Swiss Canton Ticino to vote on raising minimum wage

Swiss Canton Ticino to vote on raising minimum wage

Switzerland’s southernmost canton, Ticino, will hold a referendum on raising the minimum wage. The new proposals would increase the minimum salary to 21,50 Swiss francs an hour.

No national minimum wage in Switzerland

Currently, Switzerland does not have a national minimum wage. Instead, each Swiss canton is able to impose its own minimum salary for workers. Ticino is one of the five cantons that currently has a minimum wage, the others being Basel Stadt, Neuchatel, Jura and Geneva. Some cities in Canton Zurich also have a minimum wage.

While this does mean an employer can determine their own minimum salary in most cantons, in practice, workers are free to haggle for a higher salary, more working hours and generous benefits as part of negotiations on their work contract. In large international companies and domestic industries, this can also include union representation.

Ticino campaigners call for social minimum wage

The advocates for the Ticino referendum are calling for a so-called “social minimum wage.” The plan would see the minimum wage raised from 19 Swiss francs an hour - the lowest minimum wage in the country - to 21,50 Swiss francs. 

Advocates argue that the current minimum wage does not take into account the rising cost of living and inflation. They have submitted 12.000 signatures to the cantonal authorities, confirming that the proposal will become a referendum. The canton is yet to assign a date for the vote.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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