Sickness Benefits Reduction Approved

The Swedish parliament approved controversial changes in sickness benefits Thursday.

The vote was on strictly block lines, with the center-right government voting in favor and the opposition against.

The issue was scheduled to be acted upon on Wednesday, but hours of debate forced a postponement. The new rules would reduce the compensation paid to those ill for long periods, and could force some to seek work anywhere in the country.

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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