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Switzerland: Access to Medical Cannabis Broadened, Pilot Projects for Nonmedical Cannabis to Be Launched

(Apr. 22, 2021) On March 19, 2021, the Swiss parliament approved an amendment to the Swiss Narcotics Act that allows broader access to cannabis for medical use. The amendment is subject to an optional referendum. (Swiss Constitution art. 141.) The deadline for collecting enough signatures to hold a referendum is July 8, 2021. In addition, on […]

Switzerland: Burqa Ban Approved by Voters

(Apr. 16, 2021) On March 7, 2021, Swiss voters approved by a vote of 51.21%–48.79% a popular initiative that prohibits covering one’s face in public, with some enumerated exceptions. Voter turnout was 51.40%. Content of the Prohibition The initiative adds a new article 10a to the Swiss Constitution. Article 10a prohibits covering one’s face in […]

Switzerland: New Amending Law Adapts Several Acts to Developments in Distributed Ledger Technology

(Mar. 3, 2021) On February 1, 2021, some parts of the Act to Adapt Federal Law to Developments in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT Act) (Bundesgesetz zur Anpassung des Bundesrechts an Entwicklungen der Technik verteilter elektronischer Register), an omnibus bill, entered into force. (DLT Act at 21.) The amendments to several civil and financial market laws […]

Switzerland: Popular Initiative to Hold Businesses Accountable for Human Rights Abuses or Environmental Harm Abroad Fails

(Feb. 10, 2021) On November 29, 2020, the popular initiative “For Responsible Businesses – Protecting Human Rights and the Environment” (Responsible Business Initiative) failed to reach the necessary majority for approval in Switzerland. The initiative aimed to introduce stricter statutory requirements for Swiss businesses abroad to comply with human rights obligations and environmental standards. It […]

Switzerland: Parliament Votes to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

(Jan. 25, 2021) On December 18, 2020, the Swiss Parliament adopted an amendment to the Swiss Civil Code that allows same-sex couples to enter into marriages. In addition, the amendment opens up sperm donation from a domestic sperm bank to married lesbian couples and extends the presumption of parenthood to the woman not carrying the […]

Switzerland: Voters in Canton of Geneva Approve Minimum Wage of 23 Swiss Francs (about US$25) per Hour

(Oct. 9, 2020) On September 27, 2020, Swiss voters in the canton of Geneva approved by a vote of 50.03% to 49.97% a popular initiative that introduces a minimum wage of 23 Swiss Francs (CHF) (about US$25) per hour for all industries. Voter turnout was 54.14%. The popular initiative amends the cantonal Labor Inspection and […]

Switzerland: Swiss Voters Reject Popular Initiative to End Free Movement of Persons Agreement with European Union

(Oct. 8, 2020) On September 27, 2020, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 38.29% to 61.71% a popular initiative that would have ended free movement of persons with the European Union (EU). Voter turnout was 59.47%. Free movement of persons is guaranteed by a bilateral agreement that was concluded in 1999 and forms part […]

Switzerland: Paid Paternity Leave of Two Weeks Approved by Voters

(Oct. 8, 2020) On September 27, 2020, Swiss voters approved by a vote of 60.34% to 39.66% a parliamentary initiative that introduces two weeks of paid paternity leave. Voter turnout was 59.3%. The initiative amends the Code of Obligations and the Loss of Earnings Compensation Act. The proposal was a direct counterproposal to a popular […]

Switzerland: Gender Quotas for Boards of Large Companies to Take Effect January 1, 2021

(Sept. 29, 2020) In its session of September 11, 2020, the Swiss Federal Council, the country’s government, decided that a provision requiring large companies to introduce a gender quota of 30% for their boards of directors and of 20% for their executive boards will enter into force on January 1, 2021. This amendment to the […]

Switzerland: Regulation on Proximity Tracing App Pilot Adopted

(May 18, 2020) On May 13, 2020, the Swiss Federal Council­—the Swiss government—­adopted a temporary regulation that sets out rules for the organization, operation, processing of data, and use of the “Swiss Proximity-Tracing-System” (Swiss PT-System, SPTS) for the duration of the pilot project. (COVID-19 Regulation on Proximity Tracing Pilot art. 1.) The SPTS will notify people […]