14 Weeks Paid Maternity Leave for Swiss Working Women, FINALLY!
Statutory maternity benefits finally cleared the voting hurdle on their fourth try. Working women will now be eligible for 14 weeks' paid maternity leave at 80% of their salary. These cash benefits are covered by the
State through an insurance scheme that is already in place (and to which both employers and employees have been contributing for years).
Until now, it has been up to individual employers whether they pay maternity benefits, although the principle was enshrined in the Swiss constitution more than 50 years ago.
Many large private companies and employers in the public sector have implemented maternity leave schemes voluntarily, but women in unregulated branches of industry have no entitlements.
Opposed only by the People's Party, which had backed a nationwide vote against these benefits, the decision to implement them was supported by over 55 per cent of voters.
The Swiss Arts and Trades Union, which represents small business interests, said it was satisfied with the outcome after opposing benefits for years. Its director, Pierre Triponez, had been behind the latest proposal.
Switzerland's unions also hailed the result, but added that it was the strict minimum for Switzerland's mothers.
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