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Left Party retains call for six-hour workday

The Left Party's governing board was forced into a climbdown on Saturday morning as delegates at the party's annual congress voted to continue pushing for a six-hour workday.

Left Party retains call for six-hour workday

The vote, 121-91 in favour, means the party’s elections manifesto will include calls for the introduction in Sweden of a six-hour workday with no loss of salary.

Leading figures had wanted to ditch the six-hour policy at the party’s annual congress in Gävle. They hoped instead to focus on policies they felt stood a greater chance of gaining acceptance as part of the three-party Red-Green opposition’s common electoral goals.

Demands viewed by the party’s upper echelons as more realistic included: the right to full-time work; greater employment security; and the introduction of individualized parental leave, a system whereby mothers or fathers would be allocated days individually without the right to transfer them to the other parent.

But delegates proved unwilling to shed one of the party’s high profile issues, meaning a paragraph calling for the introduction of the six-hour workday will now form part of the Left Party’s official election manifesto.

Josefin Brink, a member of the governing board, had called for the demand to be set aside ahead of the forthcoming election.

“We’re going to continue pushing for a six-hour workday but it’s not an issue that can be accomplished over the coming years. Our election manifesto should prioritize matters of strategic importance that can be accomplished in the near future,” she said.

But many party delegates disagreed with the call from on high.

“A six-hour workday with full salary retention ought to be one of the Left Party’s major profile issues. We know it’s right, and it’s smart. We need to have faith in ourselves,” said Skåne delegate Ana Rubin.

Stockholm delegate Emil Magnusson said it would be catastrophic for the party to leave out one of the issues for which it is most famous.

“When should we push the issue if not at election time?” he wondered.

Mehdi Oguzsoy, also from Stockholm, said removing the demand would deal “a deathblow to the party’s soul”.

Anne Christine Gillberg, a delegate from Gothenburg, urged the party to not simply hold up a moistened finger to sense which way the winds were blowing.

“We mustn’t bow to the winds of opinion,” she said.

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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”

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