Low salaries don't indicate poverty

One in eight employees in Switzerland has a salary considered to be low, according to the Federal Statistics Office.

This content was published on June 16, 2008 - 16:59

These jobs concern 320,000 people - 70 per cent of them women – who earn less than SFr3,783 ($3,628) per month for a 40-hour working week.

Over the past decade, the percentage of low salaries among the workforce has only varied slightly, decreasing from 11.2 to 10.2 per cent. These wages are often paid in the hotel and retail industries, and in six out of ten firms with fewer than 50 employees.

Nearly half of those on low salaries work fulltime - 80 per cent of them women. Foreigners are also more likely to be among the lowest paid workers.

But low salaries do not necessarily mean living below the poverty line.

Only one in 22 people – less than four per cent of the working population - is considered to belong to the working poor category, which takes into account household income.

More than 80 per cent of low-salary earners have another source of revenue to supplement their wages, such as working partners.

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