Controversial Benefits Bill in Parliament

The Swedish parliament debated controversial changes in sickness benefits Wednesday afternoon. But the actual vote has been postponed until Thursday.

The new rules would force anyone who has been sick for more than half a year to seek work anywhere in the country. The proposal from the center-right government has provoked widespread protests, including a demonstration outside the parliament building Tuesday.

The legislation also lowers the sickness benefits for anyone ill for more than one year, and puts a two and a half year limit on claiming any compensation.

While critics say this will force people with permanent conditions to go on welfare, the government says new rehabilitation programs will get those people back onto the job market.

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