Geneva to raise its minimum wage in 2023

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Geneva to raise its minimum wage in 2023
People in need queue at a free food distribution point on June 6, 2020, in Geneva, as the COVID-19 pandemic cast a spotlight on the usually invisible poor people of Geneva, one of the world's most expensive cities. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Starting on January 1st, the minimum wage in the western Swiss canton of Geneva will increase for most industries.


The minimum wage of 23 francs was adopted in Geneva in 2020.

To comply with the law, the hourly rate must be reassessed each year on the basis of the canton’s consumer price index for the month of August, according to the the Council of State. That is why it rose to 23.27 in 2021.

in 2023 it will rise to 24 francs an hour

Geneva introduced the minimum wage in September 2020, when just over 58 percent the canton’s voters accepted the proposal as a sign of solidarity with the area’s poorer residents.

At the time, foreign media hailed this outcome as “the world’s highest minimum wage”.

Though it may look impressive on paper, this pay — which amounts to approximately 4,000 francs a month — doesn’t go very far in one of the world’s most expensive cities, where the cost of living is among the highest as well.


Those who possibly benefit the most from the higher minimum pay are cross-border workers, who earn their salaries in Geneva but live in the nearby French regions of Haute Savoie and Ain, where the cost of living is lower.

It may not be coincidental that the vote took place in the midst of the Covid pandemic, when the poor became the focus of particular attention, as thousands of people lined up on Saturdays for free food distribution programme in Geneva.

Many found themselves in precarious circumstances because all but essential businesses were forced to close, leaving hundreds of people without a job and little (or no) income.

READ MORE: MYTHBUSTER: Yes, Switzerland does have people living in poverty

What other cantons have a minimum wage law?

Four others have introduced minimum pay, though it is lower than Geneva’s.

Basel-City set its wage at 21 francs an hour, Neuchâtel and Jura at 20, and in Ticino, it is 19.75

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about minimum wage in Switzerland

In all these cantons, as elsewhere in Switzerland, most people earn more than the minimum.











Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also