Switzerland moves to end pensions system that sees men earn twice as much as women

Switzerland moves to end pensions system that sees men earn twice as much as women
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Due to the structure of Switzerland’s pension system, female pensioners in Switzerland receive on average half the amount men do. But could that soon change?

The Federal Council has developed a set of reforms which it has put to unions and employers for consultation in a bid to help bridge the gap. 

Pensions in Switzerland are not uniform, but are instead paid on the basis of the industry the person worked in. 

READ: Older Swiss reject increasing the retirement age: Study

For many women, who worked more commonly in the hospitality industry, their pension amount will be far less than that of men, who worked in higher paying jobs. 

The other major reason for the discrepancy is women taking time off to care for children, which reduced their earnings and therefore their pension payments. 

In figures from 2017, the most recent available, the median BV pensions were CHF2301 for men and CHF1221 for women. 

These women are among the best off among female retirees. The Federal Council also estimates that one third of women do not receive a pension at all. 

Women who don’t receive a pension must survive on supplementary benefits or will be dependent on a partner who is a recipient of a higher-earning pension scheme. 

The reforms would increase pensions by between CHF100 and 200 per month, while also reducing the compulsory deduction paid by employees currently working – thereby allowing them to take home a greater share of their wages.

There is also a forecast increase in supplementary benefits. 

As reported in the Tages Anzeiger, while the reform attempts are welcome, they have been slammed for not going far enough to address systemic gender inequality in the Swiss benefits system – particularly for those who are already retired. 

The retirement age for women in Switzerland is 64 and it's 65 for men, although both are expected to be set at 65 sometime in 2020 after a public consultation

 

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