Swiss To Vote On Pensions, Retirement Age

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Switzerland, with an ageing population facing an ever-swelling cost of living, is holding referendums Sunday on two initiatives which would reshape pensioners' lives in different ways.

A proposal to gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 66 looks set to fail, but a second proposal seeking to boost pension payments could squeak through.

That proposal, put forward by Swiss trade unions and entitled "Better living in retirement", calls for a 13th monthly pension payment each year, similar to the "13th month" salary many employees receive in Switzerland and other European countries.

Opinion polls indicate that most Swiss voters favour the initiative, although the "yes" lead has dwindled, and the outcome remains unclear.

Monthly social security payments in Switzerland can rise to 2,450 Swiss francs ($2,780) for individuals and 3,675 francs for married couples.

The payments do not go far in a country consistently ranked among the most expensive in the world.

Rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment in Swiss cities is at least 3,000 francs, and a coffee costs upwards of five francs.

If the Swiss approve the shift, they would not be the first in Europe -- neighbouring Liechtenstein, another pricey nation which uses the Swiss franc, has had a similar system in place for years.

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