Polls have closed following nationwide votes on a handful of issues, including mandatory annual leave [EPA]

Voters in Switzerland have rejected by a large majority a proposal to extend the country's mandatory annual leave from four to six weeks.

Final results showed that 66.5 per cent of voters rejected the plan, with 33.5 per cent voting in favour. Turnout was 45 per cent, according to the Federal Chancellory in Berne.

The referendum was held on Sunday, after the Swiss Trade Union Congress (Travail.Suisse) obtained the necessary 100,000 signatures to trigger a nationwide vote on the issue.

Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union, currently has the same four-week legal minimum holiday allowance as the 27-member bloc, but several rival economies, such as Austria, France, Italy and Sweden, have a five-week minimum.

The Swiss Employers' Association (SBA), which urged a "no" vote, said citizens had realised that "something which sounds nice at first, on closer look brings many disadvantages".

The trade unions expressed their disappointment in the result, although the President of Travaile.Suisse, Martin Fluegel, said he was "proud to have raised the theme of overwork".

Other opponents, such as the business federation Economiesuisse, had warned that upping the length of holidays would costs billions and see companies relocate to countries like Germany.

Source: Agencies