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Everything that changes in Switzerland in 2022

From chickens to cantons to Covid, here are some changes that the new year has in store for us in Switzerland.

2022 is written on a foggy windowsill.
What changes does 2022 have in store? Photo by zero take on Unsplash

The disability insurance reform will enter into force on January 1st

Under the new system, disability pensions will be allocated on a linear basis for beneficiaries with a disability rate between 40 and 69 percent. The aim is to encourage recipients of a disability pension to work as much as is possible.

The reform also aims to improve the chances of young people and people with mental health problems, with a view to reintegrating into the labour market.

More detail, along with more information about areas to be reformed can be found in German and French.

Croatians can work in Switzerland under same right as other EU/EFTA nationals

From January 1st, citizens of Croatia will be permitted to work in Switzerland under the same rights as the rest of the EU/EFTA nationals.

Previously, under a law approved by the Swiss authorities, Croatians were permitted access to Switzerland’s labour market while being subject to transitional provisions, such as specific quotas.

READ MORE: Swiss to allow ‘complete’ free movement of people from Croatia

Gender identity to be easier to adjust in official documents

An amendment to the Civil Code which will come into force on January 1st will allow people with a trans identity to make appropriate changes in the civil status register more easily, by means of a simple declaration.

Swiss vehicles will be equipped with black boxes from July

Black boxes will be mandatory for new types of passenger cars and vans from July 1st, after the entry into force of a UN regulation.

The new regulation aims to allow significant progress in gathering data on road accidents and vehicle safety, according to the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

Thanks to the new device, investigators will be able to reconstruct an accident from five seconds before and until the vehicle is immobilised.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Clavaleyres moves cantons

As of January 1st, 2022, the Bernese region of Clavaleyres will join neighbouring Fribourg

The region has around 50 inhabitants and according to Switzerland’s Der Bund “is finding it increasingly difficult to carry out the tasks of a community from fire services to social services to school lessons.”

While some cantonal changes can be controversial – Moutier, anyone? – this time around the change as largely flown under the radar. 

Bern notice: Moutier wants to change cantons – but why?

End of ‘geo-blocking’ of Swiss customers on foreign sites

Swiss internet users sometimes try to buy goods abroad for less money than what comparable items cost in Switzerland. However,  certain platforms automatically redirect customers to a Swiss site, where prices are higher.

The practice of automatically redirecting customers to a Swiss platform, will no longer be tolerated from January 2022, according to NZZ am Sonntag.

A legislative change will repeal this practice, but foreign companies may refuse to deliver cheaper goods to Switzerland, NZZ said.

Covid rules and Covid certificate (maybe, but probably later than we all hope)

Switzerland’s Covid measures and Covid certificate are officially set to expire on January 24th, 2022. 

If this is the case, we can expect a return to the grand old days of 2019, where wearing a mask was weird and kiss hellos were not. 

In reality, and particularly given the concerning Covid situation across Switzerland, it is likely that the measures are extended beyond January and well into the new year. 

We have no inside scoop from the Swiss government, but using 2021 as an example, there’s a good chance that the measures will be relaxed in the spring when the weather warms up. 

As has previously been illustrated by the Swiss government however, the major metric this time around in deciding whether to remove measures will not be infection rates but will instead be hospitalisation rates. 

Until then, stay tuned to The Local for up to date information on Switzerland’s current and upcoming Covid measures. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s new Covid measures?

Fuel prices: More expensive petrol

Despite Switzerland’s rejection of a referendum to curb CO2 emissions, petrol prices still look set to climb in 2022. 

Currently, everyone who fills their tank pays 1.5 cents per litre for climate protection initiatives. This is set to increase to five cents per litre at the end of 2021 due to the expiration of a subsidy for motorists. 

As at late December, this looks set to come into effect at the start of 2022. While the right-wing Swiss people’s party have indicated an opposition to the measure, it has won more widespread favour among the Swiss government. 

Unless a change is passed soon, Swiss residents can expect to pay a little more at the pump in 2022

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can you find the cheapest fuel?

We all need to be nicer to fish and lobsters

From January 1st, Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) will introduce new rules on how fish and crustaceans can be slaughtered. 

At present, there are no regulations for how this needs to take place, meaning companies can slaughter fish and other sea creatures in any way they like. 

Now there will be a range of minimum standards which need to be complied with

…and chickens

There will also be an expansion of animal welfare laws regarding the commercial slaughter of poultry, i.e. chickens and turkeys. 

The gasses used to stun the birds must be kinder and gentler in the future, with CO2 – the gas currently used – to be phased out. 

Same sex marriage

Same-sex couples will be permitted to get married in Switzerland on July 1st, 2022, nine months after a historic referendum.

Nine months after the vote, the “marriage for all” law will enter into force as of July 1st, 2022, the Federal Council announced.

From this date on, gay couples will be able to marry, though the preparatory procedure for marriage can be started before this date.

Same-sex couples will also be able to convert their registered partnership into marriage: a simple joint declaration to a civil status officer will suffice to convert a current partnership.

EXPLAINED: Same-sex couples can marry from July 1st in Switzerland

A couple poses with a wedding cake’s slice during an event following a nationwide referendum on same-sex marriage in Switzerland (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Basel to put in place minimum wage

In June 2021, Basel City voted via referendum to put in place a minimum wage. While unions wanted a standard of CHF23 – which would equal Geneva’s standard as the highest in the world – voters accepted a government counter proposal of CHF21. 

The standard is expected to be implemented in early 2022, although an exact date is as yet unclear. 

Five Swiss cantons now have a minimum standard, although Basel City is the first German speaking canton to have such a rule in place. 

Reader question: Which Swiss canton has the highest minimum wage?

No more subsidies for gluten free kids

From January 2022, Switzerland will remove a subsidy payment made to children who cannot eat gluten.

The payments are made to families with children who have celiac disease, which means they cannot consume foods with gluten such as pasta and bread.

The government has come under fire for the removal, with critics saying it places undue pressure on poorer families with children.

READ MORE: Switzerland under fire for cutting payments for gluten free children

New, expanded Swiss Pass

Switzerland’s Swiss Pass, the card through which the country’s public transport travel cards work, is set to be improved at some point in 2022. 

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) is currently looking at ways to integrate various new services into the Pass, which has come under fire for being expensive and impractical

The specifics of the improvements have not yet been outlined and are presumably still under development. Stay tuned to The Local for an update on how the new, improved Swiss Pass is set to work. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Postage costs

Sending letters will get a tad more expensive in Switzerland as of 2022, with Swiss Post increasing prices by up to ten cents per letter. The last time prices were increased was in 2004, 18 years ago.

Prices for sending A-Mail letters will increase by ten cents per letter, while B-Mail will go up by five cents.

Prices for sending packages will remain the same, Swiss Post has promised.

Swiss Post say the increases are necessary due to the decline in the amount of post being sent in Switzerland, which is roughly half of that being sent when prices were last increased just under 20 years ago.

READ MORE: Swiss Post to increase mail prices for first time in 18 years

Postboxes to cost 120 CHF

Swiss Post are also increasing the cost of Post Office boxes

Anyone who wants a PO box will now need to pay 120CHF per year. 

This is a significant increase as the boxes are currently free. 

Electricity prices

The cost of electricity will increase slightly for households in 2022, according the Federal Electricity Commission ElCom.

A typical household will pay 21.2 cents per kilowatt hour (ct./kWh) next year, which corresponds to an increase of 0.7 ct / kWh, or 3 percent.

The new cost consists of the tariffs for the use of the network, the tariffs for energy, the charges payable to public authorities, and the surcharge levied on the grid.

READ MORE: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?

Electronic vignettes to be available for the first time

Just kidding. For the third consecutive year, electronic vignettes have been delayed to the following year, for reasons as yet unclear. 

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Switzerland’s vignettes 

Any changes you want to know more about or is there anything we’ve missed? Get in touch at [email protected]

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For members


Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2022

From changing Covid rules to the next round of referenda, this is what is happening in Switzerland in May 2022.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2022

May 1st: Labour Day

Like many other countries Switzerland is celebrating Labour Day on May 1st (which has nothing to do with the Labor Day in the United States, which falls on the first Monday of September).

In Switzerland, it is also known as International Workers’ Day and May Day.

As it is falling on a Sunday this year, you will not get half a day off work – although a movement has been kick started to change all that. 

READ MORE: Swiss politicians call for ‘lost’ public holidays to be replaced

May 2nd: All entry restrictions to Switzerland will be lifted

Travellers from abroad will once again be able to enter Switzerland or apply for a visa under the usual (pre-Covid) conditions.

The last entry restrictions still in force be dropped on May 2nd.

On that date, vaccine requirement for all tourists, regardless of where they come from, will fall.

READ MORE: Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from May 2nd

May 2nd: New Covid certificate enters into force

The Federal Council decided that Covid recovery certificates can be issued on the basis of a positive rapid antigen test or a laboratory-based immunological analysis.

Because of new rules in the EU, these certificates will be recognised internationally. 

They can be issued retroactively for positive test results from October 2nd, 2021. 

However, “because no similar rules existed at EU level at the time, they were only valid in Switzerland. Certificates already issued on this basis must be applied for again and re-issued for international compatibility”.  

May 9th: Consultation for extension of Covid law ends

Although no Covid measures are currently in place in Switzerland – and the few that remain for entering the country will be removed on May 2nd – the legal framework which allows the government to make Covid rules remains in place. 

Currently, the Swiss government is undergoing a consultation with the cantons, which is set to end on May 9th, about the continuation of the framework. 

Issues such as covering the costs for Covid tests and issuing Covid certificates for travel abroad will be discussed. 

While the Covid Act is currently set to expire at the end of 2022, it is expected to be extended until at least June 2024. More information is available here

May 15th: Switzerland votes

In the second of four rounds of national referendums scheduled for 2022, the Swiss will head to the polls on May 15th to decide on three issues: The Film Act, support for European border guards (Frontex), and transplant /organ donation law.

More information about issues at stake can be found here:

EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s May referendums?

May 26th: Ascension Day

Thursday May 26th will mark the Ascension Day, a religious holiday, which is a national public holiday in Switzerland.  

While the following day, Friday the 27th, is not a public holiday — that is, stores and most other businesses operate as usual — schools and some offices remain closed until Monday.

READ MORE: When are the public holidays in Switzerland in 2022?

Spring in full swing

After a cold and miserable winter and spring, things should improve from May onwards in Switzerland. 

Although May is a notoriously temperamental month – with temperatures hitting highs of 20C degrees in Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zurich – the nights can still get very cold, with lows touching on 0C. 

Whatever you plan on doing in Switzerland in May, channel your inner Swiss and remember that preparation is your friend, so bring appropriate clothing for rain, cold and of course golden sunshine.