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6 Weeks of Vacation

"6 weeks vacation for all"
Another Sunday of voting is coming up in Switzerland. On March 13th the people of Switzerland will have to declare their opinions on these topics: 
  • The building of secondary homes
  • The amount of vacation employees in Switzerland deserve
  • The fixing of book prices
Most people here don't really care about the building of secondary homes and therefore have no interest in prohibiting it with a federal law. Similarly, the interest in fixing book prices with the purpose of allowing smaller publishing companies to continue printing is quite low. However, the discussion about how many weeks of vacation a Swiss employee is due by federal law has sparked quite a discussion.

Currently, every person employed in Switzerland has the right to 4 weeks of vacation a year. This may seem like a lot compared to the 2 weeks of vacation on average an employee in the US will get. Some workers unions here in Switzerland seem to disagree. They started a big campaign for a Volksinitiative (legal/political means that allows Swiss citizens to suggest changes to Swiss law if they collect more than 100'000 signatures). They collected thousands of signatures to be able to bring the issue before the people of Switzerland this coming Sunday.

The main forces behind this initiative are mainly the more socially-oriented left-wing parties and unions such as
  • Social party of Switzerland (SP)
  • Green party of Switzerland (Grüne)
  • Christian social party of Switzerland (CSP)
  • travail.suisse
  • Swiss federation of trade unions (SGB)
Interestingly enough, there are plenty of political and economical institutions in Switzerland that disapprove of the initiative. Amongst them
  • Bundesrat (federal council of Switzerland)
  • Swiss federal parliament
  • Conference of cantonal finance directors
  • Conference of cantonal economics directors
  • Middle and right wing parties (e.g. BDP, CVP, EVP, FDP, GLP, SVP)
  • Several employers alliances  (e.g. gastronomiesuisse, economiesuisse, hotelleriesuisse, alliance of Swiss employers, Swissmem)
I guess we'll see who was able to collect more votes. Both sides clearly invested quite an amount of money to promote their view of the matter. Personally, I'm not sure if it makes sense to legally bind all Swiss companies to give their employees 6 weeks of vacation. Many people enjoy the benefits of more than 4 weeks of vacation already anyway.... 

"more vacation = less jobs"

A note from the author: 
As of today (March 12th 2012) we know that the 6 weeks holiday initiative failed clearly. Over 65% of Swiss citizens voted against it. 



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