In January, it looked like the Swiss were all set to vote in favour of extending their holiday entitlement from four weeks to six, but that may no longer be the case, The Local reports.A poll conducted in early February by public broadcaster SSR found that only 39 per cent of those questioned approved the initiative for a greater number of vacation days, as opposed to the 57 per cent reported by a poll last month.
The initiative, proposed by Travail Suisse and supported by the Trade Union Federation and centre-left parties, is also being opposed by the business community, most political parties, and the government, according to Swissinfo. The nationwide referendum will be held on March 11.
Proponents of the initiative say increased productivity and more stress at the workplace justify more holidays for employees to recover. “Working life is a marathon, not a sprint,” Martin Flügel, president of Travail Suisse, told Swissinfo. Supporters also say the current regulations from 1984 are outdated and not family-friendly enough.
Trade unions believe the measure would cost the economy an additional SFr6.8 million ($7.4 million) over six years.
Opponents argue that more holidays would lead to higher labour costs. “An additional holiday week results in a two per cent increase in costs. That is worth several billion francs annually,” said Thomas Daum, director of the Employers Association.
This is the second time such an initiative has been put to public vote. It was widely rejected in a 1985 national referendum. However, parliament did increase minimum entitlements by five working days to four weeks annually.
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