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Swiss widows pensions to be cut to remove discrimination

Summary:
The rules around state pensions for widows and widowers are significantly different, something deemed discriminatory by a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2022. To remove the discrimination, the federal government plans to cut pensions for widows to bring them into line with those for widowers. Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels.comCurrently, women get a lifelong widows’ pension when their husband dies. Bereaved husbands only get one until their children reach the age of 18. The government argues that the current system is out of tune with social reality. The outline of the changes on the table include payments to both widows and widowers up until the youngest child’s 25th birthday. Payments would also be independent of marital status and would be

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The rules around state pensions for widows and widowers are significantly different, something deemed discriminatory by a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2022. To remove the discrimination, the federal government plans to cut pensions for widows to bring them into line with those for widowers.

Swiss widows pensions to be cut to remove discrimination
Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels.com

Currently, women get a lifelong widows’ pension when their husband dies. Bereaved husbands only get one until their children reach the age of 18. The government argues that the current system is out of tune with social reality.

The outline of the changes on the table include payments to both widows and widowers up until the youngest child’s 25th birthday. Payments would also be independent of marital status and would be extended for anyone who cares for an adult child with a disability. Those without dependent children would receive a transitional pension for two years, reported SRF.

Widows over 55 will be spared. They will continue to receive widows’ pensions for life. Anyone under 55 will be subject to the new plan.

A total of 175,850 people currently receive a widows’ and widowers’ pension. The total cost is CHF 1.7 billion. Under the new plan savings of CHF 880 million are expected, a sum that will help to take the pressure off state pension finances, which are heading into the red as Switzerland’s population ages.

Not everyone is happy about the proposed changes. The Socialist Party is strongly against them. Instead of raising widowers’ pensions the government is cutting widows’ ones, said the party. This will hit disadvantaged women.

The reform is expected to come into force in 2035.

More on this:
SRF article (in German) 

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