March 12, 2012- Voters in Switzerland rejected a proposal that would have increased the annual paid vacation entitlement for employees from four weeks to six. The proposal ran into problems last week when businesses warned voters prior to the vote that it would hurt competitiveness and could threaten jobs.
Travail Suisse, a trade union in the country, put forward the initiative. It argued that just four weeks of vacation was not sufficient because pressure on the job had increased over the past few decades resulting in more stress and increased health problems.
The Swiss voters however resoundingly defeated the proposal by a clear two-thirds majority. Europeans consider the Swiss to be very efficient and hard working. The trait has helped Switzerland to attract a number of international companies and has given them high marks in rankings of competiveness.
Travail Suisse said the vote took place during the difficult economic situation in the euro zone and that affected the way voters voted on the referendum. During a more positive economic climate, the union said the vote might have been different.
Opponents of the initiative argued it would hurt businesses that have being trying to cope with the value of the franc that has increased during the recent financial crisis. The average Swiss employee receives five weeks of vacation since many businesses offer more than the government’s minimum of four weeks.