.

The key differences between the earlier forecast deficit of CHF -17.4 billion made in June 2021 and the one of CHF -14.8 billion published are lower than expected ordinary spending (+0.4) and lower

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Swiss life expectancy drops sharply in 2020

October 28, 2021

© Simona Pilolla | Dreamstime.com Recently published figures show the largest fall in male life expectancy in Switzerland since 1944 and the largest since 1962 for women. In 2020, a year marked by Covid-19, life expectancy at birth fell to 81.0 for men and 85.1 for women, a decline of 0.9 and 0.5 years respectively …

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Switzerland wants to make it easier for some foreign students to stay

October 28, 2021

On 27 October 2021, the Federal Council put forward a plan to change the rules around foreign students working in Switzerland upon completing study at a Swiss university.

© Anuwat Sonhan | Dreamstime.comThe proposed rules would allow those graduating from Swiss universities with masters or doctorates in fields with a shortage of workers to work in Switzerland more easily. The changes would reduce the administrative requirements for obtaining a Swiss work permit. However, a maximum annual number of such permits would be set.

It is hoped the plan will relieve labour shortages in key areas. Some in parliament complained that Switzerland was paying for expensive training of specialists that it cannot employ when their training is completed.

Current rules allow companies to hire

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Switzerland hatches plan to use roads and railways to produce electricity

October 28, 2021

On 27 October 2021, the Swiss government adopted a report setting out how Swiss motorways and railway lines could be used to generate more than 100 GWh of electricity a year.

© Marekusz | Dreamstime.comCalculations in the report show that solar panels placed on noise reduction barriers running along the edges of motorways and railway lines in Switzerland as well as on motorway and rail buildings and platforms could generate 101 GWh of electricity a year.

101 GWh of electricity would be enough to power 22,000 households in Switzerland, according to the report. 101 GWh is around 0.2% of Switzerland’s current 55,700 GWh annual electricity consumption. 22,000 is around 0.6% of the nation’s households.

In September 2021, president Guy Parmelin warned of looming electricity shortages

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Swiss government moves closer to legalising cannabis

October 28, 2021

This week, a Council of States commission accepted a plan to regulate the cannabis trade in Switzerland, reported 20 Minutes. This decision by the public health commission follows an earlier one by a parliamentary commission looking at the same question. The way is now clear for parliament to create a new law that lifts the ban on the use of cannabis in Switzerland.

The Council of States commission voted 9 to 2 in favour of changing the rules around the sale and use of cannabis.

A key argument in favour of change is undermining the black market for the substance. A regulated market with taxes, quality controls and rules around advertising is typically viewed as preferable to an unregulated black market, especially regarding minors.

However, the project still has a long way to go

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Switzerland remains top place for expats in 2021

October 23, 2021

© minnystock | Dreamstime.com Switzerland is the highest rated country in the latest HSBC expat ranking published this week, a position held for the last three years. 91% of the expats surveyed living in Switzerland said their living environment was better than it was before moving. The average on this measure across all expats questioned …

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Left out of Horizon, Switzerland starts funding its own participation

October 22, 2021

This week, Switzerland’s federal council released CHF 400 million to fund Swiss research projects once part of Horizon Europe, an EU research programme that is the world’s most heavily funded. Switzerland was cut out of the programme when it unilaterally ended talks with the EU aimed at agreeing a deal with the bloc.

© Korn Vitthayanukarun | Dreamstime.comSince being cut out of Horizon Europe in July 2021, the Swiss government has earmarked CHF 6.15 billion to fund research over the next 7 years. This week it released CHF 400 million of these funds, reported RTS.

Switzerland is currently deemed an unassociated third party country. This allows Swiss researchers to collaborate in roughly two thirds of Horizon Europe projects without EU financing. The Swiss government has pledged to

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Switzerland remains top place for expats in 2021

October 21, 2021

Switzerland is the highest rated country in the latest HSBC expat ranking published this week, a position held for the last three years.

© minnystock | Dreamstime.com91% of the expats surveyed living in Switzerland said their living environment was better than it was before moving. The average on this measure across all expats questioned was 67%.

After moving, 86% said they felt safer, another of Switzerland’s strong points among expats.

In addition, nearly 9 out of 10 expats living in Switzerland said they hoped to stay at least one year longer. A third said they would happily spend their retirement in Switzerland.

The top 10 countries in 2021 were:

SwitzerlandAustraliaNew ZealandUAEGuernseyJerseyIsle of manBahrainSingaporeQatarOverall, 61% of respondents reported

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