Swiss voters have approved social security reforms meaning they will pay more in contributions but the jobless will get less money.
4.5 percent of the Swiss workforce was out of work in January – a figure that dropped to 3.6 per cent in August. Although that is low compared to some European neighbours there is a 5.3 billion euro hole in the finances thanks largely to a surge in the jobless figure because of the financial crisis last year.
The government says the ‘yes’ vote in the referendum is a clear endorsement of its efforts to plug the gap.
Economic minister Doris Leuthard told reporters: ‘Those who earn more will make an extra contribution to the jobless insurance without receiving increased unemployment benefit.’
In the German-speaking regions, where the majority of Swiss live, there was a resounding ‘yes.’ But it was by no means unanimous across Switzerland. In the French and Italian-speaking regions, where unemployment is considerably higher, the reform plans were given a clear thumbs down.