“Voting Arena” AHV pension – Can Switzerland afford a 13th AHV pension? -News


Spicy starting point: SP Federal Councilor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider is running against her own party in the debate for a 13th AHV pension. The focus of the vote on March 3rd is financing and the question of whether all pensioners should receive the money.

Retired Swiss people would hardly be able to make ends meet with their pensions, says the Swiss Trade Union Confederation SGB. With his initiative he is calling for a 13th month pension for everyone.

The guests in the “voting arena”

Open the box
Close the box

For the initiative:

Against the initiative:

During her time as SP Councilor of States, Elisabeth Baume-Schneider would probably have fought side by side with the unions for the initiative. However, the Jura native made her debut in the “Arena” on Friday as Federal Councilor and Minister of Social Affairs on the opposite side. At the beginning of the “voting arena” she stated that as a Federal Councilor she had to inform the people in the country. One thing is clear: “This initiative comes at a high price.”

Initiators leave financing open

For Samira Marti, co-leader of the SP parliamentary group, one thing is clear: “We have to afford it.” Her colleague and chief economist at the SGB, Daniel Lampart, agrees with her: “Prices are exploding, pensions in the second pillar are falling and the reality is that a KV employee or a painter has to pay these costs with a pension of 3,500 to 4,000 francs. » Compensation for low pensions is urgently needed so that people can age with dignity, said Marti. The Federal Councilor agrees with her, but also emphasizes that the Federal Council has a double responsibility: “We also have to ensure that the AHV is sustainably financed. And this initiative has a price.” Ultimately, according to the Federal Councilor, billions are at stake here. In the year it is introduced, the costs of a 13th AHV pension would probably be 4.1 billion francs.

Opponents of the initiative believe that this price is simply too high. More and more people are retiring, which would lead to financial difficulties for the AHV. The supporters, on the other hand, say that the AHV is not doing so badly. “The AHV even makes surpluses,” emphasizes Lampart. However, the initiative text leaves it open how the additional costs of a 13th month pension should be financed.

If the bill were approved, Parliament would have to decide on financing. The SGB suggests that employers and employees should pay more wage contributions: an additional 0.4 percentage points each. That is manageable. SVP Councilor of States Esther Friedli finds this proposal anything but ideal. According to Friedli, an increase in wage contributions or even VAT would put a particular burden on employed people and families. “You are actually fueling the loss of chewing power!” she accuses the supporters.

Federal Councilor applied for EL for her father

One term always comes up in connection with the AHV: intergenerational contract. What this means is that in the AHV the younger people pay for the older people. For Zurich Central Canton Councilor and young politician Tina Deplazes, a 13th AHV pension would put a lot of strain on the generational contract. It cannot be the case that the younger generations have to pay more to finance a 13th month pension, “which the majority of pensioners do not need”. Pensioner Bruno Soltermann, president of the Liberal Senior Citizens Kriens, also agreed with this. Magdalena Erni, co-president of the Young Greens, however, spoke out clearly in favor of the 13th AHV pension: “We live in one of the richest countries and have to assume our responsibility,” said Erni. Federal Councilor Baume-Schneider agreed with her, but also emphasized several times that “targeted measures” were needed. This already exists today with supplementary services.

Around a quarter of all pensioners in Switzerland are entitled to supplementary benefits. However, only around half of them actually receive these benefits. The reason for this is often shame. “If you were in this situation, would you apply for supplementary benefits?” André Eisenstein, pensioner and president of Avivo Zurich, asked the Federal Councilor in the “voting arena”. She replied that she had already applied for supplementary benefits for her father. “But I understand that it is difficult.” There is an urgent need for information campaigns in the cantons and it must be made clear to people that they do not have to be ashamed of this.

The first SRG survey gives the SGB initiative for a 13th AHV pension a good chance: According to this, around 60 percent of the electorate support the initiative. Switzerland will vote on the proposal on March 3rd.

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