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WHAT CHANGES IN SWITZERLAND

Everything that changes in Switzerland in January 2022

New Year, new changes. These are some of the developments and events you can expect in Switzerland in the first month of 2022.

Many changes are set to happen in Switzerland in January. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya from Pexels
Many changes are set to happen in Switzerland in January. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya from Pexels

No discrimination by online stores abroad

Good news for people who like to purchase goods on the Internet: from January 1st, Swiss customers will no longer be denied access to foreign online shopping platforms.

Currently, anyone in Switzerland who tries to access the “.de” or “.fr” version of a merchant site, is automatically redirected to a Swiss sales portal where the merchandise is more expensive. But from January 1st, the law will ban geo-blocking on the internet in this area, a rule in force in the EU since 2018.

Ordering from foreign sites will become easier. ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP

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.

New rules for social security numbers

From January 1st, cantonal or municipal authorities will be authorised to use your AHV /AVS number systematically to accomplish their legal tasks. Personal information such as last name, first name or marital status can be updated automatically and accurately, which will reduce administrative work and the risk of errors. The aim is to avoid confusion when handling personal files, while contributing to the implementation of the Swiss e-government strategy.

No more green class subscriptions on Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)

SBB is getting rid of its “Green Class” offer which combined the public transport subscription with an electric car.

From January 1st, vehicle management will be handled by Carvolution, while SBB will remains a partner as a supplier of the “public transport” part of this subscription.

Responsible businesses

New measures to better protect people and the environment will come into force on January 1st. It is a direct counter-proposal of the popular initiative “Responsible companies” rejected in November 2020.

Large Swiss companies will  have to account for the risks generated by their activity. Those whose business poses risk will be required to report and do extensive due diligence in the areas of child labour, as well as minerals and metals from conflict-affected or high-risk areas.

READ MORE: UPDATED: World’s strictest corporate responsibility plan fails in Swiss vote

Internal migration: from Bern to Fribourg

As of January 1st, 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. 

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

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. 

Only humane methods can be used to kill the chickens. Photo by Zachariah Smith on Unsplash

Covid rules and Covid certificate to end — maybe

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

These are the measures currently in effect until January 24th:

Switzerland flags new measures, expansion of Covid certificate

2G: Switzerland targets unvaccinated with new Covid measures

EXPLAINED: What is Switzerland’s 2G-Plus rule?

EXPLAINED: What will Switzerland’s working from home obligation look like?

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. 

Here you can see what changes are set to take place in Switzerland throughout 2022:

Everything that changes in Switzerland in 2022

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SWITZERLAND

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. 

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