Everything that changes in Switzerland in October 2023

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Switzerland in October 2023
Swiss kids will get an autumn break from school. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Higher rents, higher health insurance premiums — and other changes you can expect in Switzerland in the month of October.


October 1st: Rents increase

From this day, about 1 million Swiss households — all those whose leases are based on the reference rate — will be hit with a 5-percent rent hike.

After the Federal Housing Administration raised reference rates to 1.50 percent from June 3rd, another hike — this time to 1.75 percent — by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) was announced later that month

Why do rents go up as of October 1st?

The hike was announced in June,  but your  landlord  can only up the rent once a year — either on the specific date mentioned in the lease, or the next possible termination / notice date.

The notice period in Switzerland is typically three months, which means landlords will be able to charge the higher rate from October 2023.

READ ALSO : When can my landlord legally increase the rent? 

October 1st: Energy-saving measures to go into effect — again

Even though Switzerland has not been hit by energy shortage last winter, as many feared, the Federal Council is again calling on the population to cut energy consumption by 15 percent between October 1st and March 31st, 2024.

While it has not yet issued specific recommendations, it is likely they will be the same as those  set for this year

October 1st : Being a good driver will pay off

From: October 1st, new amendments to the road traffic law will come into force, which will be more lenient towards most drivers.

These amendments will concern in particular sanctions applicable to driving offences, the withdrawal of a probationary driving license, as well as the facilities granted to emergency services.

In the event of a minor infraction, the holder of a probationary driving license will not have their probationary period extended and their driving license will no longer be canceled.

From now on, “the probationary period will only be extended in the event of a moderately serious or serious offence, and the driving license on trial will become void if a new moderately serious or serious offence is committed during the probationary period,” the Federal Council said.


Mid-October: Restart of Covid vaccinations

With the emergence of new coronavirus variants, and the number of infections expected to increase in fall and winter, Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) will start vaccinating at-risk people in the middle of October.

This group incudes those over 65, and others “with individual health risks because of a pre-existing condition,” health authorities said.

The government ordered 1.3 million vaccine doses from each of manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer. In addition, a delivery from Novavax is also expected.

READ ALSO: Switzerland's Covid vaccine programme to restart in autumn

Throughout October: autumn school holidays

The autumn school break in most Swiss cantons falls some time in October, and lasts either one or two weeks, depending on canton.

This calendar shows when public schools will be off, and for how long, in each canton. 


October 22nd: Federal elections

On this day, the Swiss will elect 246 members of their Federal Assembly — that is, the higher and lower chamber of the parliament.

As is the case every four years, they will be voting for candidates to the National Council (the lower house of the federal parliament) and the Council of States (the higher chamber).

The National Council  is composed of  200 people; the number of representatives sent by each canton depends on the size of its population.

The Council of States, on the other hand, represents the cantons and comprises 46 members, who, like their National Council counterparts, are also elected by the people for a four-year term.

READ ALSO: What you should know about Switzerland's upcoming federal elections

Health insurance carriers will inform you of 2024 rates

You already know that health insurance premiums for the compulsory health insurance (KVG / LaMal) will rise again in 2024.

Although Switzerland's president (and Health Minister) indicated they may go up by as much as 9 percent on average, the exact rates must be communicated to policyholders no later than October 31st — though you will get the letters before that date.

All those who wish to switch to a cheaper insurance in 2023 must do so by November 30th.

October 29th: Daylight Saving Time ends

A sure sign that the warm and sunny weather is over is having to wind the clocks back ahead of the coming winter. 

On Sunday, October 29th, clocks in Switzerland will be turned back one hour at 3 am.

This means sunrise and sunset will be about one hour earlier.

The good news is that we all get an extra hour of sleep. The bad news is that it’s going to get darker earlier in the evening. 


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