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Unpaid blogger risks losing unemployment benefits

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08:57 CEST+02:00
A former Volvo worker in southern Sweden has been told to stop blogging for his local newspaper if he wants to retain his unemployment insurance.

Jenz Kjellberg from Braås maintains a blog on the website of local newspaper Smålandspostenwith a focus on unemployment.

The blog is purely voluntary, as Kjellberg does not have a contract with the newspaper and does not get paid. Having recently been made redundant, he says he views the blog as a form of therapy.

But when he contacted the unemployment fund administered by the IF Metall trade union, Kjellberg was told to stop writing or risk losing his benefits.

"I wonder if I'll be allowed to continue training my youngster's team in Öster or will they reduce my a-kassa [unemployment insurance] for that too," Kjellberg told Smålandsposten.

Kjellberg's insurance fund argued that a fully private blog might be acceptable, but not one hosted by the local newspaper.

"In our view this can be seen as an assignment and you don't necessarily have to receive a wage for there to be a reduction in a-kassa," insurance fund spokeswoman Inger Johansson told Smålandsposten.

But Anders Wickander at the Swedish Federation of Unemployment Insurance Funds said he found the decision strange.

"Today's blogging can often be compared to writing a diary and to the best of my knowledge nobody has ever had their a-kassa reduced for writing a diary," he told Smålandsposten.

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