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Geneva residents vote to institute $25 per hour minimum wage

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

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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.

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