Switzerland To Introduce the Highest Minimum Wage in the World

Voters in Geneva have approved a proposal to introduce a minimum wage of almost $4,500 a month — believed to be the highest in the world — in a referendum. Every worker in the expensive Swiss city and its surrounding region will now receive at least $25 an hour, a surprise change that had previously been twice rejected by the local electorate. The new wage — over double the minimum wage in the U.S. — is for those aged 25 and over. Despite resistance from the left-leaning regional government and the leading opposition parties, 52.8% of Geneva’s residents came out in favor of the trade union-backed initiative on Sunday. Campaigners argued that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with the city’s vital tourism and conferencing sectors hit hard, exposed a growing gap between rich and poor in Geneva. Switzerland does not have a national minimum wage but its semi-autonomous counties can set their own. In addition to the new minimum wage, the country is set to give new fathers two weeks paid leave for the first time.