Geneva residents vote to institute $25 per hour minimum wage

ByChristen McCurdy

Geneva's new minimum wage will take effect Nov. 1. Photo by Stéphane Pecorini via Wikimedia Commons

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Residents of Geneva, Switzerland, voted this week to introduce a minimum wage that is believed to be the highest in the world.

More than half -- 58% -- of voters in the canton, or state, of Geneva, voted to set the minimum wage 23 francs an hour, the equivalent of $25 an hour.

The initiative was backed by a coalition of labor unions, and is expected to affect about 6% of Geneva's workers when it takes effect Nov. 1.

Switzerland has no national minimum wage law, but Geneva is the fourth of the country's 26 cantons to vote on a minimum wage in recent years.

Geneva voters had previously rejected initiatives to introduce a minimum wage -- twice.

The unions that backed the initiative argued that it was impossible to live in dignity in Geneva making less than $25 per hour, or $4,437.51 per month for a full-time, 41-hour work week.

Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Geneva costs at least $3,258 francs, and long lines of people waiting for handouts of food and other necessities have been common as the coronavirus pandemic has progressed.