POLL: Should Sweden scrap its unpaid first day of sick leave?

The Local Sweden
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POLL: Should Sweden scrap its unpaid first day of sick leave?
The so-called karensdag has been temporarily scrapped during the corona crisis. Photo: Isabell Höjman/TT

Should Sweden permanently get rid of a rule that means you don't get paid on your first day of sick leave? Have your say in The Local's polls.


During the coronavirus crisis, the Swedish government temporarily scrapped a rule that effectively means the first day of sick leave is unpaid. The rule is called karensdag, a 'waiting day' before your right to sick pay kicks in.

The opposition Left Party stirred debate this week by renewing calls for the karensdag to be removed altogether, even after the pandemic ends, and we want to hear what you think. Have your say in one of the polls below.

Some of the arguments against the karensdag are that sick workers are encouraged to come into the workplace and spread germs and illnesses, and that working while sick could also mean a longer recovery time which has negative consequences for businesses as well as individudals.


Supporters of the current system often claim that having sick benefits paid from day one could encourage benefit fraud, and that small businesses may struggle with the extra cost of having to pay another day of sick leave (the employer is generally responsible for the first 14 days of sick leave, after which the state covers the rest).

You can also read more about the karensdag here.

Officially, the karensdag was replaced in 2019 by a karensavdrag (roughly 'qualifying deduction'). This meant the system was changed so that in each period of sickness, your sick pay is subject to a deduction equivalent to 20 percent of your average weekly sick pay, instead of missing out on the day's pay for the first day of sickness. This was intended to make things fairer for shift workers or others working irregular hours, so their sick pay wouldn't be affected by falling sick on a day when you work longer or shorter hours than average. 

For workers on fixed-hour weeks, there was no change in practice to the amount you receive, so most people still refer to the karensdag.

You can also vote here, or log in as a member and scroll down to comment below:


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