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

Why Switzerland's housing options are shrinking, and why air travel is becoming more expensive — read about these developments and other news in our brief daily roundup.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Beer: an excellent reason to visit Obwalden. Photo: Pixabay

Switzerland could soon run out of housing

While there had been enough accommodations in the country until recently, this is no longer the case, according to a new real estate study by Raiffeisen bank.

This research shows that the number of empty dwellings has drastically decreased, to an extent that Switzerland’s property market has not experienced since 2009.

And this situation is not expected to improve anytime soon. “New construction will have a hard time keeping up with demand,” said Martin Neff, Raiffeisen’s chief economist.

Another reason for this scarcity is the influx of refugees from Ukraine; nearly 50,000 are now in the country.

“It is not excluded that some of the refugees will remain in Switzerland. This war could therefore have consequences on our real estate market”, Neff said.

Migros introduces parental leave for employees’ partners.

The retail giant has concluded negotiations for the new collective labour agreement, offering, for the first time in Migros’ history, a flexible parental leave for employees or their partners.

 “Of the 18 weeks of the leave, the last four can also be taken by the partner, even if this person is not employed by Migros”, the company announced.

The duration of paternity leave increases from three to four weeks and can be extended by a period of unpaid leave.

Employees also have the possibility of getting 10 additional days of leave per year, as well as unpaid sabbatical of up to three months every five years. Also, low-income families receive supplemental family allowances, according to the terms of the new agreement.

Industry-specific collective agreements, which seek to protect employees’ rights and ensure various benefits, are common in Switzerland.

READ MORE: What is a Swiss collective bargaining agreement — and how could it benefit you?

Significant increase in price of plane tickets

This is not-so-good news for anyone dreaming of going abroad for summer holidays.

That’s because the cost of flights departing from all of Switzerland’s international airports – Zurich, Geneva, and Basel — surged by about 65 percent between January and April, the figure based on data from the Federal Statistical Office.

Among factors responsible for this hike is the higher price of kerosene, but there are other reasons as well: “All airlines are suffering from major capacity problems. They have too few planes and personnel to meet the demand”, according to Hansjörg Bürgi, editor-in-chief of

Air travel is not the only sector impacted by higher prices. Read about the other ones here:

Seven products that are becoming more expensive in Switzerland

Sorry, Germany — Switzerland has the highest density of breweries in the world

The number of breweries has continued to grow in Switzerland, with 1,278 currently in operation — significantly up from 385 a decade ago.

The highest concentration of beer manufacturers can be found in Obwald, which has 4.2 breweries per 10,000 inhabitants, followed by Nidwalden (2.53), Jura (2.31), and Schaffhausen (2.29).

On the other hand, Zurich and Geneva have only 1.08 breweries per 10,000 people, and 0.75, respectively.

READ MORE: How the Covid crisis led to a boom in Swiss beer production

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 at [email protected]

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For members


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

From online scams to avoid to hot weather forecast: find out what's going on on Friday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

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

Campaign launched against online shopping scams

Swiss police are warning the public against online shopping scams, including  the latest one, involving the activation of an online payment system that allows scammers to make several online purchases at the expense of the victim.

The best way to protect yourself and not fall prey to scammers, police say is to:

  • Always verify the sender and amount when receiving a payment request;
  • Never transmit a confirmation code to third parties;
  • Always check account statements;
  • Immediately report any suspicious transactions;
  • Report any such crime to the police.

All the advice and recommendations can be found on this website.

READ MORE:  How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Free travel for Ukrainian refugees to end

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge in on public transportation in Switzerland, a service which was provided by the federal government.

This perk, however, will end from June 1st.

“This free travel saved us from considerable administrative work, as these people would have had to be issued transport cards for each stage of their registration procedure”, according to Anne Césard, spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A number of MPs are challenging this decision, however.

 “If these people can no longer travel for free, this will constitute an additional obstacle to their chances of integration, knowing that the financial aid granted to them is very low”, said Pierre-Yves Maillard.

“As long as the majority of these people cannot meet their needs sufficiently, we must continue to help them by extending this free service, even if it is in the form of a subsidy”, said another deputy , Benjamin Roduit.

United States impressed by Swiss sanctions

The US government has praised what Switzerland has done so far in the search for Russian funds to block, according to Scott Miller, the American ambassador to Switzerland.

Bern has made “immense progress” in freezing about  6.3 billion francs, belonging primarily to Russian oligarchs with ties to president Putin.

“This is a package of sanctions of a weight and breadth that, to be honest, have never been seen in the world”, he added.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money

Get ready to be very hot today

If Swiss meteorologists got it right, temperatures will reach the high of 32 degrees today.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, said meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss.

Screenshot MeteoSwiss

The reason: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

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]