In January 2015, when the Swiss National Bank stopped its attempt to keep the Swiss franc to Euro exchange rate at 1.20, the Swiss currency quickly rose beyond parity.
To soften the economic shock, Switzerland’s government allowed working hours to be extended with no extra pay and working hours and pay to be cut. Employees were offered partial unemployment benefits to compensate for pay cuts.
The logic behind the scheme was that extra unpaid hours or reduced pay would be far better than job losses.
Since January 2015 the Swiss franc has weakened against the euro reaching nearly 1.20 earlier this month.
On 31 May 2018, the government announced this temporary measure will end on 31 August 2018. From that date the strength of the Swiss franc will no longer be accepted as a justification for reducing pay and receiving partial unemployment benefits
The decision comes during a week when the exchange rate dipped as low as 1.14.
At the same time, three years has given businesses time to adjust. And, indicators such as unemployment suggest the pressure on jobs has declined. The unemployment rate across Switzerland was 2.7% in April 2018 – using the broader International Labour Organisation rate it was 5.2%. In January 2015, Swiss unemployment was 3.5%.