Geneva Minimum Wage Goes into Effect – Highest in the World

In September, Geneva announced that the vote to introduce minimum wage to the canton had passed by garnering 58% of the vote. This comes after the two prior votes, in 2011 and 2014, which were both rejected.

The new minimum wage which goes into effect next week on November 1 will become the highest in the world, set at 23 Swiss francs ($25) an hour. This hourly rate puts the monthly minimum wage at about $4,000 Swiss Francs for full-time minimum wage employees.

Switzerland does not currently have a national minimum wage, and of the 26 cantons, Geneva will only be the third to implement one. The canton of Ticino, which will be the fourth, has approved a minimum wage but is yet to implement it.

Once the increase goes into effect, it will apply to about 6% of the workers (roughly 30,000 employees) in Geneva, of whom 2/3 are women. It is also known that many workers in Geneva live outside the city due to it being unaffordable.

Although Geneva is one of the most expensive cities (currently listed 10th), the new minimum wage is more than twice the second-highest, at $19.49 AUD ($14.21 USD) in Australia. And it’s triple the United States federal minimum wage, which is only $7.25 an hour, although many US states have a higher minimum wage than the required federal minimum.

The increase may seem extreme but it is a direct effort to ensure workers do not fall under the poverty line, especially now with the economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

To learn more about specific labor laws in Geneva, visit our Switzerland Geneva countrypedia page.