Government plans payments to unemployed over 60

The number of people between 60 and 64 who claim welfare payments has risen by nearly 50% over the past five years, according to the interior ministry. Keystone/Martin Ruetschi

The Swiss government has presented plans for pre-pension payments for older employees who can no longer claim unemployment benefits. 

This content was published on October 30, 2019 - 16:44

The proposal is aimed at improving the living conditions for people over the age of 60, according to Interior Minister Alain Berset. 

“However, the re-integration into the labour market remains a priority,” he told reporters on Wednesday. 

In response to the governments initial plans presented in May, left-wing parties and trade unions see such measures as insufficient while centrist and right-wing groups argue the conditions set by the government are too soft. 

Under the proposals, the only people who could apply for the payments are those who lost their jobs and are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits.  

The potential beneficiaries must have paid a minimum amount into the state-run old age pension scheme for 20 years and have had a minimum income of CHF21,330 ($21,500) annually for at least ten years before filing a claim. The personal wealth of an individual beneficiary must not exceed CHF100,000. 

Social security package 

The pre-pension payments are to be funded by the government and could cost CHF230 million ($232 million) annually in 2030. An estimated 4,400 people could be eligible for the payments, according to the interior ministry. 

The planned measures are part of a government policy agreed with the employer’s organisation and the unions to promote Swiss employees on the labour market. 

Studies have found that older people are marginalised amid pressure from younger employees from European Union countries benefiting from unrestricted access to the Swiss labour market. 

The right-wing Swiss People's Party has collected enough signatures to force a nationwide vote on its proposal to cancel a bilateral accord with the European Union on access to each others labour market.

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