Swiss vote on pensions and retirement age

Swiss citizens went to the polls on Sunday in a referendum about two questions concerning pension reforms. 

They will decide whether to raise the retirement age from 65 to 66 and increase pension payments in two separate proposals. 

The fate of the first question appears pretty much clear. Polls show that more than 60% of voters will reject the age raise proposal, which also seeks to tie retirement age “flexibly” to life expectancy. 

However, the second proposal seeking to boost pension payments could get through, though the outcome remains unclear. 

Voters against the retirement age increase claim the elderly already have problems finding work, with the rise potentially worsening the situation. 

Swiss citizens have repeatedly rejected initiatives to increase the retirement age, which has remained unchanged since state pensions were introduced in 1948. 

Life expectancy in Switzerland is currently one of the highest in the world. A Swiss male born in 2022 can expect to live 81.6 years, while for women it is 85.4 years, according to the Swiss Federal Statistics Office

The second initiative wants to add a 13th pension payment in a year, just like the 13th month of salary many employees in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe receive. 

Monthly social security payments in Switzerland can rise to 2,450 Swiss francs (2,553 euros) for individuals and 3,675 francs (3830 euros) for married couples.

Switzerland is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive countries in the world. 

A kilo of chicken costs around 25 euros and a loaf of bread is around 3.20 euros, according to the cost of living tracker Numbeo

Critics of the pension payment boost claim it will be costly for the state and could lead to tax increases. 

Countries across Europe are grappling with how to solve issues relating to their ageing populations. 

Early indications suggest the Swiss referendum could be popular, with postal votes in recent days attracting a record number of voters.

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