Swiss Government Rejects Parental Leave; Initiative Tram Breakdown Snarls Commutes; Aggressive Insect Invades Basel

News For 28 May 2019

Last Thursday, the Swiss federal government released a position statement that said it would not support a popular proposal for four weeks statutory paternal leave for Swiss fathers. It also rejected a parliamentary initiative to provide fathers of newborn babies with two weeks leave. While pressure has mounted on the government in recent years to provide fathers with time off to care for their children, lawmakers have not budged. It maintains that a package consisting of both a greater range of childcare options and increased career leave for the parents of seriously ill children would offer better monetary value than paternity leave. The government also argues that paternal leave should be decided at the company level, which puts less strain on businesses. However, some Swiss companies are already offering staff generous parental leave to attract the best talent. Novartis, for example, announced in March that it would offer all staff, regardless of gender, 14 weeks parental leave. It will be interesting to see how far the debate continues in parliament. 


If you were an unfortunate tram commuter yesterday, using the 1,3,6,8,10,11,14,15 or 16 lines between 8:30 and 9:30, you probably noticed significant delays.  It seems a number 8 tram broke down at Barfusserplatz choking the line behind it, forcing any trams capable of doing so to be re-routed. Due to the sudden onset of the breakdown, the BVB, operator of Basel's bus and tram lines, made no effort to provide substitute buses on the line.  BVB Spokesman Sonka Körkel blamed the break-down on one of the tram trolleys, but offered no further explanation.  By mid-morning the broke-down tram was towed to the Wiesenplatz depot for repairs and normal traffic resumed.


The Asian Tiger Mosquito is invading Basel. The small aggressive insect was spotted in the Northern parts of Switzerland and is infamous for transmitting deadly and unpleasant diseases. Now the Laboratory Basel-Stadt and the Basel Office for Environmental Protection and Energy have released a joint statement warning residents of Basel of the mosquito. Fortunatly only eggs have been found at Basel SBB. Authorities are already releasing an insecticide and the population is called to report any black and white mosquitos.