Goverment looks to cap sick benefits

A new government proposal would mandate that people on sick leave longer than one year can never receive more than 75 percent of their salary replaced, regardless of whether or not they have additional insurance.

Many Swedes today can receive more than 75 percent of their salary replaced if they become sick thanks to agreements signed between trade unions and private insurers. Some Swedes have also signed up for private sick-leave insurance plans on their own initiative. The government’s new proposal, currently being circulated for consultation, would put a stop to such practices.

“It will not be possible people to insure themselves for more than the replacement levels set by the state. One can try it, but then the state will simply reduce that person’s benefits by a corresponding amount,” said Social Insurance Minister Christina Husmark Pehrsson to Swedish Radio.

According to the suggestion, those who have private sick-insurance will have their benefits from the state sick-insurance system reduced so that the total benefit amount is never higher than 75 percent of one’s salary.

The Alliance Parties have had disagreements over whether the reduction should also apply to people completely covered by private insurance. The current compromise calls for those who already have private insurance can receive benefits.

The suggestion has previously received harsh criticism from trade unions.