The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Financing the 13th AHV pension remains a major sticking point

The Swiss Federation of Trade Unions (SGB) and the SP would like to finance the 13th AHV pension solely through salary contributions. The Employers' Association, Trade Association and Economiesuisse are in favor of financing it solely through VAT. The SVP and the Greens have other proposals.

According to the SGB, the 13th AHV pension should only be financed through an increase in salary contributions. SGB President Pierre-Yves Maillard (SP/VD) described the Federal Council's proposal as "moderate". According to the trade union federation, financing via salary percentages is "decidedly social". Moreover, it would only require an amendment to the law, which would enable rapid implementation.

According to the SGB, financing the 13th AHV pension via salary percentages is the solution with the least impact on purchasing power. This is because social security contributions have fallen noticeably in recent times and are expected to fall further. The additional financing for the 13th AHV would therefore "only lead to a reversal of these reductions".

For the trade union umbrella organization Travailsuisse, it makes sense to increase wage contributions first. An increase in VAT would place an excessive burden on low incomes and would require a referendum.

The SP also believes that "social financing via wage contributions" is needed. The SP had already transparently demonstrated during the referendum campaign that additional social financing could be achieved by means of additional salary percentages.

Employer for third variant

The Swiss Employers' Association expressed its disappointment on Wednesday that the Federal Council is not proposing a third option, namely financing via VAT percentages. The association is against wage contributions and in favor of processing via VAT.

The umbrella organization Economiesuisse and the Swiss Trade Association (SGV) also expressed their views in this regard. For the SGV, "a mixed package with a moderate increase in the retirement age and a slight increase in VAT rates" is needed.

From the point of view of intergenerational fairness, Economiesuisse said that the fairest way to cover additional AHV funding requirements would be via VAT. The burden of the additional costs would thus be borne as widely as possible.

All people, including pensioners, would have to contribute to the additional costs, the employers' association also demanded. An increase in salary percentages would make work even more expensive and put the Swiss economy at a competitive disadvantage.

Pensioners should also pay

Financing the 13th AHV pension exclusively through salary contributions is out of the question, explained GLP National Councillor Jürg Grossen on Platform X. Pensioners also help to finance it via VAT, which is nothing but fair.

The FDP has stated that it rejects tax increases on the backs of the middle classes and SMEs. The introduction of a 13th AHV pension should not lead to an additional burden on households. Furthermore, it is too early to determine the "funding". If the premium initiative is accepted, additional costs of up to CHF 11.7 billion per year (from 2030) would have to be met.

According to its own statements, the center is very critical of the reduction in the federal share of the AHV. The options being considered to compensate for this funding (VAT increase and salary deductions) would have a lasting negative impact on purchasing power.

Center Party leader Philipp Matthias Bregy wrote on X that in the short term, a mix of higher VAT and higher wage contributions was needed; wage contributions alone would not work. In the medium term, financing should not place an additional burden on the middle class.

New proposals from the SVP and the Greens

The SVP proposes an additional financing option. The 13th AHV pension should be financed through savings in the area of asylum and development aid.

According to the SVP, even higher wage deductions would make work in Switzerland even more expensive and thus weaken the competitiveness of Switzerland as a workplace. In addition, employees and the younger generation would have to bear the additional costs unilaterally. "It would be more honest and fairer to compensate for the funding gap with an increase in VAT," the SVP continued.

Balthasar Glättli, a Green member of the Zurich National Council, described the Federal Council's proposals as "unimaginative". The Greens clearly reject anti-social financing via VAT, Glättli told X. The Greens would therefore propose a "modest inheritance tax with high tax-free amounts" and a financial transaction tax as a further proposal.

©Keystone/SDA

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