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summer speech

Löfven: Scrap business responsibility for second week of sick pay

Published söndag 26 augusti 2012 kl 14.39
Stefan Löfven speaking to journalists ahead of the speech. Photo: Jessica Gow/Scanpix

The Swedish government is not doing enough to fight youth unemployment, and the burden for paying for a second week of sick-pay should be taken away from businesses were two of the messages in Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven's summer speech in central Stockholm Sunday.

Löfven took to the stage in Vasaparken just after lunch and spoke to an audience of up to 1500 who had come to hear the recently-appointed leader despite the rain.

He spent much of the speech talking about the needs of companies, with one of his concrete proposals shifting part the responsibility of paying sick pay back to the state. At the moment companies are responsible for paying sick pay for the first two weeks of an employees absence. The reform was introduced in the nineties, with the hope that companies would want to reduce costs, and improve health and welfare standards for their employees as a result, news agency TT reports.

But Löfven says that the reform has had negative side effects, making companies more cautious to employ people with documented health issues, he says. He wants the government to take over the responsibility for paying out sick pay after one week, something which will transfer an annual bill of around US$225 million from business to the taxpayer.

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