$25 Minimum Wage? Swiss Say No

Swiss voters Sunday crushed a referendum to introduce a $25 minimum wage.

The initiative was defeated by an overwhelming 76 percent to 24 percent vote. Switzerland currently has no national minimum wage. Proposed by the Swiss Trades Union, the $25 (22 Swiss francs) hourly minimum wage would have been the world’s highest. According to The Wall Street Journal:

The Minimum Wage Initiative came against a backdrop of efforts around the world to raise pay for lower-income workers. Switzerland’s plan would have set wages at more than double the $10.10 an hour that U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed for American workers. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for a minimum wage of €8.50 ($11.64) an hour.

Both the Swiss government and business leaders opposed the minimum wage initiative, arguing that it would destroy jobs and hurt younger and lower-skilled employees.

Efforts have been under way in Switzerland to address income inequality through referendums. Just last year, Swiss voters approved a proposal to curb excessive bonuses for executives and voted down a measure to cap the salaries of the best-paid executives at 12 times that of the lowest-paid employees.

The average household income in Switzerland is about $6,800 a month, compared with $4,300 in the U.S., USA Today said.

Switzerland, however, features some of the world’s highest prices. The country does not have a minimum wage law, so pay scales are determined by employment contracts or collective bargaining. However, 90 percent of Swiss workers earn more than the proposed minimum and are already among the highest paid in the world.

Do you think the minimum wage in the U.S. should be raised to $10.10 per hour? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • KaraLynn

    Krystal, your whole article is about the Swiss minimum wage. Why would you end it with “Do you think the minimum wage in the U.S. should be raised to $10.10 per hour?” That sounds like a different argument for a different article and I had a little “reader’s whiplash” when I saw that at the end. I understand you compare some aspects of Swiss living with the U.S. (household income) but those points were made to highlight the Swiss. I just think that your closing question had almost no place in this article, except that it contained the words “minimum wage”.

    • Paul

      Agreed. Glad the article touches on why Swiss has no minimum wage and also mentions efforts to address income inequality.

      Things can get chaotic quickly when trying to shape a society with so many laws. Before you know it, you end up with a McDonald’s hamburger-like society: so many ingredients to compensate for other ingredients and cover up problems of other ingredients. They’re happy to serve it to you, but it does more harm than good.

      But then you teach people to govern themselves and live by a set of rules, then those people start governing others.

      But there will always be people who just can’t help themselves just as there are people who thrive all on their own.

  • bigpinch

    “Both the Swiss government and business leaders opposed the minimum wage initiative, arguing that it would destroy jobs and hurt younger and lower-skilled employees.” Well, the Swiss are just lying, that’s all. Another case of the “Haves” trying to keep the “Have-nots” from having anything. The concept of a minimum wage is an affront to humanity. We ought to just pay people to stay home and drink beer…oh, wait… we already do!