• Sweden edition
 

Sick pay switch may leave 17,000 penniless

Published: 07 Dec 2009 11:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Dec 2009 11:52 GMT+01:00

Around 17,000 people set to lose their sickness benefits at the end of the year may be left with empty pockets as Sweden's unemployment insurance funds (a-kassa) struggle to keep up with a backlog of cases during the transition.

Under the terms of new rules coming into effect on January 1st, people who have received sick leave benefits for 550 days and those whose sickness compensation has expired will be removed from the insurance system, Sveriges Radio reports.

Instead they will fall under the remit of the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen), which will decide on appropriate training programmes to help people re-enter the workforce.

But with new regulations for the payment of unemployment benefits still somewhat unclear, and as current recipients of sickness benefits struggle to get their papers in order, there is a risk that many unemployed people will receive no money at all for a period of several weeks.

Labour market minster Sven Otto Littorin conceded that the time frame was tight and said he understood people's concern over delays in the payment of benefits.

"We are currently working intensively with the Swedish Unemployment Insurance Board and the employment insurance funds to ensure that everybody gets the right payment at the right time," he told news agency TT.

From the perspective of the unemployment insurance funds, the problem lies in the lack of any formal guidelines, as they await parliamentary approval for the government's proposal this Wednesday.

"They of course want a government and parliamentary decision before they get going, but we have talked to the unemployment insurance funds about what this is going to look like, so they will know in good time," he said.

Pressed on whether a time period of just a few weeks really qualified as being "in good time", Littorin admitted that it was "certainly tight".

"But the calculations template will lighten the burden quite a lot since it will be considerably easier for the unemployment insurance funds to calculate," said Littorin.

The minister was unable to elaborate on the precise construction of the calculations template, as it was not yet complete. But it will be founded on the principle that the unemployment insurance funds will not need to go back and check on a candidate's previous pay or employment.

But anybody with a clearly income-related payment will continue to be paid on that basis, said Littorin.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:52 December 7, 2009 by izbz
Government in Sweden Sucks! Easy for them to propose but non of them have experience the problem what these 17000 people are going through. Easy for them to dump everything on akassa, akassa can't even handle the unemployment situation now. Super F#¤"%up!!!!

What the F"#¤#" do they know about side effects of the medicine the sick are taking? Some of years ago I had TB and hypertities, was on medication for more than 2 years, side effect was horrible but had to take those medicine without fail or else won't work. Was tired all the time , lost hair, lost weight and look like a walking zombie, was not getting any other help except living on social security money....life damn tough!!!! My wife have to work part-time to make ends meet since we have just came back to Sweden after staying in Malaysia for a couple of years. Thank God I had a dedicated doctor who was handling my case, now I have been totally cured...So I understand how these 17000 sick people feel. And worse of all, They the gorvernment want to start effective from January.

I REALLY HOPE THOSE WHO VOTED FOR THESE DUMB HEADS AS GOVERNMENT got what they bargaiin for. So Good Luck the next voting is coming up soon
13:26 December 7, 2009 by Hong Kong Phooey
This is a tough one.

I know people who are genuinely very sick and people who are professional work dodgers and experts in claiming every government benefit they can get their hands on, which should go to the people who really need it. This is the same everywhere.

My father was recently, IN THE UK, mis-dignosed with a throat infection which we found out nine months later was cancer and died six months after that. He paid his taxes all his life.

I am rarely sick and I have paid my Taxes for 18 years now and I often wonder how much of those taxes I will see when I get sick or unemployed.

I don't mean to hard on people who are less fortunate with their health, but right now, I think your benefits should be proportional to your payments.

Would that get people back to work or make people work harder? I don't think so.
15:40 December 7, 2009 by determined
I know a parasite, who is on the sick list for more than 5 years. He successfully managed to bluff by just slapping on his face and crying infront of psychologist . On the otherhand I work day and night and moslty stay on 'Euro-shopper' products and he doesn't comprise any product which doesn't label ' Ekologiska'.

IT(Info Tech) need to be planned and designed in better way to nab these black sheeps and save millions.
16:27 December 7, 2009 by lingonberrie
The pros and cons that two of the comments touch upon as well illustrate the attendant problems in any system of payments to those in need. There will be shirkers and there will be those who are in genuine need. Obviously, adjustments are necessary to serve the latter and to weed-out the former but in a way that is dictated first by compassion.

However, adopting the Wall Street tactics of the United States is not the way to go. The only compassion there is for money. Sweden, and the other more enlightened civilized nations, need not descend to that failed level of apathy.
17:06 December 7, 2009 by izbz
Parasites has to be exterminated, these are the real leeches. Worse than beggers, At least the guy with a radio and a harmonica on Drottningatan is better than these parasites even he is out of tune, and out of space. at least he is doing something for money.Everytine I see him playing I'll give him a few coins

But the proposal definately is not the solution, out of 17000, maybe 13000 are the real sick ones. Come on...they must come up with a better way to deal with that, like surprise visit to the home of these people. Or whaever!!!!

@determined

It is easier to con a psychologist.
18:04 December 7, 2009 by orwellian
To posters on thelocal: If you hate Sweden so much, what are you doing here?
19:34 December 7, 2009 by anticommie
Betting that many are whining today because they will have to get off their lazy arses and go back to work. Post #1 is a good example.
21:59 December 7, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
Great news..

A week ago I met this girl who has been off sick for 5 years because of depression. She said that she got depression because she hated her job working in a shop.

I had to bite my tongue and steer clear of the subject for the rest of the evening.
03:13 December 8, 2009 by Davey-jo
#1

What on earth is "hypertities"? Big breasts?
09:23 December 10, 2009 by Taffy007
This is an extremely tough subject and had I not become ill myself I may have well been far less understanding as others that have commented here. However, to ridicule people that have found them selves in this degrading situation is inappropriate and I feel that I must speak out.

The fact is that ANYONE can become ill! I have worked hard all my life and at times had two or three jobs on the go. I met a Swedish girl and ended up in Sweden. Unfortunately, through no fault of my own I became ill, but continued to struggle on and work best I could. In the end I was forced to operate a number of times and have had problems since, many of which linked to the inadequacy of the treatment I received here. Bla bla bla I could go on but the point is I am now with a family going to be plunged into poverty. When talking to FK, they say "it's only 3 months, then you can come back to us and be sick again". That is her answer to everything because she doesn't have any answers. The government hasn't made up their minds yet. The plan is to begin in January and they still haven't decided on the rules yet. It is an absolute shambles and a disgrace!

I agree whole heartedly that spongers should be weeded out and sent off to hard labour camps, but the way the system has been introduced will only prolong and even harm many peoples recovery back to full health. This in my opinion will cost even more money in the long run and be a disaster for many.
11:53 December 15, 2009 by DanielO
Since the end of 2007, over 8 million jobs have vanished, and the end is not in sight yet. The number of unemployed has swelled to almost 16 million. In the past, recessions have resulted primarily in blue-collar and low-level retail job losses, with white-collar layoffs accounting for only about 30 percent of total losses. By way of contrast, in the current downturn, nearly 50% of the vanished jobs have been managerial, professional, and skilled white-collar positions. Barring the unforeseeable, like a whole new economy arising, we are likely to have an unprecedented recessionary shift to permanent job losses.
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