Long Term Sick a problem in Sweden

Big Drop In Sick Leave Makes The Govt Better Off.

The Swedish state saved 5 billion kronor in sickness benefit payments last year after the number of people claiming sick leave dropped sharply.

According to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, there were 30,000 fewer people on sick benefit last year compared to the year before.

Political debate in recent years has centred on addressing the rather high levels of long term sick leave in Sweden. Since coming to power, the centre-right coalition government has introduced changes to the sickness and unemployment benefit system, making it harder to claim sick benefit.

The government put the decrease down to a newly introduced system making it a priority for all local health authorities to reduce sick leave and introducing cash incentives whereby those authorities in Sweden with the fewest sick leave claims received higher funding in the next finacial year.

Social Insurance Minister Cristina Husmark Pehrsson said the government was ”pleased” to make such a financial saving but it was more important that more people felt healthy and able to work.

The local health authority with the largest fall in sickness claims was Norrbotten, in Northern Sweden which recorded a drop of 20 percent, saving 200 million kronor.

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