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

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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Starting in May, recording television programmes will cost you money. Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

This is how Switzerland voted

In case you have not followed up on news developments yesterday, here is an update on voting results:

  • Almost 56 percent of voters and 15 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons backed the near-total tobacco advertising ban.
  • Nearly 80 percent rejected a bid for a ban on all animal testing,
  • 62.7 percent turned down a proposal to abolish stamp duty for Swiss companies.
  • 54.5 percent voted against the government proposal to offer financial aid to public media.

You can find out more about these issues here:

EXPLAINED: What is Switzerland’s tobacco advertising referendum all about?

EXPLAINED: What is Switzerland’s animal testing referendum all about?

Referendum: How are the Swiss likely to vote on February 13th?

And in local voting, 74.7 percent of Basel-City’s residents turned down an initiative — the first such proposal in the world — to grant primates (read: apes) basic human rights.

READ MORE: Swiss referendum: Will Basel voters give primates human rights?

Covid-19 Task Force: “We made a mistake”

At the beginning of January, the Task Force estimated that 10,000 people could be hospitalised in Switzerland in coming weeks.

The actual numbers have not reflected this extreme scenario, with far fewer Covid patients admitted to hospitals since the beginning of the year.

The actual number of hospitalisations is “about 25-30 percent lower than assumed in the most optimistic scenario”, the Task Force’s head, Tanja Stalder, said in an interview with SonntagsZeitung.

The reason for this overestimation, according  to Stalder, is that the Task Force based its forecast on data from other nations.. But as it turned out, “in Switzerland, the need to be hospitalised with Covid infection has decreased more than in neighboring countries”.

“We made a mistake”, Stalder added, “but our scenario fortunately didn’t materialise”.

Cross-border employees can no longer work from home

In a strange twist, Swiss companies that continue to allow their cross-border employees to work from home after the obligation to do so had been lifted on February 2nd, are actually breaking the law.

During the pandemic, when home working mandate was in place, Switzerland agreed with neighbouring countries to suspend certain rules concerning cross-border workers, especially relating to social insurance and taxes.

Now, however, the usual tax rules are back in place and cross-border workers must again commute to their places of employment in Switzerland. In fact, employers who still allow telework from abroad are committing a criminal offence.

A lot of Swiss companies are not aware that they run afoul of the law by still permitting home work for frontier personnel.

“It was a surprise, even for us”, according to Marco Taddei, head of the international sector at the Swiss Employers’ Union.

Replay television will cost money

If you like to record your favourite TV shows to watch them later, you will have to pay a fee to do so.

Television providers such as Swisscom, Sunrise UPC, and others will impose taxes from May on anyone who watches a programme on replay.

That’s because  when a show is recorded,  people often fast-forward to skip advertisements. This poses problems for television channels, which are seeing their advertising revenues drop. So making customers pay for using the replay function is a way to be compensated for the lost income.

The cost has not yet been set by all the operators, but as an example, access provider Init7 in Winterthur now charges 11 francs per month for the replay function.

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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