Family allowance and social security in Geneva to be increased in 2023
The Council of State in the Swiss city of Geneva has announced a new spending package designed to combat the rising cost of living. As people in Switzerland suffer the biggest loss in purchasing power since World War Two, the package will try to help by boosting funding for social security and health subsidies in Canton Geneva.
Geneva steps in to combat the rising cost of living for locals
After the Swiss government in Bern confirmed that it would not step in to combat rising prices for consumers, and with residents now deeply concerned about their finances, some cantons have started to take the lead in combating inflation. In a statement given to 20 minuten, the Council of State in Geneva said it had decided to act "to protect the purchasing power of the middle class and protect households from inflation."
Thierry Apothéloz, the magistrate in charge of social affairs in the canton, said that the local government would be combating inflation through four separate measures: raising subsidies for Swiss health insurance, housing allowance, family allowance, and emergency benefits and welfare.
Swiss family allowance in Geneva to be increased
First, in the policy that will affect the most residents, the canton confirmed that the Swiss family allowance in Geneva would be increased in line with inflation - recorded in the region as 3,7 percent. The increase is set to apply from 2023 and will be permanent. Apothéloz said that the idea will cost 30 million francs a year, but will not lead to a rise in taxes or employers’ contributions, as the cash will be drawn from the canton's own financial reserves.
In practice, this will mean that the allowance for children up to 16 years old will increase to 311 Swiss francs a month per child. Parents with children aged 16 to 20, or young adults in higher education or training will receive 415 Swiss francs a month per child. The childbirth allowance given to mothers will also be increased to 2.073 Swiss francs.
Health insurance subsidies in Geneva to be boosted
Second, to combat the expected 6,6 percent rise in the cost of health insurance in Switzerland, Canton Geneva will give a bonus to those struggling most with insurance costs. The measure will increase the monthly insurance subsidy given to the most vulnerable by 10 to 20 francs for adults, 15 francs for young adults (aged 18 to 25) and 10 francs for children. The bonus will only apply in 2023.
The Council of State said that “this bill, budgeted at 26 million francs, will benefit more than 137.000 people next year.” However, while it has the support of cantonal authorities, unlike the family allowance increase, it will still need to be approved in the canton’s budget for next year.
Geneva housing allowance limit to be raised
In addition, those who claim a housing allowance from their local council (Gemeinde) in Geneva will also receive a boost. The current allowance limit - set in Geneva at 1.000 francs per room per year - will be raised to 1.400 francs.
As the policy will only raise the maximum allowance, 20 minuten reported that it will only affect 4.850 people, with just 3.600 residents reaching the upper limit. The measure will apply from April 1, 2023 until the end of the year and will cost the canton 6 million francs.
Canton Geneva to increase welfare payments to the most vulnerable
Finally, the Council of State confirmed that it would be increasing the minimum payment given to recipients of welfare and emergency benefits. This will be increased from 986 Swiss francs a month to 1.006 francs.
For more information about the announcement, check out the official press release (in French).