Swiss social spending increased the most compared to its neighbours

Swiss social spending increased the most compared to its neighbours

New data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has revealed that Switzerland has increased its spending on social security the most out of all of its neighbours. Switzerland spent 11,1 percent more on programmes in 2020 than in 2019, mainly to cope with the impact of the COVID pandemic.

Increase in social security spending the largest since 1990

The increase in spending was the largest since 1990, with the government spending more on unemployment benefits for those that were furloughed or lost their job due to COVID. The FSO estimated that the state provided an extra 10,8 billion Swiss francs in compensation for workers, and spent 2,2 billion more on business relief and loss of earnings compensation. In total, social spending topped 206 billion Swiss francs a year in 2020, an increase of 20,4 billion on the year before.

The FSO noted that spending on AHV and sickness benefits also increased by 4,3 percent in 2020, although this is less than the year before. They explained that this was due to fewer claims for accident insurance as no one was at work, and the fact that many surgeries were postponed, leading to lower state spending on Swiss hospitals.

Switzerland spent more than its neighbours on social security

In all, Switzerland increased its social spending by 11,1 percent in 2020, more than Austria (9,1 percent), Italy (8,9), Germany (5,7) and France (4,2). The largest increases in Europe were seen on the islands of Malta, Ireland and Cyprus, which all saw rises of between 19,3 and 26,7 percent.

Social security spending in 16 of the 22 countries that the FSO analysed hit record highs in an attempt to combat the economic effects of COVID. It is expected that social security spending will decline in 2022, as Switzerland reopens after the pandemic.

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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