ECHR: Switzerland must reform widow's pension legislation

Following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, Switzerland must reform its legislation on widow's pensions. Widows currently receive a lifelong survivor's pension under Swiss law. Widowers, on the other hand, are no longer entitled to receive the pension once their youngest child reaches adulthood. The ruling came after a Swiss widower filed a complaint against the legislation. Should men now get more money? Or women less?

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The solution is obvious

The Tages-Anzeiger says widow's pensions should be contingent on whether their children are still at school or university:

“Switzerland is thus discriminating against men. The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights has established this in the final instance. ... The solution should be obvious: widows and widowers should receive a survivor's pension for as long as their children are still in education. Otherwise, a temporary transitional pension should be paid out until the surviving spouse has adapted their employment status to the new situation.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Lifelong pension is outdated

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung also makes the case for cuts:

“For years, even decades, the Federal Council [the government] and parliament have been trying to limit widows' claims and find a solution that is in keeping with modern times. But whenever concrete measures become a real possibility they back off - taking action against widows is politically sensitive, and it won't win you any laurels. ... Today, paying a widowed person a life-long survivor's pension solely on the basis of their civil status is no longer convincing, and this applies to both women and men. Especially in the case of childless widows, one must question whether they should not be expected to provide for themselves.”