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Social conditions

Switzerland is a country characterized by high standards of living. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of SUI and acronym for Switzerland. Human and political rights are highly respected. At the same time, the income disparities are large and the cost of living is relatively high. An example of the latter is the country's costly childcare, which has meant that a parent, usually the woman, has stayed home with the children for financial reasons.

Society of Switzerland

Labor market

The labor market is stable with few conflicts. Unemployment has been low since the late 1990s. This was also the case during the financial crisis in 2008. In 2016, 4.9 percent of the unemployed population in Switzerland was without employment. The proportion of working men is slightly higher than the proportion of working women. A large proportion of women work part-time.

The income differences between men and women are among the higher in Europe. Mining industry, the real estate industry, as well as healthcare and social care are the areas that employ the largest part of the population.

The right to union involvement is guaranteed by the Constitution. The strike right is also constitutionally guaranteed, but limited to when strike is considered reasonable. However, in comparison with the rest of Europe, the role of trade unions is limited. Only one in five Swiss people are unionized. Collective agreements are relatively uncommon. Minimum wages do not exist. Salary is determined in consultation between employers and employees.

The working week is between 45 and 50 hours, depending on the sector. The A-checkout is compulsory. The unemployment benefit amounts to about 70 percent of the salary. Self-employed persons are not covered by the A fund.

The retirement age in Switzerland is 65 years for men and 64 years for women.

There is currently no information on child labor in Switzerland. However, until the 1960s, it appeared that authorities were relocating poor or orphaned children in homes where they were forced to work in agriculture.

Welfare and poverty

The average income in Switzerland is approximately SEK 314,000. This can be compared with Sweden, where the average income is around SEK 263,000. Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world. Nevertheless, 7 percent live below the poverty line. The most affected are pensioners, unemployed and single parents. People with unqualified work are also particularly vulnerable.

Social insurance is mainly income-based. It is financed privately and by the employer. Health insurance is compulsory and privately financed.

All citizens residing in Switzerland are covered by the security systems. These differ from canton to canton. The low-income healthcare is subsidized by the state and canton.

Paperless people and people who are denied asylum are not entitled to access the security systems. In addition, they are only guaranteed emergency care. The extent of this is determined by the individual canton.

The number of doctors and nurses per citizen in Switzerland is one of the highest in the world. All citizens have access to basic care. At the same time, healthcare is expensive and completely state-funded healthcare is lacking.

Family benefits

Parental leave is unequal. Men have no statutory right to parental leave. Full-time and part-time women, on the other hand, are entitled to 14 weeks of paid parental leave and 2 weeks of unpaid leave. They are also prohibited from working eight weeks after giving birth to children. In practice, however, it appears that men are also offered a shorter leave by their employers.

Child care is poorly developed. It is common for relatives or mothers to take care of the children when they are young. Most children start in preschool class at the age of 4 and then start school when they are 6 years old. Child support is available for children up to the age of 16, followed by a study grant for the group of 16–25 years who are studying.

Switzerland has had a relatively progressive view of LGBTQ people. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1942. Registered partnerships were recognized in 2005, but had been allowed for some time in some cantons.

Marriage between same-sex couples is not yet allowed. Since 2016, people in same-sex partnerships have the right to adopt each other's children.

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