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Employers’ group proposes measures to counter labour shortage

office in evening
Employers also want more flexible laws governing working hours. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

The Swiss Employers’ Association wants to tackle labour shortages with longer working hours and other incentives to entice people into the labour market, it said on Monday.

Around 120,000 positions in Switzerland are currently unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers, with half a million expected by 2030, the association wrote in a statement.

It added that the situation is worsened by people working less hours due to a boom in part-time employment and various other forms of holidays.

+ Swiss firms struggle with staff shortages

To “increase the total volume of work done”, the association proposes incentives like the promotion of family-friendly working conditions and the abolition of a tax penalising married couples.

Replacing the “marriage tax” – which financially encourages one partner to stay at home – with an individual taxation system could help generate up to 60,000 full-time positions, the association claims.

It also said the attractivity of apprenticeships should be boosted, while the trend towards shorter working hours – especially among academics – should be countered by a system which forces university graduates to pay off study fees.

Union pushback

The Swiss Trade Union Federation rejected the idea of working more. On Monday it said working conditions and the organisation of the working environment needed to be improved in order to reconcile career and family and to ensure that people are not working so hard that they get sick on the job.

Wage increases are also overdue, especially for those with an apprenticeship qualification, the unions claimed.

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