With an average wage of around 6,500 euros Switzerland seems to be a paradise for workers. It is no coincidence that the salary difference between Europe and Switzerland is very high, varying between 70 and 160% (depending on the country). However, do not forget that the cost of living in Switzerland is very high and your salary must be in proportion to these costs. Also, the working hours per week are higher than in many European countries, and as an additional cost, you will have to pay for health insurance out of your own pocket, which can also be very expensive.
In Switzerland, there is no national minimum wage, but there is a cantonal SMIC in the cantons where a minimum wage has been introduced, which is between 19 and 23 Swiss francs per hour, depending on the canton. The cantons and cities that have introduced a minimum wage are:
- Neuchâtel, with a minimum wage of CHF 20/hour
- Basel, with a minimum wage of CHF 21/hour
- Jura with a minimum wage of CHF 20/hour
- Geneva, with a minimum wage of CHF 23/hour
- Canton Ticino, with a minimum wage of 20 CHF/hour
- The cities of Winterthur, Zurich and Kloten are also in the process of introducing a local minimum wage of 23 CHF/hour.
In the cantons where the minimum wage applies, it averages 20-21 per hour, so a full-time employee (8 hours/day) earns about 3,500 gross per month.
The minimum wage was the subject of a referendum to introduce it at the national level, and it was proposed to set it at 3,300 €/month, but almost 80% of the Swiss did not agree, fearing that this would lead to an increase in unemployment. In any case, some collective agreements provide for a minimum wage.
As in any other country in the world, the salary depends on the position, the area of work, the applicable collective agreement and the experience of the employee. The annual salary is usually composed of thirteen monthly salaries.
The highest salaries, as was not difficult to see, are in the banking and insurance sectors and in some occupations of IT such as developers. For the latter, mastering the latest technologies and demonstrating that they contribute to the company’s innovation can guarantee a truly attractive salary.
Also worth mentioning are the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, which are leaders in exports and pay their employees very well, regardless of their skill level.
One thing that should not be forgotten and that can have a significant impact on the family budget is the fact that unlike most European countries where the employer pays most of the share for public health care, in Switzerland health insurance is paid for by the employee, who must bear it in full. A family in Switzerland spends an average of 700 euros per month on health insurance and another 200 euros on other insurances.
Salary in Switzerland – Taxes
Taxes on income earned in Switzerland vary depending on the work permit:
Permit B, residence permit from one to five years for EU citizens with withholding tax. The employer withholds the tax directly from the salary and then pays it to the cantonal tax administration.
L permit, short-term permit (between 4 months and a year). It works in the same way as the previous one.
C permit, permanent residence permit for EU citizens who have lived and worked in Switzerland for more than five years. With this permit, you are required to pay municipal taxes. The municipality in which you live determines how income tax rates are applied. The amount of tax you have to pay therefore depends on the municipality of residence.
Permit G, the permit for cross-border workers who are subject to tax withholding and are required to present a certificate of tax residence in a country other than Switzerland to avoid double tax payment. For these workers, their purchasing power increases enormously as they receive a Swiss salary and reside in Italy, France or Germany.
Wage in Switzerland – Conclusion
Payroll accounting in Switzerland is very simple and is divided into three parts:
- Total gross income (salary, overtime, etc.)
- Contributions (social security, pension, etc.)
- Net income
In Switzerland, people make money, but they do not like to talk about money, and wage is rarely mentioned in job offers. If the economic offer does not satisfy you, you can always negotiate the salary, approaching the subject with the necessary tact, without praising yourself too much, because modesty is the first virtue to display in Switzerland, but with tact and, above all, highlighting your qualities. and show data to prove it.
Determine in advance what your goal is, how much your salary should be, and compare it with that of other people who do the same job as you, using, for example, this useful tool that allows you to determine the wage based on the profession you do and the canton in which he works.
If you want to know more about working in Switzerland, you should read the article: How to Work in Switzerland