On 29 September 2023, Switzerland’s Federal Council announced that it was opposed to an initiative to introduce publicly financed universal childcare, reported RTS.
On 26 July 2023, a green light to a vote on a proposal to provide “good affordable childcare for everyone” was given. A total of 102,238 valid signatures were confirmed, a figure beyond the 100,000 required to call a popular vote in Switzerland.
The Federal Council has now looked at the proposal and rejected it. It will also advise parliament to reject it. This means if it goes before the voters it will do so without the support of the Federal Council.
The central challenge with the plan is funding. The initiative wants to increase the pay of those working in childcare and substantially subsidise access to it. Under the proposal every pre-school and school aged child would have access to a place and no parent would be required to pay more than 10% of their salary towards the cost.
The Federal Council is opposed to the idea on the grounds that the federal government, which would be on the hook for two thirds of the cost, has no way to fund the high cost of such a proposal, particularly at a time when federal finances are stretched.