Solidarity tax on rich Swiss extended due to coronavirus

Switzerland’s solidarity tax, levied on the wealthiest Swiss, will be extended by at least a year due to a revenue shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Solidarity tax on rich Swiss extended due to coronavirus
Wealthy Swiss will have to pay more under the plan. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

According to Swiss news outlet Watson, the tax has been extended in order to avoid a one billion franc budget shortfall in Switzerland’s unemployment fund. 

Pursuant to the tax, anyone earning more than 126,000 francs per year has to pay a ‘solidarity contribution’ as well as the other mandatory social contributions. 

The tax levied is 0.5 percent of the wage, with employers paying a further 0.5 percent. 

READ: Switzerland's strangest taxes – and what happens if you don't pay them


‘Sad news’

The tax, first implemented in 2011, was to expire in 2021 – however Boris Zürcher, head of the Labor Directorate at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), told SRF on Wednesday that it would be extended indefinitely. 

According to SECO, the tax has erased billions of debt from Switzerland’s unemployment fund. 

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has however forced more and more Swiss to apply for unemployment benefits, meaning that the tax will now be continued. 

Zürcher told the public broadcaster that the extension of the tax was “sad news”. 

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New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home.