Voters in Geneva, Switzerland’s second largest city, recently approved the world’s highest minimum wage, which will stand at 23 Swiss francs (or about $25) an hour.
While Switzerland does not have a universal minimum wage since voters declined to establish one in 2014, Geneva residents – who turned down the proposition to set a minimum wage twice in the last decade – voted yes.
Switzerland is among the wealthiest nations in the world, and Geneva is considered the 10th most expensive city in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2020 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.
As the most international city in Europe – with more than 40% of its population coming from other countries, Geneva is also is the United Nations headquarters.
According to experts, the COVID-19 pandemic made the wealth gap more evident and prompted 58.16% of voters to decide in favor of the initiative. Geneva is the third of Switzerland’s 26 administrative subdivisions, known as cantons, to do so.
Recent research indicated that more than 90% of the city’s inhabitants live in rented accommodations.
The cost of monthly rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment in Geneva costs 3,000 francs (approximately $3,280) or higher.
Comparatively, the average U.S. resident must earn at least $21.21 per hour to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment.
With the new minimum wage, which goes into effect Nov. 1, workers will rank slightly above the poverty line of 3,968 Swiss francs with earnings of at least 4,086 francs ($4,470 US) a month for a full-time 41-hour workweek.
Since 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour across America.
Before Geneva, Australia had the highest national minimum wage at 19.84 Australian dollars per hour, which converts to about $14.21 in U.S. dollars.
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