7 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in October 2022
From new payment slips to energy-saving measures and the threat of strikes, there are loads of important things happening in Switzerland in October 2022. To help keep you in the loop, here are seven things expats need to know about:
1. Swiss government threaten to implement energy-saving measures
The energy-saving saga continues: the past few months have been awash with stories of Swiss cities planning energy-saving measures, shops getting rid of Christmas lights, and, weirdly, the Energy Minister suggesting people shower together to save power.
With the Swiss government’s energy-saving plan already announced, people in Switzerland are expected to follow the voluntary measures designed to save energy and help avoid blackouts this winter. However, if energy consumption is not reduced - which will be hard to determine because the government is currently unable to say how much power people are saving - the Federal Council has warned that stricter measures could be on the horizon in the coming weeks and months.
2. QR-code bills to become standard in Switzerland
From October 1, Switzerland will say goodbye to the red and orange payment slips that are used to pay for bills like those given by health insurance and internet providers. Now, after an agreement was made between Swiss banks, companies and the government, all bills in Switzerland will be replaced by so-called “QR-code bills.”
In theory, the new type of payment slip will make paying bills faster and easier, as customers are able to scan bills to automatically fill out invoices. There is also good news for the 15 percent of Swiss residents who still pay their bills at the post office, as QR bills do not have to be paid online.
For more information, check out our guide to QR-code bills in Switzerland.
3. Second COVID booster campaign to start on October 10
According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the second COVID booster campaign will begin on October 10. From that date, people over the age of 65 and those with low levels of immunity will be able to receive a second COVID booster jab, bookable through cantonal vaccination websites.
The announcement follows confirmation from Swissmedic back in August that a new Moderna vaccine will be used in the vaccination drive. The new version is said to be better at targeting the sub-variants of Omicron which are most common in Switzerland.
4. Strikes threatened at SWISS and TPG in Geneva
Across October, it is also expected that many private sector unions will announce strike action if demands for higher salaries are not met. So far, the pilots’ union for flag carrier airline SWISS, Aeropers, has announced that it will begin balloting its members for a strike on October 17, after the international company rejected its demands for a salary increase.
In Geneva, members of the Transport Staff Union (SEV) and Transfair have said that a strike at Transports publics genevois (TPG) will go ahead on October 12, bringing mass disruption to local public transport. They are expected to be joined by Geneva's cantonal civil servants, who have voted to strike on the same day.
5. Swiss basic health insurance rates to be confirmed by providers
After the government announced that insurance costs will rise by an average of 6,6 percent next year, providers have until October 31 to tell their customers what their premiums for basic health insurance will be in 2023. Those looking to change their health insurance for next year have until November 30 to make the switch.
6. End of daylight saving time in Switzerland
Despite attempts to scrap the system, on October 30, clocks in Switzerland will be turned back one hour, marking the end of Daylight Saving Time. The sunrise and sunset will be around an hour earlier after the change. While this will mean an extra hour in bed, residents will soon see darker nights roll as the country approaches midwinter.
7. Beginning of autumn and the Swiss school holidays
Finally, the autumn school holidays at Swiss and international schools will begin at some point during October. Many families will take the opportunity to fly abroad, so be sure to expect queues at Swiss airports and especially long queues at airports across Europe like Schiphol.
If you aren’t planning to go away this autumn holiday, why not check out our guides to the best Swiss mountain railways, museums and historical sites? Whatever you plan to do this October, we hope you have fun!