In Switzerland the official retirement age is different for men (65) and women (64). The federal government wants to create a universal retirement age of 65 for everyone. However, a number of people are opposed to the move and have called for a referendum and hope to overturn the government’s decision.
This week, a referendum on the subject became official. After collecting 151,782 signatures a referendum is now set to take place in September 2022, reported Le Matin. Votes in opposition to government decisions require only 50,000 valid signatures to happen, fewer than the 100,000 required to launch a popular vote.
The decision to equalise the retirement age is part of a package of changes aimed at making Switzerland’s state pension system financially sustainable as Switzerland’s population ages.
Average life expectancy in Switzerland is currently 81 for men and 85 for women (2021). Under the current system an average man can expect to collect the state pension for 16 years (20% of an average lifespan) and an average women for 21 years (25% of an average lifespan).
The government’s plan aims to progressively raise the pension age for women to 65 while increasing Switzerland’s VAT rate by 0.4% to further shore up funding.
Some of those opposed to the changes argue this will open the way to raise the universal retirement age to 67, while those in favour of it say it is vital to act given the demographic shift and looming pension funding gap.