Pension reform initiative runs out of steam at early stage

The reform of the Swiss pension schemes - the state-run as well as the occupational system tied to employers have been a subject of numerous nationwide votes. Keystone/Gaetan Bally

A people’s initiative aimed at overhauling Switzerland’s occupational pension scheme will not come to a nationwide vote.

This content was published on August 10, 2020 - 14:26

The campaigners announced they had failed to collect the required minimum number of signatures and saw no chances of doing so by the deadline in early October.

“Without any doubt I have been miscalculating a few things. The coronavirus did the rest for us,” said the main promoter of the initiative.

Josef Bachmann said citizens were aware of the flaws in the current system, but under the restrictions imposed to fight the pandemic, it was much more difficult to approach people in the streets to ask them for their signatures.

His committee, which includes mainly right-wing and centre-right politicians, wanted to introduce a flexible minimum interest rate on the accumulated pension capital, doing away with the current rate of 6.8%.

The mandatory occupational pension scheme is part of Switzerland’s three-tier social security system, but experts have warned that the growing number of older people is putting the onus on the young generation to finance pensions.

Older employees

Another proposal to amend the occupational pension system aimed at helping employees over the age of 50 was withdrawn last year.

The initiative of the Workfair 50+ group had called for pension laws to be changed to make workplace pension fund contributions the same for everyone, regardless of age.

The lobby group said parliament had taken steps to address the issue with a legal amendment rather than a constitutional reform.

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