A 2.5% pay increase for Swiss parliamentarians to compensate for inflation was rejected this week by the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house or senate, reported SRF.
In Switzerland, working as a member of parliament is a part time job, typically occupying 60% to 80% of an individual’s working hours. On average they are paid CHF 142,000 a year. This money covers pay and expenses. Expenses make up around 7% of the total. The rest is income and pension savings.
On 31 May 2023, a 2.5% cost-of-living adjustment, which would have cost a total CHF 1.3 million a year, was rejected by a majority of State Councillors. The vote result was 29 against versus 11 in favour, according to parlament.ch.
Arguments against the pay rise were centred on setting an example in the face of the federal government’s negative financial situation. On 1 June 2023, parliament accepted federal accounts showing a deficit of CHF 4.3 billion, a loss greater than the CHF 1.9 billion expected.
It is not the time for Parliament, as a role model, to increase wages, said Werner Salzmann of the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP). The financial prospects for the Federal Treasury are bleak, he said.
Earlier in the year, a 2.8% cost of living adjustment to state pensions was rejected in favour of a lower rise of 2.5%.
Arguments for the rise were centred on the need to maintain real pay. Hans Stöckli, a State Councillor from the Socialist Party described the decision as embarrassing. A cost-of-living adjustment compensates for lost purchasing power. Members of Parliament are also entitled to this compensation, he said. All work has a value, including that of the parliamentarian, said Stöckli. It’s about recognition for a job well done.
SRF article (in German)