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Löfven promises dole payouts shake-up

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Löfven promises dole payouts shake-up
Stefan Löfven arrives on-stage for a news interview at Almedalen on June 29th 2014. Henrik Montgomery/TT
13:22 CEST+02:00
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has promised to raise the ceiling for unemployment insurance payments and hinted at changes to paternity leave if he wins September's election.

Speaking on the opening day of Almedalen the election favourite said he would implement the policy by the end of the year. At present the ceiling for Sweden's a-kassa (unemployment insurance) is set at 80 percent of your salary, up to a maximum of 18,700 kronor ($2,700) per month before taxes. 

Many Swedes elect to join unions to boost their monthly income in the event of losing their job. Löfven declined to say how much the ceiling would be raised by, and said he couldn't guarantee that the Social Democrats previous promise of paying out 910 kronor per day would be the new limit.

The leader of the opposition said he is considering a proposal regarding another month of paternity leave, which he says is fairer.

"One has to see that the world is not black and white, many families have it tough where for example one earns 30,000 and the other 20,000, often the woman," Löfven said in an interview with the TT news agency.

He suggested that a means of financial compensation could be the solution so that families aren't hit in the pocket when the higher earning parent goes on parental leave for an longer period of time.

"For those that have it hard it makes a big difference who takes the parental insurance," said the 56-year-old.

Sweden's 16-month parental leave can be taken by either mothers or fathers, women still take the majority of it, claiming 75 percent.

In 2002 it was made mandatory for fathers to take at least two months off and an extra month has long been mooted.

Löfven added that an additional month of paternity leave could penalise some families from vital income if there wasn't a safety net in the form of financial compensation.

"I want to try that idea as I know that there are those who have a tough time getting it to go together. We can't disregard it," he said.

In a wide-ranging interview with TT the Social Democrat leader also pledged to extend the confines of the health insurance barrier which he said was "inhuman."

Löfven also expressed concern that the party of the Swedes (Svenskarnas parti - SvP) held a party rally in Almedalen on the eve of the event. More than 100 demonstrators showed up to protest against the presence of the far-right political party.

"I am very hesitant that the party of the Swedes got to hold a speech at Almedalen," he said.

Meanwhile a new opinion poll published in Dagens Nyheter has revealed that more Swedes have faith in current Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt than Löfven. However, the gap was just three percent.

Swedes go to the polls in September.  

TT/The Local/pr

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