• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Swedish ministers get paid to be off sick'

The Local/at · 6 May 2014, 14:27

Published: 06 May 2014 14:27 GMT+02:00

The Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported on Tuesday that 17 ministers had failed to report when they were off ill. Swedish remuneration laws dictate that employees do not get paid the first day they off due to illness, but the ministers - including the prime minister - have continued to draw salaries even when they were feeling too poorly to work. 

In 2010, for example, Fredrik Reinfeldt was too ill to travel to Brussels for an EU meeting, sending an aide instead. But he didn't officially register that he was off sick, which would have meant 4,645 kronor ($715) less at the end of the month when the prime minister's 144,000-kronor ($22,000) salary was paid out.

Since taking power in 2006, Reinfeldt has worked with a total of 38 cabinet ministers - only three of them, including Finance Minister Anders Borg, have reported being ill. 

The IT Minister Anna-Karin Hatt has, rather fitting for her job title, taken to Twitter to tell the world when she has been off sick with a high fever. None of the dates she has mentioned on the micro-blogging site turned up in the social security agency's records when DN cross-referenced them.

The legal head at the prime minister's office, Christina Weihe, defended the ministers laxness by stating that they were on call 24/7 when they were fit and healthy. She also told DN that it had long been standard culture at the government departments for ministers to decide whether they came into work on any given day.

DN's political commentator Ewa Stenberg said the risk was that Swedish citizens felt the ministers had behaved like hypocrites. The prime minister has since taking office emphasized good social security bookkeeping, clear social insurance rules, and put much of his rhetorical weight behind labour policy reform.

"That makes it very controversial when ministers don't report in sick when they are in fact off sick," Stenberg said.

While some observers argued that the bookkeeping was unlikely to damage the government's image much,  political science professor Tommy Möller said that this kind of revelation usually piqued the interest of people who already have a low opinion of elected officials. 

Story continues below…

"In groups that are socially and politically vulnerable this type of news is often noticed, and it's added to an already existing scorn of politicians," Möller told the TT news agency.

"The recurring theme is that politicians get rich at the expense of normal people." 

The Local/at (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'I am the whistleblower': sacked Swedbank CEO
Michael Wolf claimed that he had himself reported the non-compliant transactions. Photo: Anders Ahlgren/SvD/TT

'I am the whistleblower': sacked Swedbank CEO
10 hours ago

“I know which companies this concerns, and I made losses on them."

Karolinska head quits over scandal-hit surgeon
Professor Anders Hamsten. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Karolinska head quits over scandal-hit surgeon
14 hours ago

Karolinska Institute "failed to see the warning signs" of fraud surrounding Paolo Macchiarini.

Sweden jails Bulgarians for begging ring
Beggars from Romania and Bulgaria have become a common sight on Sweden's streets. Photo:

Sweden jails Bulgarians for begging ring
15 hours ago

Landmark case sees brothers jailed for human trafficking.

Azita Raji confirmed US envoy to Sweden
Azita Raji speaks at Barnard College in 2013. Photo: Barnard College

Azita Raji confirmed US envoy to Sweden
17 hours ago

After eight months, Sweden will finally get a US ambassador.

Video
WATCH: Rare peek at Swedish wild lynx caught on camera
File photo of lynx. Photo: AP Photo/Sergiy Gaschak

WATCH: Rare peek at Swedish wild lynx caught on camera
1 day ago

You may never get this close to these shy Swedish wild cats again.

Sacked Swedish banker suspected of shady deals
Sacked Swedbank boss Michael Wolf. Photo: Pi Frisk/SvD/TT

Sacked Swedish banker suspected of shady deals
1 day ago

UPDATED: But Sweden's biggest bank's former CEO Michael Wolf says he is the victim of a "smear campaign".

Where to find your favourite features on The Local
Read about Swedish food every Friday. Photo: Camilla Degerman/Image Bank Sweden

Where to find your favourite features on The Local
1 day ago

Find out when you can get a guaranteed food, business, property or fix or get involved in the debates The Local's readers are talking about.

Guess why this Swedish beer label got banned?

Guess why this Swedish beer label got banned?
1 day ago

Don't drink and drive pirate ships, kids.

Protesters cheer on 'refugee attack' suspects
The Nicksta camp site, where the attack was allegedly set to take place. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Protesters cheer on 'refugee attack' suspects
1 day ago

Around 100 people spent Friday morning gathered outside a Swedish court where a group of men planning a violent attack at refugee housing were appearing.

Housing crisis
Housing market cools after 2015's crazy price hikes
Apartments in Gröndal, Stockholm. Photo: Lars Persson/TT/SvD

Housing market cools after 2015's crazy price hikes
1 day ago

Property prices in Sweden are now stable or rising slowly, market experts say.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Can you spot the dildo in this photo?
Sponsored Article
Just landed? Here's the secret to finding work in Stockholm
Culture
Seven facts about the shy Swede behind the world's pop music
Travel
Why are people so happy in Malmö?
Blog updates

12 February

Editor’s blog, February 12th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Sweden’s most southern city, Malmo, hasn’t had the easiest start to the year, grabbing global…" READ »

 

9 February

Förr, förut, förrän, före and … innan! (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! A long time ago, I got this question: It would be a huge help if you could…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to set up shop in the 'Silicon Valley of Sweden'
National
Less than one percent of Swedish crimes linked to refugees
Sponsored Article
Luleå: 8 winter must-dos in Sweden's far north
Features
Single? Here are the ten Swedish words you have to learn
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Lindesberg, Örebro
Lifestyle
VIDEO: What's the fuss about Sweden's semla bun?
Sponsored Article
Swiss hospitality: The ladder to your international career
Culture
Ten fab Swedish hits for February
Sponsored Article
Ice magic at north Sweden island lodges
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: February 6th-7th
Travel
Stockholm's eight REAL no-go zones
Sponsored Article
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
Gallery
People-watching: February 3rd
Sponsored Article
Lofsdalen: The real Swedish wilderness
National
'How confronting the man who robbed me gave me closure'
Analysis & Opinion
DEBATE: Why are Swedes so obsessed with Nordic skiing?
Culture
See which Swedish museums are now opening up for free
Gallery
Property of the week: Insjön, Nacka
National
VIDEO: Tensions caught on camera inside Swedish asylum home
Gallery
People-Watching: January 29th - 31st
International
How will Sweden deport up to 80,000 failed asylum seekers?
Sport
When you gotta go... Swedish racing dog does poo and then takes gold
Sport
Guess who just got a HUGE pay rise?
Travel
WATCH: Five top tips for safe ice skating on Sweden's gorgeous lakes
Gallery
People-watching: January 27th
National
'Sweden could be at war within years'
3,495
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se