Switzerland - Social development

The social insurance system is financed by both employer and employee contributions as well as governmental subsidies. There is also a mandatory occupational pension system funded by contributions from employees and and employers. Old-age pensions are paid at age 65 for men and 63 for women. Full pensions are only available if contributions were made in all years from the age of 21. Disability and Survivorship pensions are also available to qualified recipients. Sickness and Maternity benefits were first implemented in 1911. Medical care is available to all persons living in Switzerland, and there is a voluntary insurance plan for all employees to provide cash benefits. Maternity benefits are payable up to 16 weeks. Work injury insurance is compulsory, with contribution rates varying according to risk. Unemployment and disability is also covered. Family allowances are provided by the cantons, but there is a federal program covering agricultural workers.

The law provides for equal pay and prohibits gender discrimination, but there is significant bias against women in the workplace. Women earn 22% less than men for the same job and educational level. There are few women in managerial positions, and they are also promoted less than men. Sexual harassment in the workplace continues, although laws and advocacy groups work to eradicate the problem. The Federal Office for Equality Between Women and Men and the Federal Commission on Women are charged with eliminating all types of gender discrimination. Physical and sexual violence against women and domestic abuse persist.

Extremist organizations continue physical and verbal attacks on religious, racial, and ethnic minorities. The government is taking some action to curtail the activities of these groups. Human rights are generally respected in Switzerland.

Also read article about Switzerland from Wikipedia

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