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28 Feb, 2024 05:54

Swiss city employees get big pay surprise

A technical error cost Zurich nearly $200 million
Swiss city employees get big pay surprise

Authorities in Zurich paid city workers double their February salary due to a technical mistake, a statement published Monday on the official website of the Zurich City Council said.

According to the statement, the error occurred when state-owned Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB), which handles the city’s salary transfers, was processing this month’s payments. A glitch due to faulty software resulted in wages being sent out twice.

The software was provided by one of the contractors of Swisscom AG, the country’s leading telecommunications company, which processes payment transactions for ZKB. In a statement late on Monday, the company said it was aware of the incident and had launched an internal investigation into its cause.

In total, Monday’s salary payments amounted to some 350 million francs ($400 million), half of which was sent in error. Zurich authorities said the city employees – some 30,000 people – can’t keep the extra funds and are obliged to return them. The statement was not clear, however, on how this would be achieved, stating only that the people affected will be “promptly informed about the details of the repayment.”

“The ZKB apologizes to all employees of the city of Zurich for the inconvenience caused. The bank is working with the city of Zurich on a proposed solution for a simple repayment of the amount paid twice,” the statement from the bank read.

The incident caused a flurry of comments on the city’s intranet, with some locals joking about a “pilot project for the 14th month wage” or an “inflation adjustment,” while others were calling for a repeat.

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