Swiss citizens will vote on a reform of occupational pension schemes and a biodiversity initiative on 22 September, as announced by the Federal Council on Wednesday.

A referendum opposing a reform of the Swiss pension system's second pillar, initiated by left-wing parties and unions at the end of March last year, gathered over 141,000 signatures, nearly triple the required amount.

The reform entails reducing the pension conversion rate from 6.8% to 6%, which is deemed necessary due to increasing life expectancy.  

This change will result in a smaller annuity from the capital accumulated in an occupational pension scheme during a person’s professional career.

Under the reform, half of those insured will receive pension compensation during a 15-year transitional period.

Additionally, the threshold for accessing the second pillar will be lowered, enabling 100,000 people, mainly part-time workers and women, to be newly or better insured, Swiss Info reports.

However, those supporting the referendum argue that people working part-time, and women will once again be penalised. They contend that the majority will experience pension cuts and that right-wing parties had promised to address the issue of low pensions, especially those affecting women.

In addition, Swiss citizens will also vote on a biodiversity initiative, which proposes ensuring adequate resources and space for nature. It aims to establish better protection of the landscape and Switzerland’s architectural heritage in the Swiss Constitution.

The government had presented a counterproposal on this issue, and campaigners were prepared to withdraw their proposal if the counterproposal was adopted in parliament.

However, although the House of Representatives showed support, certain elements were removed.

Yet senators argued that the counterproposal still went too far and would have considerable consequences, especially in regard to agriculture, tourism, and energy production.

The Senate consequently voted to reject the Federal Council’s counterproposal.



  • Pension reform,
  • Biodiversity Initiative

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