• 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
Foreigners in Sweden still more likely to be unemployed
A grim outlook is predicted for foreigners in Sweden. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Unemployment is falling among native Swedes, but foreign-born citizens are struggling to keep pace.

'Help! My name is Jihad'
Jihad Eshmawi. Photo: Private

My name doesn’t make life easy for me, Jihad Eshmawi tells us.

Why fewer Swedes are using condoms in 2016
Photo: Robert Henriksson / SvD / TT

Younger Swedes are better at protecting themselves than their older compatriots.

Swedish economic growth 'best in Nordics'
A new report says Sweden has the best growth prospects of the Nordics. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden's economy is out-pacing its Nordic rivals, but high levels of household debt are still a problem.

IN PICTURES: 8 of Sweden’s wondrous national parks
Vadvetjåkka is Sweden's northernmost national park. Photo: Peter Rosén/Rosénmedia

It’s National Parks Day in Sweden. Who knew? A perfect opportunity surely to take a closer look at some of the country’s most amazing natural wonders…

Why Swedish football is introducing a green card
Swedish referees could soon be reaching for a green card. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

You’ve heard of the red and yellow cards, but how about the green card?

Sweden won't charge foreign minister over 'queue jump'
Sweden's foreign minister, Margot Wallström. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallström will not be charged over claims she was given special treatment to secure an apartment in Stockholm.

Swedes don’t want to join the euro - now or ever
Euros? Nej tack! Photo: Jens Meyer/AP

We'll keep our krona, thank you very much.

Opinion
'Bigotry is not dead in Sweden – we still need to talk'
Stockholm Pride 2015. Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Sweden still needs to do more to confront intolerance, argues columnist Paul Connolly.

Spotify gains listeners but it's still bleeding cash
Spotify's offices in Stockholm. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

The Swedish streaming giant expanded rapidly last year but hasn't yet turned a profit.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
Blog updates

20 May

Editor’s blog, May 20th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Do not mention Abba! Or cuckoo clocks! Our most read article this week was…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Politics
Why Sweden's Greens are in free fall
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
National
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
National
Why this fearless woman is the talk of Sweden
National
Sweden set for sunny weekend
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vollsjö, Sjöbo
Features
How to be a cool Swede during a hot summer
Gallery
People-watching: April 29th - May 1st
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
3,299
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