Employers call for rise in retirement age

Retirement could come later as time goes by Keystone

The Swiss Employers' Association is calling for the retirement age to be raised to 66 by 2013, in order to cover pension costs and spur economic growth.

This content was published on November 22, 2004 minutes

But Travail Suisse - one of the largest employees’ unions - has rejected the move, calling it “unacceptable”.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Rudolf Stämpfli, president of the Swiss Employers' Association, said measures were needed to shore up Switzerland’s social security system.

"In Switzerland, economic recovery has only been lukewarm. We can’t behave as though we’ve seen a sharp upswing,” he said.

"Cost-cutting, system reform and a redoubled fight against system abuses must be emphasised in the social security system in future."

Stämpfli added that the deficit in state pensions – due to the fact that there are more old people receiving pensions but fewer young people paying into the system – could be reduced by raising the retirement age to 66.


But Travail Suisse, one of Switzerland’s largest employees’ unions, has rejected the move.

It said that a rise to the age of 66 would be "unacceptable" and "not useful", especially as the Swiss had already overwhelmingly voted against cuts to pensions in May this year.

Moves to increase the retirement age have so far been controversial. Swiss Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin has in the past proposed delaying the retirement age to 67, but the suggestion was not welcomed by unions.

Switzerland's association for small- and medium-sized enterprises has also argued for later retirement, at 67.

The organisation said more should be done to encourage the employment of older people – including a reduction in employer contributions that increase the overall cost of older workers.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The Swiss Employers’ Association proposes increasing the retirement age for women to 65, then setting the age at 66 for both sexes by 2013.
It also calls for a flexible retirement beginning at 62.
The 11th revision of the pension scheme was rejected by the people last May. It had proposed retirement at 65 for women and benefit reductions.

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In brief

Demographic trends in Switzerland:

In 1970, a woman had 2.1 children, on average. By 2035, they are expected to have 1.6 children.

In 1970, a man could hope to live 13 years after retirement. In 2035, he can expect 18 more years, trends suggest.

In 1970, a woman lived 16 years after retirement; in 2035, she will live 22 more years.

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