Swiss city to institute highest minimum wage on record of over $ 4K per month

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One of the richest cities in the world is instituting a minimum wage which proponents say is only relatively lavish.Geneva, which by most metrics ranks in the top five for the most expensive places in the world, has approved a minimum wage that would be considered lavish elsewhere, but is simply meant to put food on the table for its poorest workers.

The Swiss city voted by a two-thirds majority on Sunday to introduce a minimum wage of 23 Swiss francs ($ 25) an hour for a 41-hour work week, CNBC reported. That’s somewhere in the range of $ 4,100 per month, or $ 53,300 per year, making it the highest minimum wage ever.

By comparison, the federal minimum wage in the United States is $ 7.25 an hour – with state-by-state stipulations which, in the case of Oklahoma, have a minimum base rate of just $ 2 an hour. in some use cases. Across the Swiss border in France, the minimum wage is less than half that in Geneva, The Guardian reported.

The measure will be implemented this month, according to an organization representing border workers from France and Switzerland.

“With these votes, Geneva has managed to maintain its attractiveness by rejecting the closure of borders and adopting a minimum wage,” the group wrote in a brief message, praising the decision and declaring that the opposite result “could have jeopardized free movement of nearly 200,000 cross-border workers. Opponents of the new minimum wage argued that it would lead to job cuts and increased unemployment.

Voters had previously rejected the measure twice, in 2011 and 2014.

The current pandemic has shed new light on the lingering problem of poverty in Geneva, which the coronavirus has dramatically exacerbated. France 3 TV channel last month reported that despite the city’s rich reputation, thousands of people had recently lined up at dawn just to get free food. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, around 8% of the Swiss population lives in poverty.

« [It] It was astonishing to see how this population was so immediately weakened by this crisis, ”the City of Geneva’s senior coordinator of the response to the crisis, Isabelle Widmer, told France 3.

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