Ticino launches referendum to increase minimum wage

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Ticino launches referendum to increase minimum wage
The southern Swiss canton of Ticino will hold a vote to increase the minimum wage. Photo by Robin Ulrich on Unsplash

The southern Swiss canton of Ticino will hold a vote to increase the minimum wage.


The vote will go ahead after 12,000 signatures were collected. The application was lodged on Monday, well over the required 10,000 signatures to hold a canton-wide binding referendum. 

Ticino is one of only a handful of Swiss cantons to have a minimum wage, although advocates of the vote argue it is too low and have called for a “living wage”. 

The current minimum wage is approximately CHF19. Advocates, who have called the campaign “Per un salario minimo sociale” (for a social minimum wage) are pushing for an increase to CHF21.50, with progressive increases thereafter. 

A date for the vote has not yet been set. 


How does minimum wage work in Switzerland? 

When compared to its European neighbours - or countries globally - Switzerland is known for its high salaries. Therefore, it is perhaps surprising to find out that the country does not have an officially mandated minimum hourly wage. 

That does not however mean that your employer is free to pay you as much - or as little - as he or she wants. Instead, the minimum amount you can be paid will be determined through negotiations with your employer which will may feature a trade union representative. 

Whether this be an hourly amount or one which is set for full or part-time hours, setting a minimum standard in specific industries is a common way to ensure workers aren’t underpaid or unpaid. 

Five Swiss cantons have a minimum wage in place: Basel City, three Swiss-French cantons, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Geneva, and Ticino. 

The minimum hourly salary ranges from 19 francs in Ticino to 23.14 in Geneva.

The rate in Geneva is technically the highest minimum wage in the world. 

More information about the minimum wage in Switzerland can be found at the following link. 

Minimum wage in Switzerland: What you need to know


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