It is expected that around two-thirds of those affected will either have to return to work or take early retirement. However, 20,000 Swedes will lose their rights to sick leave benefits altogether.
Bertil Thorslund is an analyst at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and told Nerikes Allehanda newspaper that this figure was twice the number they had originally estimated.
“Those who have been on sick leave for a year, are to get sick leave benefits at 75 percent of earnings, for a maximum of 550 days. If there are reasonable causes, then sick leave compensation may be continued at 80 percent, without any maximum number of days.”
Reasonable causes are classified as extremely serious conditions that prevent a person from working, such as a neurological illness, disease involving tumors or waiting in line for serious operations that involve vital organ transplants.
They have received a few thousand requests for such cases, but Thorslund explained that very few will actually be granted.
In effect, the new regulations mean nobody may be on sick leave for more than a year.