Sick leave in Sweden falls

Fewer and fewer people are taking sick leave in Sweden. In the past year, the cost of sick benefits has fallen by 2.8 billion kronor. Yet over half a million Swedes are still on sick pensions.

Since September 2003, the average number of days paid out in sick benefits for every Swede has fallen. The national average is now 39.2 days; in May, the figure was 39.3 days. The figure includes every kind of sick leave, from state-funded sick pensions down to absences of a few days.

Since June last year, the figure has fallen by 1.4 days. The fall is mainly accounted for by a fall in short-term sick leave, while sick pensions have fallen by less. The Swedish Social Insurance Administration has a target to reduce the overall figure to 37 days by the end of 2008.

Sick benefits have cost 101.4 billion kronor over the past twelve months, a fall of 2.8 billion since the previous twelve month period.

Some 555,000 people of working age were on sick pensions in July, slightly up on July last year. Slightly over 50,000 people have been granted sick pensions for the first time in the past twelve months.