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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Switzerland (here Zurich) has been hit by arctic weather. Photo by Patrick Federi on Unsplash
Switzerland (here Zurich) has been hit by arctic weather. Photo by Patrick Federi on Unsplash

Praise for Switzerland’s new, shorter quarantine
The Federal Council’s announcement on Wednesday about its decision to cut the obligatory quarantine for anyone testing positive for Covid to five days met with mostly positive reactions from cantonal authorities and business circles.

The general belief is that a shorter confinement will prevent the economic collapse due to staff absences in critical sectors.
From the health perspective as well, “five days is reasonable”,  said Zurich epidemiologist Jan Fehr, who pointed out that the move “makes sense” in the current situation.
READ MORE: Switzerland to cut quarantine period for vaccinated and extend current measures

Brrr! Switzerland is hit by sub-zero temperatures
There is no doubt winter has finally made its appearance, with frigid temperatures in many regions of the country.
The lowest temperature so far —28.4 degrees below zero — is recorded in St. Gallen’s Toggenburg area, followed by La Brévine, canton Neuchâtel, at – 26.8.
Switzerland’s coldest city is Sion (VS) with -9.1 degrees and Basel (-4.8). Geneva, on the other hand, is relatively warm; 0 degrees was registered there on Wednesday.

The latest forecast calls for more cold weather.

 Swiss citizenship most desirable in the world, new study shows
Switzerland ranks in the first place a newly released World Citizenship Report (WCR), a survey by CS Global Partners that “examines which countries offer the most benefits for global citizens, particularly in a post-Covid world where those that have the means are consistently searching for greater opportunities and better protection”, according to Micha Emmett, the CEO of CS Global Partners.
Based on such criteria as safety and security, business environment, quality of life, travel, and financial freedom, Switzerland came ahead of Denmark, which is in second place, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden in joint third.

Switzerland in number 1. Image:World Citizenship Report (WCR)

READ MORE: The nine most surprising questions on Switzerland’s citizenship exam

“Masked” youngsters purchase alcohol and cigarettes
This should not really come as a surprise — more like ‘what did you expect’ kind of comment: compulsory mask makes it easier for young people to buy alcohol and tobacco, according to the undercover operation conducted by the Zurich  police in 2021.
In half the stores they visited, teens aged 14 to 17 have managed to buy alcohol or cigarettes, or both, as the required identity checks were not carried out by sales staff.
This marks a “significant increase compared to the pre-pandemic period”, police said, adding that the findings are in line with national figures.
Employees who illegally sold alcohol or cigarettes to young people were sanctioned. Store operators also risk administrative penalties, such as a temporary ban on the sale of alcohol or the withdrawal of the operator’s license.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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For members


Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Weather is finally becoming more 'reasonable', salaries are set to slightly increase in 2023, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Monday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

It is finally raining in Switzerland, but is this enough?

After weeks of hot and dry weather, rain fell on many parts of Switzerland yesterday. This wet trend is expected to continue today, strengthening on Wednesday or Thursday, according to Nicolas Borgognon, a meteorologist at MeteoNews.

However, while it provides some relief for agriculture and nature in general, it is not certain whether the amount of rain will be sufficient to counteract the effects of drought that has impacted much of Switzerland.

“For that, it would take regular rain of low to moderate intensity, lasting at least 48 hours”, Borgognon said. “And at the moment, this is not yet envisaged”.

Gap between high and low salaries is growing

A new study into income disparity carried out by Unia labour union shows that in 2021, executives of 43 largest Swiss companies — including such giants as Roche, UBS, and Nestlé — earned an average of 141 times more than their lowest-paid employees.

While salaries of the lowest paid employees grew by only 0.5 percent between 2016 and 2020 (the last year for which official data is available), for the higher-ups the increase was 4 percent.

The union is callling for general raises, with the money taken away from shareholders and given to the employees instead.

“In this period marked by inflation and a possible spike in health insurance premiums, increases are becoming urgent”, Unia added.

But here’s also good news on the salary front…

Next year, wages are expected to increase by 2.2 percent on average

A survey by the KOF Economic Research Center of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich forecasts the average salary increase of 2.2 percent in 2023 — the largest one in 22 years.

The biggest increases — about 4.4 percent — will be in the restaurant and hotel industry, the sector that is among the most impacted by staff shortages.  

According to Valentin Vogt, president of the Swiss Employers’ Association, many companies have drawn on their reserves during the Covid pandemic, and do not have the financial capacity for higher increases.

READ: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?

Swiss schools don’t have enough teachers

As classes resume this week in many parts of Switzerland, a number of schools in various cantons are worried about scarcity of teachers.

According to education officials, this shortage is “more serious than ever”, driven mainly by  many teachers “feeling overwhelmed” by all the demands and pressure, in addition to actual teaching, including too many administrative tasks.

Added to this is the effort required to integrate children from Ukraine into local schools, which further complicates the already tense situation.

READ MORE : Why teachers in Swiss schools are worried about falling education standards

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]