A man in Switzerland has exploited an administrative loophole and formally changed his gender in order to retire a year earlier, it has emerged.
New rules introduced on Jan. 1 enable any Swiss resident with the “intimate conviction” that they do not belong to the sex they are registered as in the civil status register can apply to change their gender, in addition to their first name, for just 75 Swiss francs (€72).
And it took just four days for the system to be taken advantage of with Swiss daily Luzerner Zeitung reporting that a man from Lucerne applied to change his gender so that he could receive his state pension at the Swiss retirement age for women of 64, a year earlier than men.
While there are regulations supposedly in place to prevent individuals from making “manifestly abusive” applications, there is in reality “no obligation” on the part of civil servants to “verify the intimate conviction of the persons concerned” and the sincerity of the applicant is presumed in accordance with the principle of good faith.
The youth chapter of the PLR (FDP) has successfully collected enough signatures for an initiative to raise the official retirement age in Switzerland to 66 years old, reported RTS.
On 16 July 2021, initiative organisers submitted 145,000 voter signatures as part of the formal process of launching a referendum in Switzerland. Under referendum rules a minimum of 100,000 valid signatures must be collected within 18 months.
The official retirement age in Switzerland is currently 65 for men and 64 for women, although the government recently passed laws to create a universal retirement age of 65 for both men and women. The federal government also agreed to increase VAT up to 8% to help improve pension system finances.
The perilous state of Switzerland’s state pension system is well known. People are living longer and the nation’s population is ageing, leaving fewer working-age tax payers to fund the pensions of a rising number of retirees. Without reform a funding shortfall of CHF 200 billion is forecast over the next 25 years.
Thousands marched in Bern on Saturday against a proposed reforms of the Swiss old-age pension scheme, notably the plan to raise the retirement age for women from 64 to 65.
The demonstration, which was authorised by Bern authorities, was attended by some 15,000 people, according to the trade unions who organised it; the police have not (yet) released estimates.
The protest took place under the slogan “hands off our pensions”, and was clearly aimed at parliamentarians currently discussing an overhaul of the country’s three-pillar system.
A press release by the Trade Union Federation said that the current pension system is “no longer enough to live on” and that politicians should be raising payments rather than trying to cut them; as for making women work a year longer, this is a non-runner, it says, given the years of part-time and unpaid work they do during their active lives.