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Basel City becomes latest canton to introduce minimum wage

Basel City is the first German-speaking canton to introduce a minimum wage. © Keystone / Georgios Kefalas

A year after Geneva, voters in Basel City approved on Sunday a CHF21 per hour counter-proposal to a leftwing project which initially asked for CHF23.

Citizens in Basel City accepted the proposal with a majority of just under 54%. The slightly higher minimum wage proposed by the initial plan was narrowly rejected by 50.68%.

The new minimum wage in the canton will thus be fixed at CHF21 ($23.39) per hour, although exceptions are foreseen: for example, for salaries already negotiated through collective bargaining agreements, for internships lasting less than six months, for employees who mostly work abroad, and for on-call workers who work less than 70 hours per year.

The project was backed by the leftwing social democrats and Greens, and opposed by parties from the centre and the right.

Basel City thus becomes the fifth Swiss canton to introduce a minimum wage, and the first in the German-speaking part of the country.

Neuchâtel was the first to approve a minimum wage, CHF20 in 2017. Geneva has the highest: CH23 per hour, approved last year. Ticino and Jura also have minimum wages.

At the national level, the issue was put before voters in an initiative launched by trade unions in 2014: a resounding 76.3% of Swiss rejected what would have been the world’s highest nationwide minimum wage of CHF22.



Swiss say no to world’s highest minimum wage

This content was published on In Sunday’s nationwide vote 76.3% of voters were against the initiative. Voter turnout was 55.5%. Under the  initiative, someone on a minimum wage in Switzerland would have earned double the rate in Britain or the United States. Although high, the Swiss limit was set against the country’s high cost of living, where the median hourly…

Read more: Swiss say no to world’s highest minimum wage


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR