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(Bloomberg) -- Swiss companies are making increased use of a program that supplements employees’ salaries with unemployment benefits if their working hours are cut due to economic reasons. The number of firms participating in the measure known as “Kurzarbeit” more than doubled since the Swiss National Bank scrapped its currency ceiling in early 2015, while the number of people signed up almost tripled. A temporary extension of how long business can use the scheme is set to expire at the end of July, though the franc’s continued strength has triggered a motion in parliament to maintain the current duration of 18 months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Schmidt in Zurich at bschmidt53@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sheldon Reback at sreback@bloomberg.net, Zoe Schneeweiss, Jana Randow

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting