According to Labor Ministry advisor Fredrik Östbom ”the ambition is that the insurance system will be obligatory by July 1 2009”.
Almost one million of Sweden’s 4.6 million employees have no unemployment insurance, a number that has risen since the center-right government introduced an unemployment insurance reform in January.
Under the reform, premiums for unemployment insurance were raised while payouts to the jobless were decreased. The payouts now represent just 65 percent of an employee’s salary after 300 days while premiums have tripled on average, prompting many workers to cancel their insurance.
The issue of employment was the main theme of Sweden’s September 2006 election campaign, with experts saying at the time that one-fifth of Swedes of working age lived on state subsidies, either claiming unemployment, sick leave or early retirement payments or on government retraining schemes.
The government plans to present a draft of the bill in January 2008 and hopes to submit the bill to parliament in September 2008.