On 26 July 2023, the administration announced that it had given a green light to a vote on a proposal to provide “good affordable childcare for everyone”. A total of 102,238 valid signatures were confirmed, a figure beyond the 100,000 required to call a popular vote in Switzerland.
Vote organisers want day-care centres to be accessible to all families at prices they can afford. The proposal would price daycare according to income, and cap charges at a maximum of 10% of income. In addition, the federal government would bear two-thirds of the costs, while the cantons would be responsible for providing the daycare places.
The referendum is spearheaded by the Socialist Party, which would like to level the playing field by targeting families on lower incomes. The initiative aims to provide support beyond a plan to spend an additional CHF 700 million on daycare centres recently approved by parliament, reported 20 Minuten.
Not everyone is supportive of the new initiative. Many in politicians in Bern are more concerned about the federal government’s tenuous finances, which are under strain after the financial shock of the Covid pandemic and rising expenditure in other areas. Politicians in this camp see little if any room for further spending.
20 Minuten article (in German)