Zurich to vote on universal basic income trial


As part of the latest rounds of referendums this September, residents of Zurich will vote on approving a trial scheme for a universal basic income (UBI) in the city. If approved by Swiss citizens on September 25, 500 inhabitants will be given a minimum income of 2.500 francs a month for three years, without having to do any extra work.

Universal basic income in Zurich set to be at least 2.500 Swiss francs a month

According to Blick, the plan is to give 500 residents a minimum income every month for three years. While the exact amount of money is yet to be determined, the text of the referendum says that it must comply with a “social minimum wage,” determined by the newspaper to be at least 2.500 francs a month. 

The amount each person receives will also be calculated by their salary, so that the payment acts as more of a social security “safety net” for workers rather than a “universal boost.” According to Basic Income Association director Silvan Groher, the test will attempt to answer a series of questions about the idea: “will people become lazy if they receive a basic income? What is the ideal amount and how much would it cost?”

Swiss voters have a rocky relationship with UBI

This isn’t the first time that universal basic income has been proposed in Switzerland, with a federal initiative to introduce UBI being rejected by 76,9 percent of voters in June, 2016. Similar ideas have also been rejected in Bern and Lucerne.

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