Swiss referendum would raise the minimum wage to $14 an hour.

The Swiss will vote next week on a national referendum that would raise the minimum wage to 22 francs, or $25 per hour, amounting to about $14 after inflation, which would be the highest minimum wage in the world. Proponents, like Switzerland's trade unions, argue that wages need to keep up with prices, and Switzerland's are notoriously high, but critics are concerned about job loss and effects on small businesses. Minimum wages are up for debate in many developed countries as income inequality continues to grow. The U.K. has raised its minimum wage to $10.88 an hour, France's is 10.60, and Australia's is $10.20, according to a report from Bloomberg. Germany just raised its minimum wage to $11.75, effective next year; economists project that higher wages will spur Europe's biggest economy, and labor market policy spokesman Katja Mast said it would give labor its "dignity back," according to the BBC. Many of Switzerland's biggest corporations, including confection giant Nestle, and health care products company Novartis, are against the measure, saying that it will be bad for the country's economy. "State intervention in the liberal economic system also goes against the market economy principles of our society that have been so successful to date," Novartis spokesman Dermot Doherty told Bloomberg. Nestle said that employees already make more than the proposed minimum wage, but that increased costs would affect their supply chain. The government has warned that the measure "would threaten jobs and make it even more difficult for little qualified staff and young people to find a first job," according to Reuters, and critics say that it would only help a few people. "What matters is not the level of the minimum wage but the number of people concerned," SGB, Switzerland's biggest union, said in a statement that said the sum of all Swiss salaries would only rise by 0.4 percent if the initiative was accepted. Proponents say that the increased wage would make sure that full-time workers can live decently. In 2012, 10 percent of full-time or equivalent Swiss jobs paid less than two-thirds of the median salary, with many of these positions held by women working in retail, hotels and service jobs, according to Reuters.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//