Last week, State Councillor Peter Hegglin (PDC/CVP) withdrew his motion demanding Switzerland’s retirement age automatically rise with life expectancy.
He argues that Switzerland urgently needs to find a way to ensure the financial health of its pension system and raising the retirement age is the main way to do this.
Across most of the OECD retirement ages have already been raised to 67. In Switzerland it is 65 for men and 64 for women, despite their longer life expectancy.
Hegglin was not asking for retirement at 67 but rather an automatic increase based on life expectancy to avoid endless political discussions on the subject.
A commission looking at Switzerland’s pension challenges came out against Hegglin’s plan because of its inconvenient timing. Switzerland’s Federal Council is currently developing an overall package to help shore up the finances of the country’s state pension system. This plan will eventually be voted on in a referendum.
Referring to public resistance to changes to pensions, Federal Councillor Alain Berset said one must be aware of the political reality on the ground. In September 2017, Swiss voters rejected a plan that included raising the retirement age for women from 64 to 65.
- Swiss vote results on pension reform and food security – 24 September 2017 (Le News)
- Survey offers clues to why Swiss rejected last Sunday’s pension reform (Le News)
State Councillor Werner Luginbühl (PBD/BDP) was more supportive of the idea. He said that while it made sense that raising the retirement age would not be part of the next package aimed at shoring up pension finances, indexing the retirement age to life expectancy brings many advantages and should remain an option.
Raising the retirement age to 67 has found support in Switzerland’s parliament before. In 2016 a majority of the National Council (parliament) voted in favour of it. The main hurdle seems to be public support for it. A 2017-survey by Tamedia revealed that while 62% of those asked were resigned to the retirement age increasing to 67 over the next decade, only 31% would vote for it.
A higher retirement age is like death and taxes, knowing it’s inevitable doesn’t make you want it.