Switzerland Could Adopt a $24.99-an-Hour Minimum Wage, Highest in the World

Switzerland Could Adopt a $24.99-an-Hour Minimum Wage, Highest in the WorldSwitzerland is known for its watches, high-priced living and its majestic Alps, but it could also adopt the highest minimum wage on Earth: $24.99 (or 22 Swiss francs) an hour.
On May 18, Swiss voters will decide a referendum that would create that country’s first national minimum wage.
The initiative was proposed by SBG, the country’s largest trade union, with support from the Swiss Socialist Party.
Switzerland currently has no official minimum wage, but about 90 percent of Swiss workers make more than the proposed minimum wage, which comes to 4,000 francs ($4,538) per month.
Supporters say the minimum wage will primarily help the country’s estimated 330,000 female low-wage workers.
Since most workers make the minimum already, the proposal shouldn’t be getting to much opposition, right? Wrong.
Economists, trade groups and businesses, including Nestlé S.A., a multinational food and beverage giant and one of Switzerland’s largest companies, make up the opposition.
Philippe Aeschlimann, corporate spokesman for Nestlé, said the higher labor costs would be a detriment to other companies in Nestlé’s supply chain.
“The proposed federally mandated minimum wage is considerably higher than those of neighboring countries and would not take into consideration regional and sectorial differences,” Aeschlimann told International Business Times in an email. “It would therefore disadvantage Swiss-based companies, which would negatively impact the Swiss economy.”
The proposed law, if approved, would bring Switzerland’s minimum to more than twice that of neighboring Germany, which recently initiated a minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.75) per hour.
That big disparity, opponents assert, could send businesses fleeing Switzerland for cheaper countries.

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