Fury over new government “sick tax”

As many as 200,000 employees are on sick leave in Sweden and forecasts suggest the number will reach 250,000 by 2020. The state’s sickness absence costs have doubled to SKr 32 billion in the past five years and the government is now proposing that employers should pay a specific health insurance contribution of 25% of sickness benefit from day 91.

Forecasting that the contribution will cut sickness absence by 5 to 10%, the government has given the social partners until August to come up with a better idea, saying that if they are unable to do so the proposal will be presented in the autumn budget.

Carola Lemne, the director general of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) says member companies are furious over the proposal: “The social partners are to find solutions to a complex issue than not even research knows the answer to. The deadline the government has set is ludicrous”.

The ST Union of Civil Servants is also up in arms, saying the proposal will close the labour market for all those suffering chronic illnesses