Geneva, Switzerland, is set to introduce a minimum wage of 23 Swiss Franc or $25 an hour (close to Rs 1,839)-- believed to be the highest in the world. According to the Swiss government, voters were asked to answer 'yes' or 'no' to the question: "Do you accept the popular initiative '23 Francs is a minimum'?"
At least 58 per cent of voters in the canton, an administrative region that includes the city of Geneva, said 'yes' to the offer. The "minimum wage of 23 Swiss francs an hour" as backed by labour unions and is aimed at "fighting poverty, favoring social integration, and contributing to the respect of human dignity."
The new minimum wage will benefit 6 per cent of the canton's workers as of November 1.
Paying workers, the new wage, based on Switzerland's average 41-hour working week, would give workers a minimum monthly salary of 3,772 Swiss Franc (Rs 301,382) and minimum annual salary of 45,264 Swiss Franc (Rs 36,16,593).
Geneva is the 10th most expensive city in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2020 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey. Hong Kong and Singapore continue to occupy the first two places.
The Economist Intelligence Unit reported earlier this year that one kilogram of bread costs an average of around CHF 2.49 (Rs 199) in Geneva. South Africa's minimum wage for many types of workers comes in at around $1.23 per hour. The US federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and the UK's minimum wage per hour stands at $11.33. In Australia, the minimum wage is $19.84 per hour.
Switzerland is among the wealthiest nations in the world despite that the country witnessing the damaging impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy. Overall, the Swiss government's economic experts group forecast the adjusted Swiss GDP to fall by -6.2 per cent in 2020, and average unemployment to be around 3.8 per cent, the lowest economic slump since 1975.
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