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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Working poor most likely to be male immigrants, electricity subsidy paid out in cash, IES must abolish dress code, Turkey calls for 'concrete steps' on Nato, and heavy losses at SAS. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Researchers believe the growing 'gig economy' in the delivery industry, for example, may be increasing the number of working poor in Sweden. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Most of Sweden’s working poor are male immigrants

Middle-aged men born outside of Sweden make up the largest proportion of Sweden’s working poor, a study from Gothenburg University has shown.

Women in the same category often have better paid jobs, or don’t work at all.

The study covered the period between 1987 and 2016 with calculations for each year in that period, and has recently been published in the Social Indicators Research journal.

During those 30 years, a clear change was observed. In the beginning, single women were the largest group among the working poor, but they have now been overtaken by male immigrants.

The researchers draw the conclusion that Sweden’s gender equality policy has been successful, integration of immigrants has been less so.

The study is partly based on households’ disposable income, partly on each person’s income through employment, and partly on the established definition of relative poverty.

Two percent of the working population aged 18 to 64 were classified as in poverty in 2016, with male immigrants the largest category in that group.

Swedish vocabulary: arbetande fattiga – working poor

Electricity price subsidy could be paid out to some people in cash

Many households will receive their electricity price subsidy payment in cash via an utbetalingsavi, a letter which you take to your bank or supermarket to receive a payment in cash.

The Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) will not be able to make payments directly into the bank accounts of everyone who is eligible for the payment, meaning that these individuals will receive an utbetalningsavi which they will have to exchange for cash instead.

Some house owners are eligible for thousands of kronor – much higher amounts than those usually handled in cash.

The Social Insurance Agency will now need to choose a bank which will handle the payouts.

“Everyone who does not have an account in the bank handling these payments will receive an avi,” manager Fredrik Falk from the Social Insurance Agency told TT newswire. “This is the only way we can make payments.”

No Swedish bank has total dominance of the market. Although the major banks have large coverage of the market, the largest bank is Swedbank, with only 19 percent of the market.

This means that the majority of those receiving the subsidy may receive it in cash.

Swedish vocab: kontanter – cash

Swedish Schools Inspectorate: English school must abolish dress code

The Swedish Schools Inspectorate have given the Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES) in Täby until January 27th to abolish its dress code, stating that it limits students’ individual freedoms.

The Schools Inspectorate initiated an inquiry after reports of strict dress codes at IES in Täby. In interviews, students told inspectors that they were not allowed to have their bra straps on show, wear low-cut tops or wear skirts or shorts shorter than “a student’s fingertips when standing with their arm by their side and fingers straight”.

According to the school’s headteacher, school leadership has never implemented a specific dress code, although the previous leadership was “stricter” on clothing, which may have affected the environment at the school.

However, the School Inspectorate’s assessment of the situation is that the school’s rules in practice mean that students are not allowed to wear certain clothes. This goes against Sweden’s skollagen or ‘school law’, which states that schools have a mission to convey the importance of an individual’s right to freedom and integrity.

IES in Täby has until January 27th to show the Schools Inspectorate evidence that the dress code has been scrapped.

Swedish vocab: klädkod – dress code

Turkey calls for ‘concrete steps’ before backing Sweden Nato bid

Turkey said on Wednesday Sweden’s new government was more determined to address Ankara’s security concerns in return for Nato membership but called for “concrete steps”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with his Swedish and Finnish counterparts on the sidelines of a NATO gathering in Bucharest on Tuesday.

Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations — especially Stockholm — of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish groups it deems “terrorists” and held back on ratifying their Nato bids despite an agreement in Madrid in June.

“The statements (coming out of Sweden) are good, the determination is good but we need to see concrete steps,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Bucharest. “We told them we haven’t seen concrete steps on these issues”.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström spoke optimistically about Tuesday’s meeting.

“I have to say that I felt after this meeting that yes, there is progress in line,” he said.”We are moving forward with the implementation of a trilateral memorandum which was signed in Madrid.”

Swedish vocab: utrikesminister – foreign minister

Crisis-stricken airline SAS records heavy losses

Troubled Scandinavian airline SAS, which has filed for bankruptcy in the United States, reported deeper losses in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.

Net losses amounted to more than 1.2 billion Swedish kronor ($117 million) in the August-October period, compared to a loss of 744 million kronor a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

“As with previous quarters in 2022, the currencies (foreign exchange) and jet-fuel price have brought strong headwinds for our business,” said SAS chief executive Anko van der Werff.

The airline, however, saw the “highest number” of passengers since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, with healthy demand in the summer, van der Werff said.

The airline, which cut 5,000 jobs in 2020, is preparing for “substantial recruitments and rehirings” to meet the expected increase in demand next
summer, he added.

SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States in July — a move allowing a company to restructure its debts under court

Van der Werff said the airline expected to complete the court-supervised process during the second half of 2023.

Swedish vocab: att gå i konkurs – to declare bankruptcy

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For members


Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

More than 5,000 people notified of layoffs in Sweden, Americans in Sweden warned of terror threat in wake of Koran burning, and the Swedish Migration Agency presents a new forecast for 2023. Here's the latest news.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

More than 5,000 warned of layoffs in Sweden last month

A total of 5,328 people were affected by potential layoffs in Sweden in January, according to preliminary statistics by the Public Employment Service.

Swedish law states that employers in most cases have to first give employees and the service notice that there may be layoffs, so not all of those people will necessarily lose their jobs. Here’s a link to The Local’s guide to what happens if you lose your job in Sweden.

In January last year, the corresponding figure was just over 1,400 people, but it has been increasing every month since, writes Swedish news agency TT.

Swedish vocabulary: a notice (when notifying staff that they may be laid off, but they could still end up keeping their jobs or get a new job at the same company) – ett varsel

US citizens in Sweden warned of terror attack in wake of Koran burnings

In a new notice, the US embassy warns its citizens in Sweden of possible terrorist attacks in retaliation of recent Koran burning incidents in Europe.

In Sweden, a far-right extremist last month burned the Koran outside the Turkish embassy, causing Turkey to suspend Nato talks with Sweden and Finland, and causing outrage in many Muslim countries.

The notice advises US citizens to “use caution” in busy public venues, diplomatic facilities and gathering sites such as places of worship. Sweden has not changed its terror threat level, which remains at level three on a scale from one to five.

Swedish vocabulary: a terror threat level – en terrorhotnivå

Swedish Migration Agency’s new forecast for 2023

The Migration Agency estimates that 16,000 people will seek asylum in Sweden in 2023, and 15,000 Ukrainians will seek protection. However, it adds that the number of Ukrainian arrivals could vary from 8,000 to 100,000 depending on how the war develops.

It also believes that around 80,000 people will apply for Swedish citizenship this year, and that the agency will receive 60,000 work permit-related first-time applications (this also includes for example family members of work permit applicants and job hunters).

Swedish vocabulary: a refugee – en flykting

Cost of living: How food prices rose in Sweden in early 2023

The increase in food prices in January was 1.4 percent – one of the largest increases reported since food prices started rising almost a year ago, according to independent comparison site Matpriskollen.

In January, the price of groceries increased 1.3 percent on December, with the price of food specifically increasing by 1.4 percent. Food prices have now gone up 16.3 percent in the last 12 months. Read more in The Local’s article.

Swedish vocabulary: food prices – matpriser