Swiss Workers Vote To Raise Minimum Wage To $25/Hour

Swiss citizens will vote on a referendum to create the world's highest minimum wage at $25 USD per hour.
Posted at 7:58 PM, May 16, 2014

If a Swiss proposal is approved by voters Sunday, Switzerland could soon have the highest minimum wage in the world — some $25 per hour.


The proposal calls for employees to earn at least 22 Swiss francs or roughly $25 US dollars an hour. If voted through, the average 35-hour per week worker could take home at least $45,000 annually.

Fast food workers in the U.S. have long protested on this very issue, demanding the minimum wage be raised — and in some places like New York bring base pay to $15 an hour. (Via WFTS)

Switzerland already employs some of the highest paid workers in the world. According to CNN, government statistics show the average household income is about $6,800 per month, while the U.S. sits around $4,300 per month. That's according to census data.


But supporters of the increase say Switzerland is an expensive place to live. Euronews points out some Swiss workers have opted to live in cheaper European cities, but earn their wages in Switzerland.


“I am Swiss and I live in France, so this level of minimum wage would be really useful, plus the lower rent in France. So I think its very good.” (Via euronews)


However, that man falls in the minority. According to USA Today, a recent poll shows 64 percent of those surveyed are against the proposal.


Major opposition is coming from the conservative-led Swiss government and from business leaders, who argued the initiative would destroy jobs and make it harder for lower skilled employees and young people to enter the workforce.

The BBC spoke with Swiss business director Cristina Gaggini who said the new wage could hurt small business as well.


“A minimum wage can lead to much unemployment and much more poverty than it helps people. For very small companies, it would be very problematic to afford such a high salary.” (Via BBC)

Bloomberg tracked down one small business owner who thinks there might be a bright side no matter which way the public votes.

"If it passes and her shop folds, she could imagine working someplace else -- with a guaranteed minimum income. 'It’ll be great to be an employee,' she said." (Via Bloomberg)


Currently, Switzerland does not have a minimum wage law. Voting takes place this Sunday.